Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz (2020), high definition video with sound, single channel, 12:41

Film poster, Potsdamer Platz (2020)

Potsdamer Platz is a moving image work that centres around the re-staging of a key scene in Wim Wenders’s Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire), 1987.  Moving through both time and space, a young child retraces the footsteps of two characters (Homer and Cassiel) from Wenders’s film around the space of Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin, a place that has historically manifested massive turmoil and societal upheaval and is currently a privately owned icon of global capital.  The child, Etta, coexists in both the present and the future. Her movements are a politically active use of space and a central force in the narrative of change, rupturing the dominance of precarious global market forces. 

During the early 1990s, while Potsdamer Platz was sold to private corporations and was being transformed from a vast empty wasteland to Europe’s largest construction site, squatters on this land proclaimed a socialist republic, looking to the future they hoped “…maybe everything will be in ruins and people like us will live here again.”*  This work imagines the return of Potsdamer Platz into a wasteland, somehow reclaiming the space back from private corporate ownership and creating possibilities for a new beginning.

*(Quotation from Hito Steyerl’s The Empty Centre, 1998.)

Cast: Yannika Frank, Cathal Sheahan and Zoe O’Brien. Screenplay by Richard Lubell.

Video still, Potsdamer Platz (2020)