Porous City: Thresholds in Urbanity
Visual Arts

Porous City: Thresholds in Urbanity

Thresholds in Urbanity brings together artistic and activist perspectives that negotiate the urban territory of Berlin

An exhibition curated by Caroline Adler & Eylem Sengezer at

The exhibition Porous City: Thresholds in Urbanity brings together artistic and activist perspectives that negotiate the urban territory of Berlin as residential, social, and experiential space, making marginalized spaces visible alongside their stories, contradictions, and overlaps.

The exhibition seeks to give visibility to (erased) boundary-drawings and power relations in urban space—as well as to the creative possibilities of reinterpreting and appropriating them. Showing the part these power relations play within urban value-creation processes is the very act that reveals the entanglements and consolidations that follow from various regimes of marginalizing specific bodies and memories within those same spaces. This examination of the city thus becomes an examination of lived experience in urban space, of the social forms made possible or impossible by particular architectures, and of ‘residential society’ as a social architecture itself.

Many of the works ask how and where a “right to the city” based on solidarity is expressed beyond the logics of functionality. Alongside examining public space, the exhibition looks at “housing” not as a retreat into the private domain but as a relation that has always been political: in critical analyses of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) of the 80s and migrants’ resistance strategies in their struggles for livable housing in Kreuzberg, through to the creative self-organization of Märkisches Viertel residents in the 1970s.

The cityscape of Berlin is also a space for imagination in which a range of social self-images and self-determinations have inscribed themselves: from the ideological reception of old and new buildings against the backdrop of the architecture of the 1960s to contemporary dystopian entrepreneurial blueprints for the “city of tomorrow,” defined by a logic of exclusivity and expulsion.

This decolonial examination of the historical Berlin as a “porous city” is performed in opposition to a physically grandiose memorial culture that manifests itself in public space in the form of statues, monuments, and other powerful impositions. Drawings, photographs, and video works look upon personal and collective memories as emancipations from hegemonic city history, be it the Victory Column in Berlin’s Tiergarten, the former locations of Nazi forced labor camps, or the Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof cemetery.
Porous City opens up a view of city life as a porous and precarious nexus of relationships that requires constant renegotiation.

For the safety of all visitors, please wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose and keep a distance from other people of at least 1.5 meters during your visit. Due to the entry restrictions, waiting times may occur. The general distance and hygiene regulations also apply in the exhibition space.

Date and time

Oct 04, 2023
12:00 AM (UTC+0)

Add To Calendar