The Edge of Cities

The Edge of Cities


To supplement the workshop The Edge of Berlin, Stephan Takkides will present a short series of feature-length films that are set in the suburbs, edgelands and liminal zones of Berlin. In addition to these, he will show a couple of documentaries dealing with related spaces on the outskirts of Mersin in southern Turkey and the periphery of London.


Monday, August 5, 20:00
Insel der Schwäne (Swan Island)
Director: Herrmann Zschoche
German language (English subtitles or live translation)
85 minutes

A fourteen year old moves with his family from an idyllic countryside town to Marzahn, a developing prefab housing project on Berlin’s eastern outer edge. Despite being made by the state-owned East German film studio (DEFA), the film was controversial in its dystopian portrayal of life in high-density social housing at a time when the apartment blocks were still under construction.


Tuesday, August 6, 20:00
Director: Michael Klier
German language (English subtitles)
84 minutes

Set just after the fall of the wall, the film centres on Elfie and her unemployed mother, living in a complex of shipping containers in the former no-man’s land between East and West Berlin. In her struggle to earn enough money for a deposit on a new home in the west, Elfie gets involved in petty criminality and finds herself alienated from her mother and her new partner.


Wednesday, August 7, 20:00
Flight to Berlin (Fluchtpunkt Berlin)
Director: Christopher Petit
Road Movies Produktion / BFI / Channel Four
English language
90 minutes

A little-known film by Chris Petit set in 1980s West Berlin with an elliptical plot about a woman hiding out in a strange city. The film was chosen for the series for its liminal location shots (much of the movie is set in cars, airports, railway stations, police stations, elevators, hotel rooms) and for the way it portrays Berlin as a place of escape, a sort of edgeland in itself.


Thursday, August 8, 20:00
Am Rand der Städte (On the Outskirts)
Director: Aysun Bademsoy
Harun Farocki Filmproduktion
Turkish/German language (English subtitles)
83 minutes

This documentary by Aysun Bademsoy features interviews with former Turkish immigrants in Germany, who have returned to their homeland and are living in tall apartment blocks on the outskirts of Mersin. Known as “Deutschländer”, they find themselves unable to fit into the local way of life, culturally on the edge of two countries, as well as geographically on the edge of the city.


Friday, August 9, 20:00
The London Perambulator
Director: John Rogers
Vanity Projects
English language
45 minutes

Nick Papadimitriou – and his wanderings around London’s edgelands – are the subject of this 2009 documentary. Papadimitriou describes his practice of walking and archiving as “deep topography”. His extensive and eccentric writing has formed research for books by Will Self and Iain Sinclair.


Stephan Takkides is an English-Cypriot artist, living in Berlin, Germany. His work is concerned with place and landscape and includes different media, such as web-based projects, computer games, photography and video. He studied at Chelsea College in London and the Transart Institute. Recent projects and exhibitions include: Berlin and its Umland, a pop-up solo exhibition at Niemetzstr. 7 (2013); New Horizons: Landscape and the Contemporary Romantic, a group exhibition at Kunstraum T27, Berlin (2012); TAOH Residency at Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway (2011); Reclaiming Doggerland, a web-based project reinstating the sunken lands of the North Sea on to the contemporary map of Europe (ongoing); and Varosha, a text-adventure game based on the abandoned district of Varosha in Famagusta, northern Cyprus (2010).