INFILTRATIONS – THE PERMEABLE CITY
I begin from a location I visited a few years ago, the Spree, to follow the banks of the river and point out the places, some impenetrable to me, but which seem to filter part of the world through this piece of land that is Berlin.
The Spree flows from southeast to northwest, quietly infiltrating the city along its horizontal course, casting its imaginary gaze right, left and center toward those sites which vertically filter huge amounts of information and pass them on to the populace. Just beyond the Oberbaumbrücke, at the Warschauer Straße station of the subway, the world passes by. Tracks run underneath the bridge that connects the trains to the U1 underground which bring Berlin and its people to other places, but before leaving or returning, people cross each other’s paths while running to the sound of music usually offered in exchange for a Spende (donation), even when it’s rainy and cold. It’s the only place that comes to my mind where people run this hard. I don’t see it at the Central Station nor do I see it in Berlin’s large squares and plazas.
The Spree thinks it knows the city like the back of its hand but, as soon as the nice weather returns, it realizes the horizons have changed during its winter repose. One day it will seem that the city castle has simply always been there since 1443. But this is not the case. It was destroyed, replaced and later rebuilt, with this history soon-to-be readily apparent only to those who bore witness or take the time to inform themselves of it.
In spite of the past’s attempt to remember only its grandeur, only a few strokes of the paddle, were you so allowed, would bring you to the Bundestag, through whose transparent dome international politics infiltrate the eyes and ears of the people who have attached themselves to its glass.
A few miles further, the Ministry of the Interior manages national policy in a swirl of data and, in the Westhafen, Berlin’s active port, the early 19th century architecture and the modern containers stock goods from all around the world.
The series Die undichte Stadt is a set of five graphic prints obtained from five photographs taken along the banks of the river Spree. In an path which follows the river from north to south, the images depict the east port (Osthafen), the area of the island, Parliament, and Ministry of the Interior, and lastly the west port (Westhafen).
Following the river like critical instrument of urban investigation useful to the focusing of spots where the stream of water meets places of social, cutlural, historical, political and economical infiltration.
Places into where flow contents (goods or information) and memory (people and architecture-urbanism)
Synchronical spaces of staying and going, where nomadism meets sedentariness. Where the changes of the urban and social body go on. Slow and continuous flows of data that transform the permeable city.