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Arrivals and Departures: Travelling to the Airports of Berlin

  • Henrik Reeh

Abstract

Memories of foreign cities are often tied to the experience of crossing thresholds on the ways in and out of the urban domain: these are both generic and personal. When one recalls a first encounter with Rome, the arrival in Roma Termini after 30 hours of train travel through snowy Europe may stand forth with a surprising detail and clarity. Conversely, the memories of particular departures frame the mnemonic image of a particular stay. Spontaneously leaving Paris together with a friend whom you were simply accompanying to Gare du Nord presents itself as such an unexpected event. It communicates with many later departures, all of which inform the general experience of Paris and other metropolitan cities. Consciously or not, both arrivals and departures become memorial thresholds of human lives within a global urban network.

Keywords

Urban Space Railway Station Memory Culture Architectural Space Engine Driver 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Paul Virilio is obsessed with speed as a factor that undermines the solidity of urban architecture. After delving into the history of military technologies that made the city an unsafe but also structured place, Virilio focused on media such as the car, cinema and the television screen in order to understand contemporary spatial practices and preferences. See H. Reeh (1986), ‘En hommage à la ville du futur antérieur — ville et vitesse dans l’œuvre de Paul Virilio’, in Ville et voyage — trajectoires urbaines (Paris: Editions Didier Érudition), pp. 65–88.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quoted from P. Virilio (1997), ‘The Overexposed City’, in Neil Leach, ed., Rethinking Architecture (London: Routledge), p. 382,Google Scholar
  3. trans. modified (P. Virilio (1984), L’Espace Critique (Paris: Christian Bourgois), p. 12).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Translated from P. Virilio (1984), L’horizon Négatif (Paris: Galilée), p. 158.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Translated from S. Kracauer (1987), ‘Lokomotive über der Friedrichstraße’, in Straßen in Berlin und anderswo (Berlin: Das Arsenal), pp. 33–4.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    For a phenomenological exploration of the main station, see P. Sansot (1972), Poétique de la ville (Paris: Klincksieck), pp. 81–92.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    On the history of Tempelhof, see P. Meuser (2000), Vom Fliegerfeld zum Wiesenmeer: Geschichte und Zukunft des Flughafens Tempelhof (Berlin: Berlin Edition).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Quoted from H. Reeh (2004), Ornaments of the Metropolis: Siegfried Kracauer and Modern Urban Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press), p. 100. German from S. Kracauer, ‘Aus dem Fenster gesehen’ [‘Berliner Landschaft’], in Straßen in Berlin und anderswo, p. 40.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    A photographic interpretation of Libeskind’s Between the Lines in the construction process (c. 1996) is given by H. Binet (1997), A Passage through Silence and Light: Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin (London: Black Dog Publishing).Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    M. Wörner, D. Mollenschott, K.-H. Hüter and P. Sigel (1997), Architekturführer Berlin. 5th edn (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer) pp. 310–95.Google Scholar
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    F. Hessel (1981), ‘Von der schwierigen Kunst spazieren zu gehen’, in Ermunterung zum Genuß (Berlin: Brinkmann & Bose), pp. 59–60.Google Scholar
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    On the urban lifeworld, see P. Madsen and R. Plunz (2002), eds, The Urban Lifeworld (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    W. Benjamin (1974), ‘Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit [Zweite Fassung]’, Gesammelte Schriften, 1.2 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp), pp. 471–508, especially pp. 503–5 (W. Benjamin (2003), The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility’, Selected Writings, 4 (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press), pp. 251–83, especially pp. 267–9).Google Scholar

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© Henrik Reeh 2009

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  • Henrik Reeh

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