Members Lecture with Sandra Jasper
Wastelands as experimental fields: a journey through Berlin
2 December 2022, Lecture 13.15-14.45, Meet the Member 15.00-16.45, at IRI THESys
This talk traces the histories, contemporary forms, and prospective future of wasteland spaces in Berlin. To counter a utilitarian or financial speculative perspective that renders ostensibly empty sites ahistorical and devoid of human and nonhuman life, the talk recovers a range of artistic, activist and scientific experiments that have valorised wastelands as lived and inhabited spaces. Wastelands are vital cultural and ecological zones that have sparked a counter-aesthetic of urban space and concomitant political efforts to protect these sites as public space, often against corporate and municipal interests. With intensifying financial interests in Berlin, the protection of wasteland spaces for public life is becoming increasingly difficult. The talk concludes by questioning the efficacy of current nature conservation policies and other political tools to counter the rapid loss of wasteland spaces in Berlin.
Sandra Jasper is Junior Professor for Geography of Gender in Human-Environment-Systems at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests are in urban nature, soundscapes, and feminist theory. She is co-editor of The Botanical City (jovis, 2020) and co-author and co-producer of the documentary film Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin (2017, UK/Germany, 72 mins). She is currently completing her first monograph on the experimental spaces of West Berlin for which she received a Graham Foundation grant. Her new collaborative research project ‘Re-Scaling Global Health. Human Health and Multispecies Cohabitation on an Urban Planet’ (2022-2024), which is funded by the Berlin University Alliance Grand Challenge Initiative on Global Health, explores human-animal-environment relationships and the multiple links between planetary health, biodiversity, and environmental pollution in cities across the globe.
Brache Berlin Ostkreuz, 2015. Photo Sandra Jasper