The City as Theater of Memory: Palimpsest in Shimon Attie’s Berlin Project

by Amy Allison DesRosiers

Institution: Savannah College of Art and Design
Department: Art History
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Thesis (M.A.)  – Art History; Savannah College of Art and Design  – Department of Art History
Record ID: 2057873
Full text PDF: http://ecollections.scad.edu/iii/cpro/DigitalItemViewPage.external?sp=1002749


This thesis explores the notion of the city as a text in constant revision both in terms of its physical and psychological constructions. I elaborate this theory by looking at Berlin in the twentieth century through Shimon Attie’s project The Writing on the Wall: Projections in Berlin’s Jewish Quarter (1991–1993). Attie’s project occurred in Berlin’s central district, Mitte only a few years after the wall came down in 1989. The early nineties provided a unique setting for a growing art scene with a fresh abundance of foreign influence. Divisions and reunifications punctuate Berlin’s twentieth-century history, the time of Attie’s installation marking another period of cultural re-integration. Keywords: Berlin, Mitte, Scheunenviertel, German Democratic Republic, architecture, construction, identity, World War II, archive, the void, temporality, the city, Jewish culture