bildstreifen_ethnologie_master_va2

Mike Terry

Occupation: Structures of the Berlin Brigade (1945-1994-2013) / Photography project

 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of occupational military withdrawing from Berlin. In 1994, simultaneously dozens of installations built and or used by the US military in former West Berlin; were returned to the German government. Regarding use, place-making and urban planning, this moment returned these structures to a state of tabula rasa. This unique timeline, geographic proximity and historical context; collectively lend these sites to place-making research. What processes continue to charge these sites and under what circumstances? The ethnographic answer is a textured one that photography is well suited to approach.

A heralding aspect of the post-modern world is the consequence of connected-ness, both in a physical and perceptual sense. Constructing such a network is an attempt to reduce the puzzlement that Geertz describes, in clarifying not only what manner of structures are these?...but more importantly, what manner of people have made them what they are? (Geertz 1973:16)

 It is only space until the cracks and edges are stained, until shines are smudged with the patina of living occupation that place is made. Speculation to construction, inhabitation, decay, and demolition (Hayden 2005:2) are not independent forces of nature. Absorbing the human breath, ideals and power within this sequence by organizing and representing the occupiers of space spun of different eras, circumstance and purpose expand our perception of what these buildings have been, what they can be and who can make them so.