BERLIN ARTSPARK | Berlin | Unit 21 | 2012 |

Awarded Distinction in Design


‘Intervention in the existing city, in its residual spaces, in its folded interstices can no longer be comfortable or effacious in the manner postulated by the modern movement’s official model of enlightened tradition…[but rather through attention to continuity] of the flows, the energies, the rhythms established by the passing of time and loss of limits’ – Ignasi de Sola Morales

Contemporary Berlin has been commonly identified as a city with a shapeless identity in need of an appropriate architectural intervention. On the contrary, the present state of the city is articulated by a field of intensities which are promulgated in our everyday experience of it. This project seeks to inquire what the civilian’s image of the city is – using the film and photographic image as synonyms of subjective experience – to identify the qualities of repetitive and cyclical daily movement through Berlin, and subsequently how this can act as a strategy to design an alternative architectural proposal for the city.

The introductory project explores an early cinematic portrayal of one of Berlin’s busiest urban nodes, Potsdamerplatz, in Moholy-Nagy’s film ‘Berlin Still Life’. Narrating the city through a hand held camera, Moholy-Nagy stitches unique spatial compositions of Potsdamerplatz. A scene in this film is sampled to explore his experience anachronistically – extracting the inferred reflection of moving crowds across a steel clad roof – to spatialise, temporise and thus (re)narrate his experience as new forms in space.

Subsequently, contemporary Berlin is addressed by its cinematically priviledged overground railway the S-Bahn Linie 5, in which my repetitive photographic documentation of my subjective experience of the city intersects that of another – a cyclical photography of a resident located opposite the observed area. In the intersection of these two subjective experiences, lies the architectural intervention of an Artspark which extracts the geometries of these views structurally and spatially into into a landscape of performance areas, outdoor galleries and public spaces. The architecture of the Artspark infers to both view points of conception and extends our subjective experiences of the city in the experience of its alternative form- ultimately constructing new and authentic civic images for the city of Berlin.

ACT A – Scene 1.d

Observant Spectator


‘The Task of the Translator’, by Walter Benjamin
‘Does [the subject’s] nature lend itself to translation and, therefore, in view of the
significance of the mode, call for it?
In these examples, translation between several kinds of media was used to investigate the
hypermobility of one urban space in Berlin – Potsdamer Platz.
The shifting forms captured in a multperspectival film scene of Potsdamer Platz in ‘Berliner Stilleben’ was later translated into physical, kinetic expression in ‘Light-Space Modulator’.
The complexity of form and movement of the modulator was recorded and projected onto film in ‘Lichtspiel Schwarz Weiss Grau’.
Potsdamer Platz was translated several times to distill and explore its characteristics : beginning as a real environment seen by Moholy-Nagy, then re-narrated on film, spatially invoked through sculpture and flattened to fluttering regions of black, white and grey on film.
Potsdamer Platz certainly ‘called’ for several steps involving a variety of translations to express the qualites of its urban condition.


Act A, Scene 1.d. is assumed to be a part of Potsdamerplatz in Berlin, since adjacent scenes depict views of the square which descend from aerial to ground levels. There is no other recognisable urban feature in the scene to explicitly locate this disembodied slice of the urban environment within the city.

There are however, relationships that can be distinguished from the scene through lighting and viewing perspective.

A set of definitive and implicit relationships are ascertained between the props (the view of the roof and the view of people beneath), the spectator and the lighting. However, these relationships have no direct mearurement and space remains untangible and unmeasurable within this boundless spatial sphere.



















The chronotopography of this scene can be further examined from a multitude of views.

This example investigates the chronotopograph from a pivoted viewing point and through the medium of a 35 mm camera.

The way in which the chronotopography is seen in respect to the chosen view point is what dictates the ‘scale’ of the chronotopograph. Multiple camera views are therefore layered together in a new chronophotographic sequence that captures a scene that can not be viewed at once from the given view point.

The motion of the camera allows one to better comprehend the depth and scale of the chronophotograph, compared to what one sees from a single, fixed view.



Investigations of the Mobile Urban Experience
A journey on Linie 5 demonstrates a strategy of seeing, experiencing, rebuilding the city that counters overly rational paradigms of development in post – reunification Berlin.

Viewing Frames of the S-Bahn
On the S-Bahn, the passenger is inside a contained, framed space – in motion along an urban continuum. The frames of the S-Bahn are shifting and cellular, our view is circumscribed by the S-Bahn window from which we view the cinematically priveledged topography of Berlin.


Mapping S-Bahn Viewing Frames
The acceleration and speed of the S-Bahn in the given station intervals determine how Berlin is seen in distance and time. The railway markers indicate the temporal manner in which certain behavioural characteristics of the city are seen from the train carriage.