On June 30th, the project AnthropoScenes held a joint event with the Mosse Lectures with stories and science about the political, cultural and ecological aspects of the Panke and Spree Rivers in Berlin. Taking place within the Open Humboldt Festival, folks were invited to walk along the rivers and explore Berlin’s rivers from both a hydrological and literary perspective. A group of over 30 people gathered at the North Campus of Humboldt University and were greeted with historical input and hydrological insights from Tobias Krüger (THESys Member) about the Panke river. Winding along houses and disappearing under urban constructions, the group traced the route of the river and rediscovered the Panke flowing into the Spree river at the Berliner Ensemble.
This was a perfect segue into the reading by Claudia Burckardt (actress from the Theatre of the Anthropocene) along the shady banks of the Spree. Claudia Burckhardt read sections from the classic Berliner song “Ganz draußen an der Panke” by Fredy Sieg, as well as passages from Franz Hessel’s chapter “Dampfermusik (Steamboat Music)” from “Spazieren in Berlin (Strolling in Berlin)” (1929). Hessel writes about the art of strolling through the city—focusing this chapter on a steamboat ride along the Spree river. Impressions of people and landscapes pass by Hessel—just as laughter and music emanated from the passing boats during the tour. Claudia finished with a newer poem by Durs Grünbein titled “Spreekanal” (2018).
Following the river along the Museum Insel, the group was introduced to the German author Norbert Scheuer by Lothar Müller, a literary critic and journalist at the Süddeutsche. Norbert Scheuer has often made rivers and flooding a subject of his work, recently writing first hand about the catastrophic flooding which took place in Western Germany in 2021. Participants gathered around the author to hear him read several passages from his book.
The final stop was at the Flussbad Garten where the Flussbad Association provided input about the plans, dreams and schemes of the group to transform one segment of the river Spree into a public swimming area. Folks were then invited to attend the final Mosse Lecture by Norbert Scheuer titled “Small Rivers, Big Floods. Scenes of the floods in the Eifel” in the Senate Hall of Humboldt University.