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ion s s u c s i d c 2011 r h U 0 0 : the publi y, 12 a m 2 , e lietzense

BEWEGLICHESZENTRUM (the center in displacement). Written materials. Introduction Carme Nogueira

My relation with the city of Berlin began years ago when I studied in the Hochschule der K端nste. It was in 1993 and most of the neighbourhoods in the East (Mitte and nearby) were very different from what they are nowadays. Most of the inhabitants were also others. I used to live at Charlottenbourg. In the time I came back to Berlin I was concerned with public space and the use of the common, the idea of public. There are different nuances in the understanding of public, especially between Spain and Germany, but there is a common idea that we think it is necessary to keep: this space that must be constructed by all of us and must be open to all voices.


ion s s u c s i d c 2011 r h U 0 0 : the publi y, 12 a m 2 , e lietzense

BEWEGLICHESZENTRUM (the center in displacement). Written materials. Introduction Carme Nogueira

My relation with the city of Berlin began years ago when I studied in the Hochschule der K端nste. It was in 1993 and most of the neighbourhoods in the East (Mitte and nearby) were very different from what they are nowadays. Most of the inhabitants were also others. I used to live at Charlottenbourg. In the time I came back to Berlin I was concerned with public space and the use of the common, the idea of public. There are different nuances in the understanding of public, especially between Spain and Germany, but there is a common idea that we think it is necessary to keep: this space that must be constructed by all of us and must be open to all voices.


This was my subject in this time. Berlin had changed a lot during these years. The place where I used

Indeed, it is in this relation of the two scales: the individual and the collective, where the idea of

to live looked like the old times. It was a privilege place to work; to develop these ideas about the

landscape is constructed: the negotiation of the common idea of landscape. The final narration about

public space, the changes and the social life in the city.

the city is the result of different approaches that take place in a particular level and finally are shown

During my residency in Program (Summer 2010) I have been researching the use of paths and roads in Berlin and how have they changed in the last years. Some of these changes are related to the idea of centre in Berlin, how it has changed from 1993 (my first period in Berlin) to 2010 (the second period of residence in the city). My aim were not roads or paths themselves but how the uses of the city have been moved from one part of the city to another and to understand how this drift is not a

in the shape of certain commonness. The project paid its attention to this individual approaches trying to learn how we reach this commonness, walking in reverse, going back to the accounts of how have we understood the changes and movements of the central uses of the city or a kind of loss of centrality in some way. Walking around is the objective of the project but also a tool to achieve these narrations.

monolithic one, but it has relation with a group of narrations abut the city. The aim of the project is

My trip in Berlin has five main stops. These places have some special meaning in relation to the social

to draw a kind of map, to tell a tale of these narrations that speak about the movement from West to

life of the city. I have also taken into account some historical and social events that happened in the

East, from inner city to outer city, from a point of view of the uses and the beliefs. I am interested in

selected places. One place: Lietzensee is the most important of them as it is near where I lived in

the permanence of a certain narration of the city despite the last changes in the form and structure of

1993 and it is the point of departure of the project.

Berlin. In the small scale of the city, (individual scale, one to one) this permanence is more visible.

My working process includes a site-specific installation using an artefact (a device, in this case a

This is my place of working, since I find this individual experience of the city as a place for learning

platform-stair). This object helped me to record and depicts the places. This artefact not only acted as

new approaches to the space. But also it is a way to speak more in general about structural changes

a working device but also as a mark, something that helps to see the place from a different point of

that affect the understanding of public space not only in Berlin, but also in Europe.

view. This part of the project is understood as a site-specific installation as well as research phase.


