Berlin: The Void of Berlin

Berlin: The Void of Berlin, by Andrea’s Huyssen

Huyseen, Andreas, The Void of Berlin,The university of Chicago Press,1997, Source: Crictical Inquiry Vol,24 issue 1 Pg 75-81

Berlin culturally attempts to fix this however Huyseen states that ‘the void’  may have been filled physically but the memory and history will always linger (Huyssen (1997:73) as well as considering other theoretical perspectives on how society reforms and how architecture improves and constricts the regeneration of Berlin.

To describe Berlin as a ‘void’ is a harsh analysis of Berlin to say Berlin is an ‘empty space’ ( seems harsh as it constantly attempts re build the city and representation, straying away from the history and memories of conflict and unjust.  In the article Huyssen explores the history and methods in which Berlin strives to regenerate all aspects of life., One of the main themes that will be considered throughout the research project and further developed to discover all aspects and of the regeneration of Berlin as part of active field reserach in the new year.

In relation to historical context it has a direct link in terms of the fall of the Berlin wall and the unknown before control and stability was re-established in society. However the regeneration of Firstly Berlins connections to history and the social memories embedded in the past, such as The fall of the Berlin wall Bloch described this as ‘functions in the void’( 1973:212) meaning the collapse in society created a metaphorical space in society, furthermore the  physically space between the new Unified Berlin adds more significance to this void. Once Unified Berlin was established and new fairer norms and value in society set, the government in power attempted to fix this void with new architecture ‘invests the shaping of political and national identities’ (Huyssen 1997:57) this was vital to Berlin to create a new national identity it can present to the rest of the world, in a more positive light not just as a country of political conflict and war.

In terms of existing architecture already represents previous events and memories to by re-designing Berlin it intends to re create Berlin and in the long term a new sense of identity which is vital for native Berliners to reshape the representation and character of Berlin, Baudrilllard works identifies that representation and image ‘misrepresents and mask the masks the underlying reality by imitating it’ furthermore wanting to create a new reality where Berlin has more positive influences and place in greater society.

The new modern Berlin is now developed in terms of tourism and cultural attraction not as a practical space for Berliners or people who choose to inhabit Berlin today it attempts to ‘erase the memory then imaginative preservation’ (Huyssen:1997:57) effectively filling the void and attempting to lose the representation and connotations it carries in a wide context. By developing the city to appeal to tourism will generate more income for the city interest in the new era of Berlin as cultural home for art, architecture retail and film, Huyssen  characterises this as ‘a capital and global metropolis of 21st Centrism’ (Huyssen 1997:67) suggesting that Berlin will in the future set high standards of what society expects of modern cultural cities and will be a main outlook for tourism within Germany and Europe.  Barthes states that cities act as signs ‘city father’ by setting an example of mass tourism, created by new power houses in Berlin what Huyssen called the ‘urban politics’ therefore by hosting events and spectacles  ‘a social relationship between people that is mediated by images’ Debord continues to states that ‘everything directly lived has moved away into representation’ (Debord:1967)  effectively by hosting Berlin aims to change the representation of Berlin through act a cultural harbour for Europe.

However Huyssen also considers the regeneration of the city in a 21st Century tone a negative context as the city could look too futuristic Huyssen compares this too ‘spaceships’ taking away from the Berlin the vital ethos and traditions that established Berlin as a uniformed city. Although through archieture such as museums and monuments can fill the void such as The Brandenburg gate which physically acts as an entrance to the New Berlin.

Overall the article draws on aspects of architecture and theories that attempt to explain and provide alternative option to fill ‘the void of Berlin’ and how this metaphor clearly defines the state of which the regeneration of Berlin has been successful so far  and how the search  for a new national identity still continues, however not forgetting the Karl Scheffler’s working stating Berlin will ‘forever to become and never to be’ (Scheffler/Huyssen:62)

Huyseen, Andreas, The Void of Berlin,The university of Chicago Press,1997, Source: Crictical Inquiry Vol,24 issue 1 Pg 75-81 (18/12/12)

Bloch, Ernst, Erbschadt Dieser  Zeit, 1997 pg 212-28

Debord 1967/Adargo, Greg;

Scheffler,Karl, Tragic Destiny of Berlin,1910

Baudrillard (18/12/12)

(Ruth Heavey)


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