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Berlin not for sale: The film lens as a tool of urban exploration in 1960s West Berlin

Bowie, Laura 2020. Berlin not for sale: The film lens as a tool of urban exploration in 1960s West Berlin. Journal of Urban History 10.1177/0096144220953419

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West Berlin, a city emblematic of a fractured post-war society, provided the basis for the volatile student protests of 1968 where the youth sought to reclaim the city from its prescribed path. This article identifies the film camera as a probing tool of urban exploration during the 1960s through the films of Irena Vrkljan (1930-). As an outsider in the city, Vrkljan built on the work of many intellectuals in Berlin compelled by their urban experience to explore the connection between city and dweller. In contrast to the image of the 1960s as a period of upheaval, Vrkljan’s films offer a historically conscious, and lyrical approach to the city that discover alternative pasts and potential futures. Armed with a 16mm camera and the writings of Kracauer and Simmel, an alternative West Berlin is uncovered where, in the words of Vrkljan, “it is possible to penetrate the fabric of the city”.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Language other than English: German
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0096-1442
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 July 2020
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 00:04

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