This was my subject in this time. Berlin had changed a lot during these years. The place where I used

Indeed, it is in this relation of the two scales: the individual and the collective, where the idea of

to live looked like the old times. It was a privilege place to work; to develop these ideas about the

landscape is constructed: the negotiation of the common idea of landscape. The final narration about

public space, the changes and the social life in the city.

the city is the result of different approaches that take place in a particular level and finally are shown

During my residency in Program (Summer 2010) I have been researching the use of paths and roads in Berlin and how have they changed in the last years. Some of these changes are related to the idea of centre in Berlin, how it has changed from 1993 (my first period in Berlin) to 2010 (the second period of residence in the city). My aim were not roads or paths themselves but how the uses of the city have been moved from one part of the city to another and to understand how this drift is not a

in the shape of certain commonness. The project paid its attention to this individual approaches trying to learn how we reach this commonness, walking in reverse, going back to the accounts of how have we understood the changes and movements of the central uses of the city or a kind of loss of centrality in some way. Walking around is the objective of the project but also a tool to achieve these narrations.

monolithic one, but it has relation with a group of narrations abut the city. The aim of the project is

My trip in Berlin has five main stops. These places have some special meaning in relation to the social

to draw a kind of map, to tell a tale of these narrations that speak about the movement from West to

life of the city. I have also taken into account some historical and social events that happened in the

East, from inner city to outer city, from a point of view of the uses and the beliefs. I am interested in

selected places. One place: Lietzensee is the most important of them as it is near where I lived in

the permanence of a certain narration of the city despite the last changes in the form and structure of

1993 and it is the point of departure of the project.

Berlin. In the small scale of the city, (individual scale, one to one) this permanence is more visible.

My working process includes a site-specific installation using an artefact (a device, in this case a

This is my place of working, since I find this individual experience of the city as a place for learning

platform-stair). This object helped me to record and depicts the places. This artefact not only acted as

new approaches to the space. But also it is a way to speak more in general about structural changes

a working device but also as a mark, something that helps to see the place from a different point of

that affect the understanding of public space not only in Berlin, but also in Europe.

view. This part of the project is understood as a site-specific installation as well as research phase.


The design of the piece wants to imitate the platforms that used to be near the Berlin wall. They were used to watch over the border as well as a platform to communicate with people from the other side. The device helped to look into the places with an odd view, an introspective one. For me, it is also a way to watch over an idea of West culture, that it is not only related to Berlin or Germany, but has to do with an inside border; with the limits and thoughts around the European idea of social space and Europe itself. This point of view has also a relationship with the construction of landscape, the idea that is the point of view of the subject who construct the landscape, as we can see in the German culture, the tradition of romanticism or also as we can find in the planning of gardens or lakes where we can easily find a balcony or a platform.

Dis-placing Centers? MarĂ­a Lois

For a political geographer, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall is one of the El Dorado events. It embraces some of the main concepts we work with: territoriality, political identifications, borders and b/

Time is important in this process. Not only in a sense of how the place change over time, but also in

orders, social performativity of limits, political construction of differences, public and private spaces,

terms of what will happen after my extended stay, especially in Lietzensee.

naming of places, and so on. Berlin, the Wall and the reinvention of the city after 1989 is a very pro-

In terms of assumptions, I don’t expect any particular reaction in the people or any particular story

lific topic in this perspective.

but I expect certain nostalgia of centrality. The former west centre continues to have importance in

The incorporation of the Wall and the border strip to the development of the city is one of the dimen-

the city but in a very different way. I expect also, certain thought about the other, the East that is not

sions of its constant reconstruction. In that sense, transitology perspectives have had to cope with the

more there.

retaken of the socialist past in Berlin’s narratives and public spaces, as no other cases in post socialist

I also see this landscape looking for an idea of public space, a space that everyone takes care of

East-Central Europe, where the de-communisation of the cityscapes and the return to Europe pre-Cold

and enjoy as it were our own property.

War is the re-construction line. In this case, the communism heritageization is an everyday practice of


The design of the piece wants to imitate the platforms that used to be near the Berlin wall. They were used to watch over the border as well as a platform to communicate with people from the other side. The device helped to look into the places with an odd view, an introspective one. For me, it is also a way to watch over an idea of West culture, that it is not only related to Berlin or Germany, but has to do with an inside border; with the limits and thoughts around the European idea of social space and Europe itself. This point of view has also a relationship with the construction of landscape, the idea that is the point of view of the subject who construct the landscape, as we can see in the German culture, the tradition of romanticism or also as we can find in the planning of gardens or lakes where we can easily find a balcony or a platform.

