summer in berlin

“Berlin’s contemporary city planners and marketers, like other urban professionals elsewhere, selectively borrowed urban forms and lifestyles of imagined past Berlins to ‘remember’ a new global city for the future.

“Marketers represented the city as a spectacle and drew from images of Weimar cosmopolitanism. Such contemporary stagings of the New Berlin located Cold War and National Socialist Berlin elsewhere, into the undesirable spaces of the ‘old’.

“Another way marketers downplayed Cold War images was by emphasising the central status of Berlin as a European gateway and cosmopolitan city, evoking new Berlin marketing campaigns from the 1920s. In Weimar Berlin, just as today, marketers sought to promote Berlin as a world-class city on par with London, Paris, and New York; they represented the city as a modern metropolis, a cultural centre, and a liveable city.

“Psychologically, images of the future can only have a resonance with what appears to be familiar, with known experiences from the past and present.

“Through the act of recalling and situating the past through place-based images, the presence or endurance of imagined futures is made possible ontologically. Places are remembered in one’s imagination, and through that memory the future is located in the past. Modernist utopian visions of society, the nation and global power in Germany (and in other nations) have been staged through contemporary historic urban landscapes and architectural fragments understood as standing for times gone by – and for times to come.”

– Karen E Till, The New Berlin: Memory. Politics, Place (University of Minnesota Press 2005)

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