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Neuköln “Heroes” can be conceived as a journey through time, in which David Bowie would be the main driver.

In the mid seventies, David Bowie, tired of the tumultuous life of Los Angeles, finds Berlin – as a destination where he could be anonymous – especially attractive. The books of Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris changes trains in particular, which describe the decadent Berlin of the thirties, was stimulating for him.

In 1977 the album “Heroes”, made entirely in Berlin, is released. One of the instrumental pieces of the B-side, Neuköln, restores strongly a sense of hardness and sadness that Bowie felt in relation with residents of this popular area, where ” Turks are shackle in bad conditions”.

Thirty five years later, Hannah Darabi and Benoit Grimbert photographed this area . A contemporary counterpoint to Neuköln of “Heroes”, these photographs evoke both the present time and the time that goes by, or on the contrary stands still. It is primarily a “cararact of times” that confronts us in this book, by going through the texts such as The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany Siegfried Kracauer)or Walks through Berlin ( Franz Hessel), or even filmstills from People on Sunday (Robert Siodmak), which echo Berlin 30s.

 

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To tell the truth, we would not recommend for anybody to take a tour of Neukölln.

(Franz Hessel, Walks through Berlin)

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Neuköln “Heroes” presentation at Librarie Mazarine, November 2013, Paris

 

 

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