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15.2005

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At the heart of Berlin Mitte the former East German ‘Palace of the People’s Republic’ stands ‘voided’: its interior stripped of asbestos and reduced to a skeletal forest of steel supports, its 1970’s orange-tinted glass facade gleaming in the sunset. The iconic TV tower on Alexanderplatz protrudes from its roof like an antenna. A huge neon-sign in block letters crowning the building spells out ZWEIFEL: doubt. The huge empty car park in front of the building is punctuated by a small archeological dig revealing the foundations of the 18th century Berlin Palace, which the German Bundestag has decided will now be resurrected in its entirety once the Volkspalast - the people’s palace, as it has recently been dubbed, has been demolished.

There are few images more symbolic of Berlin’s current urban condition. The Volkspalast has become a focus for strategies reminiscent of Archigram and Cedric Price. A tactical icon, it has spawned a number of initiatives amongst contemporary architects, artists and designers to turn it into a site for spectacular short-term opera concerts, clubs and light-shows; in short, a transitory focal point for the urban imaginary.

Groups from experimental theatre spaces, such as the Sophiensaele, have staged performances and happenings here; Blixa Bargeld’s Einstürzende Neubauten have made music with the steel scaffolding. The ruin is the site for urban events and a projection of desires. It is a space suspended between a stagnant present, an experimental in-between, and, should the reconstruction of the baroque palace be privately funded over the next 2 years, an architecturally neo-conservative future for one of Berlin’s most central sites.

Excerpt from "Architecture Minds the Gap" by Francesca Ferguson

Contents

Architecture Minds the Gap
By Francesca Ferguson

The Wild Ones
By Anders Johansson

Remembering Berlin:
The Architectural Arms Race Across the Berlin Wall
By Ines Weizman

The Bodies of Abu Ghraib
By Boris Groys

Painting Myself Into a Corner
A project by Jan Christensen
Insert: The Journals of Jacob Mandeville
By Albin Biblom

The Image of History
By Trond Lundemo

A Talk With Harun Farocki
By Trond Lundemo

Choreographies, Heterogenities
By Susanne Berggren, Mårten Spångberg, and Xavier LeRoy

Locus non gratus
By Angelika Richter


Publisher and Editor in Chief

Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Editors

Tim Anstey, Brian Manning Delaney, Power Ekroth, Jeff Kinkle, Trond Lundemo, Staffan Lundgren, Karl Lydén, Helena Mattsson, Meike Schalk, Susan Schuppli, Kim West.

Contact

info@sitemagazine.net

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