In 2020, I witnessed Berlin's dramatic shift from a frantic metropolis to eerie lifelessness, a shock to those who were drawn to and thrived on its energy. Berlin's story is inseparable from its bunkers and underground fortifications, spaces that are often liminal or abandoned.
As I embarked on my Defense Project during the lockdown, I sought to capture the essence of Berlin's transformation by exploring the spaces that emerge above ground pointing to this extensive subterranean world. These spaces, with their historical significance, symbolize Berlin's dual identity—a sanctuary for civilians and a facade for authoritarianism, which, under the guise of salvation and nationalism during the second World War, brought on unprecedented destruction.
Architecture, with its ability to convey emotions through its contours and materiality, becomes a visual narrative reflecting both history and intent. The concrete-reinforced bunker's structures weren't designed for long-term habitation but served as conduits, storage, protection and symbols of deterrence. The concrete hues mirror the restraint found in the paired black and white bureaucratic portraits, as if both are adhering to a set of rules and regulations. The viewer's gaze navigates lines and rudimentary details, encapsulating a visual language of both limitation and cautious disclosure.
In this series I aimed to humanize these spaces, revealing the challenges of codifying a language that is both secure and insecure. Gravitating to visually straightforward spaces, unfamiliarity and the absence of faces led me to include pictures of people, a seemingly contradictory shift from the subjective to the absolute. Wanting to feel rooted, I sought to evoke a sense of belonging.