In The Sad-Eyed Lady Harf Zimmermann documents the Berliner Luft- und Badeparadies (“Blub” for short), a once loved bathing and leisure center in the Britz district of Berlin that is today a graffiti-stained ruin. The center opened in 1985 at an impressive cost of 44 million marks and welcomed roughly seven million visitors before its closure in 2005 after a series of hygiene complaints. Zimmerman’s focus is the center’s slow death, the eerie remnants of pleasure that once was. In his words: “The city has been left behind and the silence is near complete. All the bridges are broken, the windows nailed over or opaque with dirt-everything here appears bewitched. This could be the realm of the Snow Queen, where the beautiful princess is imprisoned, trapped by an evil spell. Or it could be the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk beams himself onto a celestial body with Bones and Spock after his sensors register signs of life, only to realize that the aliens have left their planet or been killed before they could escape. And now no one can know how they looked, those beings, and what purpose the strange objects they left behind may have served.”
There are many ways of perceiving the world, but I am obsessed by those aspects that go unnoticed by most.