An Automated Space

    The following was not written for any specific occasion, event or purpose. It is just a mental stroll through Berlin’s Mitte district that gets lost and ends up in a small automated room, a good place to elaborate on a few ideas about how urban spaces work.
    These ideas focus on the contrast between intent and impact, on automata and their users, and on the possibility of creating spaces for open, spontaneous activity, a possibility that emerges precisely from the limitations and restrictions of preprogrammed parameters.

    1. Automatism [from Greek: automaton >self-acting<], moving or functioning without conscious control. Somewhere in Berlin-Mitte, between the fashionable bars and clothes shops and Alexanderplatz, on the corner of a still unrenovated house, in beautiful curved lettering, almost washed away by time after at least 20 years, stand the words “Eis- und Imbisseck” (Ice Creams and Snacks). Beneath this inscription, a large mirrored window in which passersby glimpse themselves briefly. And beneath the window, a bench. Not particularly striking, a place that goes unnoticed by many of those hurrying past at this central location. Unnoticed in spite of the conspicuous glass and metal entrance that reflects the sunlight, contrasting with the historicism of the facade.