Dis-placing Centers? MarĂ­a Lois

For a political geographer, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall is one of the El Dorado events. It embraces some of the main concepts we work with: territoriality, political identifications, borders and b/

Time is important in this process. Not only in a sense of how the place change over time, but also in

orders, social performativity of limits, political construction of differences, public and private spaces,

terms of what will happen after my extended stay, especially in Lietzensee.

naming of places, and so on. Berlin, the Wall and the reinvention of the city after 1989 is a very pro-

In terms of assumptions, I don’t expect any particular reaction in the people or any particular story

lific topic in this perspective.

but I expect certain nostalgia of centrality. The former west centre continues to have importance in

The incorporation of the Wall and the border strip to the development of the city is one of the dimen-

the city but in a very different way. I expect also, certain thought about the other, the East that is not

sions of its constant reconstruction. In that sense, transitology perspectives have had to cope with the

more there.

retaken of the socialist past in Berlin’s narratives and public spaces, as no other cases in post socialist

I also see this landscape looking for an idea of public space, a space that everyone takes care of

East-Central Europe, where the de-communisation of the cityscapes and the return to Europe pre-Cold

and enjoy as it were our own property.

War is the re-construction line. In this case, the communism heritageization is an everyday practice of


an ongoing re-construction of Europe and the East. East understood not only as a geographical location, but as the East, in capital letters, a mental region conveying specific ideological, cultural and political connotations; the rethoric promoting a spatial re-ordering after 1989 used this idea as a central element of the urban landscape. In any case, urban identity is a process where interpretations and narratives have a key part. The aim of this discussion session is to embrace an artistic practice of representation on Berlin, that is, Bewegtcentrum, as a pre-text to debate on practices of representation and the way we work with them in Social Sciences and in Arts. In that sense, specific locations are usually abstract and invisible in the cityscape till they are marked; the project location signed on departure points to locate narratives of the city, and also, to embrace these representations in a bigger discussion on the layers of the imagined geographies of Berlin, and the fall and rise of centres. This way, far from the official geographies, artistic performances and interventions may become a way of working with geographical imagination. Art forms underline sub-

Deconstructing the hybris of the zero point

jective expressions, metaphors and performances as processes of interpretation, de-centering repre-

Heriberto Cairo

sentational regimes and asking questions about geographical imagination. I would like to open the discussion launching two ideas: the first one, cultural surplus in Carme´s

Modern science has the pretension of being located at the zero point of observation, which would

work is located on the interaction with people at place. There is no audience, in a literal sense. The-

ensure their objectivity. Santiago Castro-Gómez in his book La hybris del punto cero shows the banal-

re are not spectators like in the Museum, around the artistic piece; people and spectators are part of

ity and exaggerated assumption of that idea. The conception of the work of Carme ends to achieve a

the artistic creation process. This creation is recorded by the own artist, and it is a fundamental part

goal similar to Santiago: the ladder gives access to a privileged place for observation, but this is not

of its artistic value. Spatial and discursive practices around the device are the mean of the interven-

at all the “one” or the more “objective”. The device has a certain orientation, but may vary and will

tion; in this case, using metaphors of East and West to draw her own representation of the city.

vary according the will of the “user”, who does not pretend to have a scientific view. But more impor-

And this takes me to the second point I would like to make: the gaze on landscape. By proposing

tantly, the person who climbs the ladder and experience the view from its height is not seeing neces-

a point of view and framing it. Being itself a practice of representation, it becomes central place in

sarily what the person who has arranged the device wanted. He or she has “his or her” particular

terms of visualization, de-centering other centers and narratives about the city. Her center.

and, sometimes, shocking vision.

