Bullet Hole Constellations offers an in-depth analysis of museum architecture and curatorial practice in Berlin’s cultural memory landscape. Anchored by close and contextualized readings of three iconic museums
– the Jewish Museum (1999), the Neues Museum (2009), and the Humboldtforum-Stadtschloss (2019, projected) –
– the monograph traces three distinct phases in Vergangenheitsbewältigung(the critical and dialogic working through of the past) in the memory politics of post-reunification Berlin.Each of these museums and their particular critical “moments” offers a distinct hypothesis about how to work through the material and conceptual traces of the past: the Jewish Museum deconstructs, the Neues Museumembodies, and the Humboldtforum-Stadtschlossreconstructs.
In spite of their differences, I argue that all three of these museums are underpinned by two of the same tensions. The first issues from the unworked-through residual effects that linger from the Cold War years. The second manifests with the expediting struggles to articulate and grasp civic, national, and continental identities in a time of increasing migration, changing geo-political forces, and growing engagement with theories and practices of decolonization within Europe and worldwide.
Bullet Hole Constellationsoscillates between the personal and the collective, the local and the transnational, the minutia of recycled bricks in the Neues Museum and the vastness of national political edifices. Bullet Hole Constellations is organized in five distinct but interconnected sections along a timeline: 1989 (Introduction); 1999 (Part One: The Jewish Museum); 2009 (Part Two: The Neues Museum); 2009 (Part Three: The Humboldtforum-Stadtschloss); 2029 (Conclusion). The conclusion will display the material produced during a series of stakeholder-implicated design activities or charrette-like workshops at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, where we will imagine and visualize a Berlin museum of 2029.