Update 2: In Development

Over the course of six weeks in Berlin and throughout Germany, the vastly varying architecture, often within blocks of each other, showcased the differing perspectives on growth and destruction during the postwar period. Looking through the imagery that now dominates the modern perception of Berlin and the German perspective as a whole, it‘s difficult to decide how I can represent these buildings accurately, without overimposing analyses.

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Update 1: Post-Photography

During my six weeks in Potsdam and Berlin, I wanted to be able to focus my research into creating a final project examining the effect of imagery on the phenomenon surrounding Stunde Null. I think that using imagery such as that from films and from current/past postwar architecture can tell a powerful story about the conflicting ideas in German sociopolitical culture during the postwar period through to the collapse of the Berlin wall.

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Abstract: Stunde Null & Empty Space

At the end of the Second World War, Germany entered a sociopolitical “Stunde null,” or “hour zero.” The consequences of the Nazi regime, the physical and mental scarring of Germany and its people, and the empty space and rubble caused by the constant bombing all contributed to this phenomenon. The empty space in politics, in culture, and in cities all had to be addressed. What happens when you are faced with such destruction? Do you rebuild in the style of ‘before’? Do you modernize, move on, and become new and different? Do you memorialize the destruction in an attempt to confront the past head on?
Germans had different answers to this question. In my research, I will explore how the empty space was filled – or left blank- in German life. I will conduct my research through W&M’s study abroad program in Potsdam, Germany. Through exploring the architecture of the postwar period, rebuilding projects, German ‘rubble films’ showcasing and preserving destruction, and nostalgic ‘homeland films’ emphasizing an idyllic past, and other motifs present in German art and culture, I will explore the dominant themes and how they were accepted by the public.