Again, the artefact becomes a mean for interrupting daily spatial practices. It allows seeing the geo-

The claim to be located at ground zero and to be separated from the observed is developed from

graphical imaginations, and the daily spatial practices and perfomances that characterize everyday

the Renaissance in Europe, according to what John Agnew states in his book Geopolitics. A re-vision

life. In this sense, the gaze over landscape in the West side pays attention to struggles over meaning,

of global politics, where he says that then is developed “a vision of the world-as-an-image, as an or-

to perspectives no represented in the hegemonical and changing interpretations of the city. The place

dered and structured whole, which separates who is seeing from the world itself. The observer is kept

may become a site to interpellate representational regimes, a place for suspension of beliefs, a place

out of ground space, so to speak, and conceptualizes it as something separated and previous to the

for discussion and debate I invite you to follow…

people and places that it contains.” The experience of raising and lowering the device of observation


an ongoing re-construction of Europe and the East. East understood not only as a geographical location, but as the East, in capital letters, a mental region conveying specific ideological, cultural and political connotations; the rethoric promoting a spatial re-ordering after 1989 used this idea as a central element of the urban landscape. In any case, urban identity is a process where interpretations and narratives have a key part. The aim of this discussion session is to embrace an artistic practice of representation on Berlin, that is, Bewegtcentrum, as a pre-text to debate on practices of representation and the way we work with them in Social Sciences and in Arts. In that sense, specific locations are usually abstract and invisible in the cityscape till they are marked; the project location signed on departure points to locate narratives of the city, and also, to embrace these representations in a bigger discussion on the layers of the imagined geographies of Berlin, and the fall and rise of centres. This way, far from the official geographies, artistic performances and interventions may become a way of working with geographical imagination. Art forms underline sub-

Deconstructing the hybris of the zero point

jective expressions, metaphors and performances as processes of interpretation, de-centering repre-

Heriberto Cairo

sentational regimes and asking questions about geographical imagination. I would like to open the discussion launching two ideas: the first one, cultural surplus in Carme´s

Modern science has the pretension of being located at the zero point of observation, which would

work is located on the interaction with people at place. There is no audience, in a literal sense. The-

ensure their objectivity. Santiago Castro-Gómez in his book La hybris del punto cero shows the banal-

re are not spectators like in the Museum, around the artistic piece; people and spectators are part of

ity and exaggerated assumption of that idea. The conception of the work of Carme ends to achieve a

the artistic creation process. This creation is recorded by the own artist, and it is a fundamental part

goal similar to Santiago: the ladder gives access to a privileged place for observation, but this is not

of its artistic value. Spatial and discursive practices around the device are the mean of the interven-

at all the “one” or the more “objective”. The device has a certain orientation, but may vary and will

tion; in this case, using metaphors of East and West to draw her own representation of the city.

vary according the will of the “user”, who does not pretend to have a scientific view. But more impor-

And this takes me to the second point I would like to make: the gaze on landscape. By proposing

tantly, the person who climbs the ladder and experience the view from its height is not seeing neces-

a point of view and framing it. Being itself a practice of representation, it becomes central place in

sarily what the person who has arranged the device wanted. He or she has “his or her” particular

terms of visualization, de-centering other centers and narratives about the city. Her center.

and, sometimes, shocking vision.

Again, the artefact becomes a mean for interrupting daily spatial practices. It allows seeing the geo-

The claim to be located at ground zero and to be separated from the observed is developed from

graphical imaginations, and the daily spatial practices and perfomances that characterize everyday

the Renaissance in Europe, according to what John Agnew states in his book Geopolitics. A re-vision

life. In this sense, the gaze over landscape in the West side pays attention to struggles over meaning,

of global politics, where he says that then is developed “a vision of the world-as-an-image, as an or-

to perspectives no represented in the hegemonical and changing interpretations of the city. The place

dered and structured whole, which separates who is seeing from the world itself. The observer is kept

may become a site to interpellate representational regimes, a place for suspension of beliefs, a place

out of ground space, so to speak, and conceptualizes it as something separated and previous to the

for discussion and debate I invite you to follow…

people and places that it contains.” The experience of raising and lowering the device of observation


