Heart of Berlin
While in a residency at the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin, Germany in 2015, I mapped the city through encounters with random people on the street. I had a bicycle, a hand drawn map of the city, a camera, and a plan to enter Berlin through various conceptual portals. I had five months to learn the depth of its legacy which stretched to such extremes that on many days I felt I had passed through centuries in just a matter of blocks. The Heart of Berlin was my attempt at understanding the citizenry's idea of the center or heart of their city.
I began at the Brandenburg Gate, asking the first bike jockey I came across to look at my hand drawn map of Berlin and pinpoint the location of their heart of the city. The map was devoid of streets or other landmarks except for the River Spree running through its center. When the mapper recorded their center-site with a drawing and a story, I rode my bike to that location, found another participant, collected their drawing and stories (described on the back of the map), and rode to their designated center. I spent weeks carrying around the map, being sent to all corners of the city. Some days I only got two entries because each trip took a substantial part of the day: I joined a family picnic, sat on park benches with an elderly couple, found tiny museums, and a Stolpersteine (www.stolpersteine.eu) placement ceremony through a chance meeting at a local bike shop. Every tip was explored and in the end, a subjective map of Berlin was developed by the 25 random participants.