Doreen McCarthy / New York
The ‘Pilotprojekt’ itself is an interesting conceptual proposal of placing oneself in an alternate environment to absorb and respond in a short timespan. The week at Gropiusstadt presented a unique opportunity to be alone and anonymous to contemplate, read, write and reflect undisturbed. Although the apartment is in Berlin, the environs were more sub-urban than urban. There was no urban ‘café society’ or bar and restaurant scene. Although I had my laptop with me I had no wifi which was a kind of withdrawal. There was limited use of internet at the library which gave access to local residents of all ages who needed it. Otherwise I had to go seven U-bahn stops to access wifi at a café. As it was just one week my time was spent in Gropiusstadt except for my foray to the wifi café at Karl Marx Allee.
As a runner I had a routine of jogging different routes in the area without a map to get a little lost and a sense of place and location, photographing points of interest. The shopping mall is clearly a serious meeting point for the locals especially the teen scene. My command of the German language is limited but I nevertheless found the local populace to be friendly in spite of my being a stranger. This was another aspect that felt non-urban especially as a New Yorker.
Autumn had presented wet, often grey weather. Although the colors of the leaves offered a beautiful view from the apartment, the damp air made it conducive to spending many hours indoors reading in the apartment which became a kind of diorama. Thus I noticed and photographed seemingly mundane images from inside the space that kept resonating visually for me.