By Charles W. Haxthausen, Suhr Heidrum
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Additional resources for Berlin: Culture and Metropolis (Cultural Studies)
7 Humans act mechanically8 and the machines appear animate; this configures an image that evaluates those two phenomena most responsible for restructuring the nineteenth-century city. 9 In such debates during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these constitutive elements were sometimes pitted one against the other and sometimes coordinated as Pictures of a City at Work 9 two complementary aspects of progress (as in the Berlin cityscape by Baluschek described earlier). Liberal bourgeois praise engendered by pride in the advance of civilization through modern technology was countered by a reproach conditioned by a view of people massed, caught, and debased in the compulsions of an urban-industrial system;10 or, depending on whether reform or revolution was on the agenda, a socialist might have bet either on those volatile masses gathered in the industrial city, seeing them as means to social and political progress, or on the new technologies, viewing them as a means to better the worker's material condition.
Railways in the North of Berlin, 1895. Tempera on paper, 72 x 91 cm. Berlin Museum. 21 In a manner reminiscent of Whistler,22 the painterly effects of artificial light and atmospheric veils of smoke and steam articulate that setting in a way that lends it color and drama, making it into a spectacle. Beyond the sober ironwork railing that abruptly separates near and far, a gasometer and smokestacks —the conventional icons of industry —loom large, pitch black, but barely discernible; before them freight and commuter trains trace their routes in light while emitting smoke and steam that unify the surface of the painting and signify a city technologically advanced and at work.
Workers' Demonstration, ca. 1930. 3 cm. Museum der bildenden Kunste, Leipzig. vignettes, figures of authority are present to guide the unruly populace, which is denied access to the street, that conduit of and access to the urban system. Posing an alternative view, another caricature by Erich Schilling taken from the 1911 Simplicissimus (figure 6) sets the free play of an equestrian bourgeois in the Tiergarten against the movements of the working masses being funneled through the city by mass transit.
Berlin: Culture and Metropolis (Cultural Studies) by Charles W. Haxthausen, Suhr Heidrum