A Stone from the Moon

The project A Stone from the Moon was started during a residency period at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz, in autumn 2015. The project reflects on Cold War versus contemporary ideologies and geopolitics, and, more particularly, on a Cold War versus a contemporary power struggle by means of cultural production. Main focus is the role of architecture and urban planning in this context.

A Stone from the Moon departs from the city of Berlin, as frontline city of the Cold War, and in particular from an East-West Berlin urban design competition. In 1957/58, in West Berlin, an international urban design competition for the future capital city of Berlin (East ánd West) was initiated. This competition, Hauptstadt Berlin, resulted in a series of blueprints by international, modernist architects, amongst others Le Corbusier, Hans Scharoun, and Alison and Peter Smithson. In East Berlin, Hauptstadt Berlin was interpreted as a Western act of power and propaganda, and was followed in 1959 by an Eastern counter-competition with counterproposals for the Berlin city centre. Both the East and West urban design competitions can be viewed as Cold War weapons in the so-called battle of ideologies, the ideological and geopolitical battle between East and West.

A Stone from the Moon leads to two new works: Ecumenopolis (working title) and Capital City (working title). Both works investigate blueprints for a future city in the context of a geopolitical and ideological power struggle. The work Ecumenopolis extrapolates the architecture and urban planning competition of East and West Berlin to a worldwide scale, on which East and West tried to increase spheres of influence by means of export urbanism during the Cold War. Within this framework, in America, modernist architecture and urban planning were considered to be a powerful instrument in Cold War politics, to fight the War on Communism and to spread the American values of freedom and democracy. An important figure in this context was the Greek architect and urban designer Constantinos Doxiadis (1913-1975). Besides playing a large role within the American export urbanism, Doxiadis worked on his socalled Ekistic Mission. Doxiadis’s mission, which was based on his scientific theory Ekistics, was eventually to evolve into a blueprint for Ecumenopolis, a world-encompassing city of the future.
The work Capital City connects the Berlin architecture and urbanism battle to the domain of the European and Eurasian Union, both apparently getting involved into a new geopolitical and ideological East West struggle since the Russian annexation of the Crimea. Within this framework Capital City investigates a fictional blueprint for a future capital of the Eurasian Union, as counterpart of Brussels, de facto capital of the European Union.

The work A Stone from the Moon is generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund and CBK Rotterdam