THE SPACE OF SUBCULTURE IN THE CITY:
Getting Specific About Berlin's Indeterminate Territories
This research is concerned with those apparently abandoned, disused, indeterminate urban areas not readily identified and included in the understanding of cities. Examining such areas of Berlin has allowed an investigation of them in relation to the historical cultural and sociological context of a specific city and reveals their consequential and symbiotic relationship to the rest of the city. Do the opportunities offered by fragments of the city, in the absence of the deterministic forces of capital, ownership, and institutionalisation affect cultural formation and development? Extending the notion of indeterminacy to include its cultural and sociological effects both reveals its significance as the space of subculture within the city and allows an examination of the nature of this space. This paper is based on primary research including photographic documentation, mapping, and a case study of a particular “indeterminate“ fragment of Berlins urban fabric recording the patterns of activity, occupation, social formation and architectural action. Walter Benjamin's observations and experiences of Berlin suggest that there are pre-existing ways of understanding these areas and the urban subjectivity they imply.
Paper presented at Architecture Theory Forum at Sheffield University and published in Field-journal for architecture www.field-journal.org volume 1 (ISSN 1755-066)