“Nachbarschaften: Stadt Kunst Architektur”
Video essay by Dirk Naguschewski and Nicola Chodan

Video essay by Dirk Naguschewski and Nicola Chodan, produced from August to October 2021

The multivocal video essay approaches the relation between city, art, and architecture from different perspectives. As a starting point, the essay chooses the immanent neighborhood of the ZfL, located at the Mossehaus in the historic ‘Zeitungsviertel’ (newspaper district). Nearby buildings include the building of the Springer publishing house and the multistoried building ensemble on Leipziger Straße, a showcase project in GDR urban planning. One of these towers houses the KVOST – Kunstverein Ost which organized the exhibition DA SEID IHR JA! (THERE YOU ARE!), an exhibition on art in architecture in Berlin-Mitte which was also the main location for filming.

At the KVOST, the documentarist and photographer Matin Maleschka, originally from Eisenhüttenstadt, explains the significance of art in architecture in the GDR. The Berlin-based American poet Donna Stonecipher reads prose poems on real and imaginary modellings of the city from her volume Model City and talks to the French art historian Edouard Compere. Together, they discuss the ways in which the city may be experienced and read, the point at which the dialogue between pedestrian and facade truly begins to spark, and the factors that turn a district into a (non-)Kiez. By taking the initially inconspicuous pre-cast concrete element ‘G7R geschlossen’ as an example, Compere sharpens our view for the urban environment.

In the case of East Berlin, the environment’s constant change, its re- and overwriting, its destructions and reconstructions may be traced with the help of postcards from Reinder Wijnveld’s collection. They show us what no longer exists or is different today: the Haus des Lehrers (House of the Teacher) without its defining mural, the Fischerinsel before it became the Fischerinsel, the Pressecafé at Alexanderplatz in all its glory. Everyone involved in this film’s production comes from different backgrounds and has a particular relationship to the city and its history. They all open up different windows on a city that can appear idealized or vulnerable, nostalgic or futuristic.

A production of the project Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature at the ZfL, in cooperation with KVOST – Kunstverein Ost (Berlin).

Video: © ZfL

The Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung has made every attempt to take into account copyrights of the individuals and materials used. In case of doubt, please contact webredaktion@zfl-berlin.org.