A 10-strong international tutor team of practising architects, researchers in architecture and urbanism and artists, was leading the “BERLIN UNLIMITED” workshops. Focusing on Berlin’s actual problematics, the workshop was an interdisciplinary exercise in understanding the urban condition and working towards collaborative solutions.
A memory re-written in light:
the absence of the Berlin Wall
Among Berlin’s ruins, the remaining fragments and voids corresponding to ‘die Berliner Mauer’, the barrier that divided the city between 1961 and 1989, stand as the most significant. The promise of liberation after the fall of the wall and further meanings and memories were reflected in its very left over spaces, but disparate regeneration projects and infrastructure operations started to replace them, leaving just scattered portions of it. Some of them turned into touristic spots, fewer were incorporated in every day’s urban life. Memory, consumption and forgetfulness are hence involved in on-going processes of conservation and renovation.
Although barely existing today as a discontinuous trace, the wall has still a strong presence in the collective memory of city’s inhabitants and the imaginary of its visitors. It is an absent element of identity, a negative monument that haunts contemporary Berlin.
Photography was used as a main tool for registering the explored territory during the workshop and its further editing and manipulation were considered as a way of triggering new interpretations acknowledging the presence/absence of the Berlin Wall. The participants depicted various spatial and social barriers that arose from the reminiscences of the Berlin Wall.
Berlin Imaginarium: Urban Transformation through Storytelling
What makes up the spirit of Berlin and is it already fading away? Or has it found new quarters, parks and alleyways? How fundamental is this narrative of urban exploration, experience and storytelling in context of the quality of life and vitality of the city as such? The stories based on experience are retold and transformed, becoming part of the collective memory, such as the famous tales of brothers Grimm, perhaps the best-known storytellers of folk tales, who lived in Berlin for 20 years. During the workshop will encourage the participants to explore the contemporary tales and legends of Berlin through its urban environment as an experimental ground where limits are constantly re-defined.
The objective of the workshop is to explore the role of storytelling in creativity and city making, bridging the limits between reality and imagination. How can we contribute to the process of changing urban landscapes through storytelling? As designers, we have the power to invent and develop narratives beyond the physical design, in order to engage people and activate urban areas. By storytelling we initiate and enable social exchange, enhancing the quality of urban life. The aim of the workshop will be to create an IMAGINARIUM, where the limits and possibilities converge through storytelling and urban narratives.
The participants were encouraged to explore urban space beyond the visible city fabric, undertaking interviews and performing site specific interventions in order to create a space of the IMAGINARIUM.
The BERLIN UNLIMITED workshop series was organised by Urban Transcripts.