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Dispatch

The Doubting City: Artists and their search for forgotten places in Berlin

By Christine Nippe (translated from German by Birgit Rathsmann)
Published February 1, 2011

Since German reunification, the capital Berlin has been in a permanent state of reconstruction that has not proceeded in nearly as linear a development as the continuously present cranes might imply. The city has become a place where many temporary occupations and empty spaces make the potential for new art-making practices in the urban realm possible. While comparing contemporary artists in New York and Berlin for my PhD research, I discovered the role that many artists play in re-imagining cities today. Inspired by urban anthropology and art history, my research has focused on the way in which artists conceptualize and represent “their” cities. Local conditions, myths and discourse as well as the global art world plot the coordinates that, I argue, define urban art practice: examining the idea of artists as activists through artists strategies and processes related to urbanity.

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