in the work of Carme destroys this claim: access to the privileged place of vision is simple, but it cannot feed the idea of staying ​​ there forever, even for a while. It’s clearly more a watchtower than a spacecraft. Someone might say that the work of Carme is a platform from which “Berlin” could be seen, but it would be a mistaken. The device does not allow contemplating an orderly whole that we call “Berlin”; it only allows obtaining instant pictures of urban tissue (one corner, a lake, part of the way ...) that, due to some of its characteristics, can be identified under the label of “Berliner”. But it is important to understand that the purpose of the work is not “omnipotent” but partial and critical, which is not easy given the geopolitical location of Berlin, now and in modern history. Although it may be that the latter, the recent history, allows us to better understand the choice of location for the entire work: it was capital of the powerful Reich that was called to last for a thousand years, but after World War II ended to be divided into four sectors of occupation, which was later reduced to two (two capitals of two Germanys of two Europes...). The division, which you can still touch and smell, was a definitive deconstruction of Berlin. One last word about the “perspective” from the device: Brunelleschi was, technically speaking, the discoverer in the Renaissance of the optics of artistic representation in which a structure or a scene is viewed from a linear perspective that the artist or the architect used to achieve the desired effect on the observer. Following this logic, the interpretation of a building or a landscape is made pos-

sible through an orderly vision achieved through an external focus from which all objects appear in the same light. The perspective induces a specific vision that both the technical and the viewer understand that it is “better”, “more perfect”. The ladder in the work of Carme, does not seek to create “A perspective”, but enable “perspectiveS.” To the extent that is not used by “experts”, but by various types of bystanders not previously trained, does not create a privileged perspective but it enables many: from the leaves of the near trees to an artificial satellite, spinning out of control around the Earth space, flying through the night sky over Berlin… In short, we should appreciate works as this of Carme, which help to resist the epistemic violence of modernity, with its linear perspective from an impossible zero point. Berlin, May 2 2011


in the work of Carme destroys this claim: access to the privileged place of vision is simple, but it cannot feed the idea of staying ​​ there forever, even for a while. It’s clearly more a watchtower than a spacecraft. Someone might say that the work of Carme is a platform from which “Berlin” could be seen, but it would be a mistaken. The device does not allow contemplating an orderly whole that we call “Berlin”; it only allows obtaining instant pictures of urban tissue (one corner, a lake, part of the way ...) that, due to some of its characteristics, can be identified under the label of “Berliner”. But it is important to understand that the purpose of the work is not “omnipotent” but partial and critical, which is not easy given the geopolitical location of Berlin, now and in modern history. Although it may be that the latter, the recent history, allows us to better understand the choice of location for the entire work: it was capital of the powerful Reich that was called to last for a thousand years, but after World War II ended to be divided into four sectors of occupation, which was later reduced to two (two capitals of two Germanys of two Europes...). The division, which you can still touch and smell, was a definitive deconstruction of Berlin. One last word about the “perspective” from the device: Brunelleschi was, technically speaking, the discoverer in the Renaissance of the optics of artistic representation in which a structure or a scene is viewed from a linear perspective that the artist or the architect used to achieve the desired effect on the observer. Following this logic, the interpretation of a building or a landscape is made pos-

sible through an orderly vision achieved through an external focus from which all objects appear in the same light. The perspective induces a specific vision that both the technical and the viewer understand that it is “better”, “more perfect”. The ladder in the work of Carme, does not seek to create “A perspective”, but enable “perspectiveS.” To the extent that is not used by “experts”, but by various types of bystanders not previously trained, does not create a privileged perspective but it enables many: from the leaves of the near trees to an artificial satellite, spinning out of control around the Earth space, flying through the night sky over Berlin… In short, we should appreciate works as this of Carme, which help to resist the epistemic violence of modernity, with its linear perspective from an impossible zero point. Berlin, May 2 2011

Bewegtcentrum  

Working papers of the project "DIsplaced centers" that took place in Berlin during 2010 -2011. With contributions by María Lois, Heriberto C...

Bewegtcentrum  

Working papers of the project "DIsplaced centers" that took place in Berlin during 2010 -2011. With contributions by María Lois, Heriberto C...

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