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Beyond the Ruins of the Creative City: Berlin’s Factory of Culture and the Sabotage of Rent

Beyond the Ruins of the Creative City:  
Berlin’s Factory of Culture and the
Sabotage of Rent

 

Coming of age in the heyday of punk, it was clear were
living at the end of something — of modernism, of the
American dream, of the industrial economy, of a certain
kind of urbanism. The evidence was all around us in the
ruins of the cities… Urban ruins were the emblematic
places for this era, the places that gave punk part of its
aesthetic, and like most aesthetics this one contained an
ethic, a worldview with a mandate  on how to act, how to
live... A city is built to resemble a conscious mind, a
network  that can calculate, administrate, manufacture.
Ruins become the unconscious of a city, its memory,
unknown, darkness, lost lands, and  in this truly bring it
to life. With ruins a city springs free  of its plans into
something as intricate as life, something that can be
explored but perhaps not mapped. This is the same
transmutation spoken of in fairy tales when statues and
toys and animals become human, though they come to
life and with ruin a city comes to death, but a generative
death like the corpse that feeds flower. An urban ruin is a
place that has fallen outside the economic life of the city,
and it is in some way an ideal home for the art that also
falls outside the ordinary production and consumption of
the city.
— Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost1

 

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