Prison Island Moabit
text, photography, video, Kunstpalais Erlangen, 2010
"In 2020 the crime rate in the European Union rises 400 percent. The Berlin district of Moabit becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire Union. A 50 foot containment wall is erected along the Spree shoreline, the Berlin-Spandau Canal, Westharbor Canal and down along the Charlottenburg Junction Canal. It completely surrounds the island of Moabit. All bridges and waterways are mined. Troops of Europol, like an Army, are encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: Once you go in, you don’t come out.
(Dellbrügge & de Moll, Heimkino 2, 15 min, 2009)"
Territorial seclusion generates sociotopes with distinct rules, hierarchies and survival strategies. While Foucault saw prisons as heterotopias, “other spaces”, inverting and contesting the existing order, the special case of the prison island exponentiates the situation. We transfer the narrative of the movie 'Escape from New York' (John Carpenter, 1981) to Berlin. In its center, just a stone's throw away from the main station and the government district lies the prison Moabit. Despite its impoverishment the borough is rated as an investment opportunity.
photo: Erich Malter