Weil' auf mir, du dunkles Auge, bauerundewald, Berlin, Oct 24 - Dec 11, 2010:
Berlin exists in a state of accelerated flux. New development is rapidly filling in many of its remaining vacant lots, driven by the forces of real estate speculation and urban renewal. In the process, traces of an even earlier version of the city - the unseen foundations, cellars, and underground corridors buried within such empty lots - are being dug up to make way for a Berlin of the future. The effect is a kind of 'double-erasure': of the city's negative spaces as well as the concealed traces of the past they contain, and which we can no longer see.
For this project, images of these transitional zones - sites undergoing development where such buried layers have been temporarily exposed - are photographed, enlarged, and then pasted billboard-like to the facades of various structures around the city. The idea is to evoke a life-cycle of architecture by conflating existing buildings with scenes of structural decay, and to spotlight these processes via the potential power and oddity of a random encounter with an image from the surrounding environment; not only are passersby confronted with pictures of a city 'laid bare' but, when viewed around the city, the images are themselves stripped of any context or authorship.
Naked Cities also takes its cue from the 1957 Situationist work The Naked City, a "map" of Paris that sought to chart the city's character according to sudden changes in atmosphere or sharp divisions in psychological climates. Rooted in the notion of the dérive, the Situationist practice of passing through urban spaces while observing "the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment...on the emotions and behavior of individuals" (Debord), The Naked City was also a critique of the homogenizing forces of capitalism, which, at the time, were steadily wearing away at the remaining rifts in Paris' urban fabric. Picking up on these themes in Berlin, Naked Cities seeks to chart similar locations of urban developmental creep, and, in placing these images around the city, to provide their own moments of dislocation for those who happen upon them.
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