Steyerl’s film traces the impact of an influx of transnational companies on the city dwellers of Berlin in post-reunification Germany. The effect of the changing economy and politics on the city and its inhabitants is echoed through their physical relocation to its outer edges. In 1990, squatters proclaim a socialist republic on the death strip. Eight years later, the new headquarters of Mercedes Benz are built in the same location. The film makes use of slow super-impositions to uncover a journey across changing architectural and cultural boundaries. “The Empty Centre” tries to give a voice and a history to those who continue to be marginalised by the simultaneous dismantling and reconstruction of the borders which they are trying to cross.
Links: University of Leeds