At the centre of this chapter is an interpretation of the 2001 installation, Science Fiction/Hier und jetzt zufrieden sein (Science Fiction: Being Satisfied here and now), by sculptor Isa Genzken and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.1 Through engaging with each artist’s formal vocabulary as well as with their individual work-biographies, the chapter seeks to describe the way in which the Science Fiction installation communicates with the activity of architecture in general and with one concrete, historic architectural or urban reality in particular. The reality in question is an episode in the history of Berlin, the decade of the 1990s, which was by all accounts a transitional period. After the Fall of the Wall, large territories in the middle of the city were set free from the control exercised by one system that had just collapsed (the particular socialism of the German Democratic Republic, GDR), while another system (the capitalism of the Federal Republic of Germany, FRG) had not yet taken hold of them. In Genzken’s and Tillmans’s work one can perceive a formally highly mediated echo of two types of intervention in these urban zones of suspension: first, an administrative and corporate grip that privileges monumental representationalism and the maximizing of profit (as addressed by Genzken in her artistic comments on the development of Potsdamer Platz); second, a dedication of existing architectural structures to a culture of nightlife and its transient institutions (clubs, parties and so on, which are depicted in Tillmans’s images, but also referred to in Genzken’s sculptures).
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- Perpetuated Transitions: Forms of Nightlife and the Buildings of Berlin in the Work of Isa Genzken and Wolfgang Tillmans
- Palgrave Macmillan UK