Temporary Cities: Gate

Object on castors, 2017

5 images Walter Benjamin asserts the importance of material presence to understand the city. In The Arcades Project, he includes direct quotations from Siegfried Giedion’s early work Construction in France to describe a modern iron and steel architecture, railroad stations, exhibition halls, winter gardens and department stores. However, by focusing on all kinds of decorative features in and around buildings, Benjamin goes beyond Sigfried Giedion’s purist (placeless and timeless) modernism. He recognizes in the ephemeral elements “material of vital importance for us … In any case, material of vital importance politically; this is demonstrated by the attachment of the Surrealists to these things, as much as by their exploitation in contemporary fashion.“
The spatial elements that emerge within ephemeral urbanism: stalls, draperies, and decorations, as well as containers, tents, and fences, collapse ‘cities of dream,’ to use Benjamin’s notion, with cities of painful actuality exhibiting the political, social, economic, and environmental disparity of our world. 

Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2017