Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7 pm
Mythos der Geschichte (The Myth of History)

Discussion with Adrian von Buttlar (art historian, Technische Universität Berlin), Michael S. Falser (art historian, Heidelberg University), Verena Hartbaum (architectural theorist, University of Stuttgart), Daniel Poller (artist, Berlin)

During the post-reunification period, Berlin provided space, was in a state of flux and, according to the political vision, was to become a cosmopolitan city again. These ambitions of becoming a global city often came along with a national rhetoric, which imagined Berlin as Germany’s figurehead in the world. This idea on the one hand led to the comprehensive overwriting of GDR modernism, and on the other to a style of architecture supposedly characteristic of Berlin, with a historicizing and reconstructive way of building. With the completion of major projects such as the Humboldt Forum, the construction of luxury apartments with historic-looking facades or the projected reconstruction of the Karstadt department store on Hermannplatz, the debate on revisionist tendencies remains virulent.

The exhibition
1989–2019: Politics of Space in the New Berlin outlines the urbanistic and architectural development from the point of view of the supposed “end of history”: How did Berlin become what it is today? Projects realized especially for the exhibition exemplify various urbanistic policies and their consequences for today’s Berlin. They depict partly contradictory processes and narratives that to this day are superimposing and intensifying in Berlin as a constructed city. There is not only one Berlin, but many myths and ideas of what Berlin is supposed to be. The exhibition reflects the perspectives and myths of history, of the market and of creativity.

In the framework of an extensive discourse program, selective glimpses into the history, present and future of the city are supposed to sound out what the urban Berlin consists of today. Politicians, architects, urban theorists, artists and activists will be discussing the politics of space in the New Berlin: What to do about historically amnesiac ambitions? What is the current constitution of urban social movements, how can their relationship to party politics be apprehended in terms of emancipation? What kind of associations, planning approaches and architectures are needed to create a Berlin that is open and based on solidarity?


Adrian von Buttlar is a professor emeritus in art history at the Institute for Art Studies and Historical Urban Studies at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin). From 1996 to 2009 he was chairman of the Berlin State Monument Council, and since 2011 he has been a member of the scientific advisory board of the Wüstenrot Foundation’s historical preservation program. In addition to the history of garden art and architecture, his research and publications have a particular focus on historical preservation and related policy of post-war modernism.

Michael Falser is the former project director of the excellence cluster on Asia and Europe in a Global Context at the University of Heidelberg. He teaches and conducts research on modern architectural history, historical preservation, and cultural heritage policy with a focus on Europe and Asia. In his book Zwischen Identität und Authentizität: Zur politischen Geschichte der Denkmalpflege in Deutschland (Between Identity and Authenticity: On the Political History of Monument Preservation in Germany, 2008), he addressed the myth of Berlin-style architecture and the overwriting of East German mondernist architecture following German reunification.

Verena Hartbaum is an academic staff member at the Institute for the Foundations of Modern Architecture and Design at the University of Stuttgart and is currently working on her doctorate at the Technical University of Munich on the relationship between architecture and consensus. Her research interests include retrospective building in Berlin, a topic she addressed in the books Retrospektiv Bauen in Berlin (2017) and Der Walter-Benjamin-Platz in the Disko book series (2013, reissued in ARCH+ 235, 2019). For the book series Schriftenreihe für Architektur und Kulturtheorie, she co-edited the book Bayern, München. 100 Jahre Freistaat — Eine Raumverfälschung (On architecture in Bavaria) (2019) and Germania, Venezia: Die deutschen Beiträge zur Architekturbiennale Venedig seit 1991—Eine Oral History (on German submissions to the Venice Architecture Biennale) (2016). In 2015 she was involved in the conception of ARCH+ 221: Tausendundeine Theorie (Thousand and One Theories).

Daniel Poller is a visual artist living in Berlin. The construction of history and its erasure or overwriting by images is a central motif in his artistic practice. He is currently working on a long-term project on the transformation of Potsdam’s inner city. In his recent feature “Frankfurter Kopien” (Frankfurt Copies) in ARCH+ 235, he takes a critical look at the reconstruction of Frankfurt’s old town.


In German
Free admission