Berlin: long-celebrated as a city of artists and outcasts, but also a city of teachers and construction workers. A place of tourists and refugees, and the memories of those exiled and expelled. A city named after marshland; if you dig a hole, you’ll soon hit sand.
The stories of Berlin are the stories Built on Sand. A wooden town, laid waste by the Thirty Years War that became the metropolis by the Spree that spread out and swallowed villages whole. The city of Rosa Luxemburg and Joseph Roth, of student movements and punks on both sides of the Wall. A place still bearing the scars of National Socialism and the divided city that emerged from the wreckage of war.
Built on Sand. centres on the personal geographies of place, and how memory and history live on in the individual and collective imagination. Stories of landscapes and a city both real and imagined; stories of exile and trauma, mythology and folklore; of how the past shapes and distorts our understanding of the present in an age of individualism, gentrification and the rising threat of nativism and far-right populism.
Together, these stories offer a portrait of a city three decades on from the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the legacy of that history in a city that was once divided but remains fractured and fragmented.