Last week I was back in Berlin for the first time in nearly 18 months, participating in an event at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt entitled After the Wildly Improbable. Invited by the event’s curator, award-winning author Adania Shibli, I made a modest contribution to a broader effort by a whole a host of amazing artists, writers, academics, and thinkers to assist the Berlin-Baghdad and Hijaz railways to, as the event program stated, ‘speak from their own perspective of no more than twenty-five centimeters above the ground.’ I gave a short talk about Berlin’s ghost-stations, using Heinz Knobloch’s short 1982 essay Stadtmitte Umsteigen (Change at Stadtmitte) as a point of access. It was great to return to a building known affectionately by Berliners as the ‘pregnant oyster’ and to take part in such an experimental and invigorating event.
Hopefully I will stay true to my promise to explore more creative and performative ways of delivery my research at conventional conferences! Many of the performances and talks can be listened to at voice republic here. My own favorite: Priya Basil and Sinan Antoon’s staged literary reading entitled Steel that Bites the Earth: The Logic of the Track is in the Trains in the Past, Tracks in the Present session and starts at 72:20.
After the Wildly Improbable was the first of three events running over consecutive weekends within the Where Are We Now series, itself part of a four-year project called 100 Years on Now. The second event: Aleppo. A Portrait of Absence is on now so get yourself down to HKW!