The second part of my series on futuristic architecture is on Berlin’s Sony Center. Like a moth drawn to a bright light, I wanted to see this structure since Wikipediaing cyberpunk all those years ago.
The dome of the Sony Center glows bright and resembles a funnel, giving it the impression of a psychedelic tornado, frozen in time as it was tearing up Potsdamer Platz. The colours change every 30 seconds, causing people like me who love this stuff to tilt their necks skyward while enjoying a hot coffee in the center’s unheated square.
The Sony Center looks like a background from Blade Runner, or Johnny Mnemonic, and a dark, dystopian future has always interested me. I love Aliens, Terminator, those movies that validate the dark foreboding you feel about what is to come for us all.
Underneath the square there is a maze of tunnels and the U-Bahn isn’t far away. The whole center has the feel of a bunker, while it’s really an upscale shopping mall.
In honour of Sony Centre, I’ve created my first GIF. Watch while listening to trance music really loud to get the full effect.
Reminders of Berlin’s dark past are everywhere when you walk down the streets and alleys of this war-torn capital. Germany’s memorial to its most famous military commander is one of them. Riddled with pockmarks, chips of stone were broken off the base of this monument by Allied bombs during the Second World War.
Otto von Bismarck died 41 years before the start of WWII, but he is still remembered and often hated as a militarist who brought Germany down the path ending in disastrous wars and millions of deaths.
This is a tribute to the martial spirit of the German people, defiled by the horrible results of that spirit which came forty years later, making it now an ironic comment on the folly of militarism and the hubris of people who staked so much national pride on ability to dominant their neighbors. A really mindblowing thing to see for someone with an interest in history.
Mediaspree is a massive redevelopment of a part of Berlin that for years has been the home and workspace of artists, tramps, squatters, and general non-conformists to a profit driven culture that has already occupied 99% of western Europe and is quickly infesting the former Eastern Bloc.
In response groups have formed opposing the redevelopment which threatens to destroy that rebellious aspect of Berlin that makes this city unique.
In good Berlin fashion they’ve taken their protest to the walls, drawing protest slogans whereever they can find the space.
My personal favourite is the giant “fuck off mediaspree” message on top of an abandoned building.
They say Berlin is bankrupt. It is in the financial sense, but there are other forms of bankruptcy. A city where the poor and eccentric have to feel ashamed to walk down the street suffers from a moral bankruptcy, one which Berlin must fight to avoid.
Another post about Berlin, because it’s impossible not to write about or photograph this bizarre and exciting city. I took a great tour offered by Alternative Berlin into the heartland of the city’s famous graffiti scene. It was an abandoned trainyard near Warschauer Straße S-Bahn. These old warehouses and vacant lots show Berlin in its most run down, grimy, and industrial. The art is a mix of anti-corporate protest, political commentary and trippy random shit.
Here is a sample