Film production for Potsdamer Straße in Berlin. Not realised. Winner of the 2005 competition “Potsdamer Straße—Künstlerische Installation(en) zur Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte” (Potsdam Street—Artistic Installation(s) relating to the history of art and culture).
For the shooting of the film, Potsdamer Straße is blocked off for an entire day between Schöneberger Ufer and the crossing at Grunewaldstraße so that a female jockey on a racehorse can ride along it at walking pace. This 2 km ride is accompanied all the way by a camera following the rider. The uncut video is shown as a permanent loop on a northfacing LED monitor mounted above the pavement of Potsdamer Straße. The line of vision of the viewer corresponds with the direction the horse is moving in. The horse and female rider, seen from behind, pull the viewer into the picture as a repoussoir.
The video thematises the urban space in Potsdamer Straße in several ways: on the one hand it is a modern main road, on the other it was a route people went along with horse and carriage. The film confronts us with the history of Potsdamer Straße: the trading route of the Middle Ages, the first paved street in Prussia, a grand avenue during the Weimar Republic, the setting for Nazi propaganda, then ultimately separated by the Berlin Wall. Goldberg’s video lends a new meaning to the past of this place steeped in history. The varied history of the street and its former glamour, which still remains etched into the public consciousness and accounts for the mythical status of the street, distinguish it from other busy and culturally diverse shopping streets in Berlin.
Deprived of traffic and people, Potsdamer Straße would seem unreal. By being blocked off, it becomes a stage “awaiting” an event leading to a reversal of its usual restlessness. The elegant racehorse and its rider are consciously used as an antithesis to the battle horse of the traditional equestrian statue demonstrating power. Furthermore, the horse, trained for speed and to win races, moves at an unusually slow pace. This reversal, walking instead of galloping, leads to a slowing down and a new perception of the street. The pictures one would expect from life in the big, glitzy city are replaced by a surreal situation in which the laws of time and space no longer seem to apply: a racehorse with its rider in the German capital, on Potsdamer Straße, no people, no cars and no other protagonists.
Organisation, co-operation and preparation for the project are part and parcel of this artistic project. The experience, which includes the street’s residents, consists of extensive joint preparation work as well as seeing the street just once completely empty and tidy after the shoot. Since the street is blocked off for the whole day on the day of the shoot, residents and visitors alike can savour this unique experience.
The entire street comes to a standstill, takes a deep breath, then carries on again at the usual pace.