The beginning of the 21st Century in Berlin may well be remembered for its outpouring of creativity –like Vienna in 1905, New York in the fifties, and Paris in the sixties. The years following the destruction of the Berlin Wall were times of jubilation, the beginning of great urban projects to bring the divided city together. Only now are those projects being completed, and abandoned neighbourhoods filling with bars and clubs, art galleries, a decadent night life and ex-patriots.
Creative youth are arriving en masse to a city that seems to be constantly changing. The feeling that nothing is fixed, that everything could be different tomorrow, brings with it a sense of freedom. The claustrophobia of the European museum city, with its social codes and bourgeois expectations, is largely absent here for those who have already defeated that narrowing of perspective in their own heads.
It may be that that world was thoroughly destroyed, during the years of National Socialism, WW2 destruction, and Cold War division. Like with Adorno’s Angel of History, it is the accumulation of detritus from the past, a world destroyed by a ‘wind from paradise’, that propels us ever more into the future. We cannot help but stare with embarassment, disgust and amazement at all that was lost. And from that loss, there is also the possibility, and necessity, to move forward.
This blog is about places in Berlin that record what has been lost, and gained.