Reflecting upon an innate and growing anxiety about the recent geopolitical shift towards notions of isolationism, nationalism, and anti-globalism, I made a series of walks through Berlin in 2015, and again in 2017. The resultant photographs meditate on the post-war ideological subjugation of Europeans; reflecting on the physical and ideological boundaries between East and West in Germany, whilst considering it's contemporary implications across Europe more broadly.

Following the line of the former Berlin Wall, exploring the borderlands on foot, and later making a snaking series of walks throughout the city, I considered Berlin’s confrontation with its past, the psychogeography of a city over time, and the wider implications of a shift to a more nationalist, less united Europe.

Bertold Brecht once defined the term “historification” as setting the action of a play in the past, so that we may see clearer, our contemporary moment. Berlin is a place palpably charged with the ghost of its past, it’s remnants and reminders to history still painfully visible. During a period of intense change, the final years of Angela Merkel’s leadership, and my own move to mainland Europe, I viewed this as a way of looking back to look forward.

These are photographs of remnants, memorials, and fence structures that are presented outside of chronological time, and speak of Berlin’s history of ideological and physical separation. The project is also part of my continued personal work reflecting on my dual German and British nationality and on the machinations of history and memory.

©2023 All images and content Peter Watkins