Fourth Dimension


Students
Angie Door

Advisor 
Timothy Hyde

Readers
Rania Ghosn
Caroline Jones
Nicholas de Monchaux

Like an ouroboros, buildings have been built and demolished on a site within the footprint of Berlin’s earliest fortifications. Like the anthropogenic change from swamp to infill, the metabolism of architectural construction affects an atmosphere of air, dust, moisture, and heat, alongside the woven timelines of human goals. To (mis)use Fukuyama’s words, perhaps the end of history means that we are now allowed to leave linearity and enter a multiplicity of post-history. In this state of emerging time, used to describe the postcolony by Mbembe as an "interlocking of presents, pasts, and futures”, one can only contend with this thick density of data and time through fragmentary encounters. Immediate acts of care can interrupt the projective sequence of demolition, planting seeds in ground rubble and wrapping exposed I-beams to create a soft space that smells like ancient moss.

As the German Federal Ministry assesses lost revenue to colonial artifact repatriation, Preservation Agency LLC has been asked to find other uses for the site’s Ethnological Museum. Agency conducts a meticulous survey to find what Boym calls Architectures of the Off-Modern, which already exist in the murky space parallel to the site's past. Agency presents three Acts in the site’s history as possible Off-Moderns:

Act I shows the Palast Der Republik rehabilitated instead of dismantled;
Act II rebuilds directly from the bombed rubble of the stadtschloss; and
Act III visits a state of perpetual construction at the Humboldt Forum.

Agency proposes an epilogue where tactics from Acts I-III become an index to be used on the existing structure. Actors who have worked on the site use these to develop a gradient of conditions within its shoddy Prussian casting. Through this orchestration, history is no longer a survey but a spector of operations which direct the orobourous of the site to savor its next material era as an indeterminate dance of humans, fauna, and material upon its surface.