Berlin's material past remains obstinately visible despite the predictions of urban theorists about the “overexposed” city. What is “remembering well” in contemporary Berlin: the preservation of a particular form of the city (Berlin's Planwerk Innenstadt) or the remembering of one particular past (e.g., National Socialism or the German Democratic Republic), or can it be understood in terms of a relationship to past time as such? This article argues that the productivity of “lateness” becomes evident in artistic framings of remnants, which interrogate memory in this “late” city. Works by Christian Boltanski, Shimon Attie, Arwed Messmer, and Lars Ramberg interrogate the dynamics of urban memory, viewing acts of memory as technologies in themselves. These works undermine “touristic itineraries” predicated on conventional engagements with urban space and time, enabling an encounter with the city that resonates with Maurice Halbwachs's conception of “place memory.” The works are not specifically addressed to Berlin's inhabitants; their forms of “resistance” relate to “remembering well” in posturban societies.
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Simon Ward; Encountering Lateness in Postunification Berlin. New German Critique 1 August 2015; 42 (2 (125)): 115–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2889296
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