1. Documents, Constellations, Prospects
        2. Texts

        FORMER WEST Berlin Public Editorial Meeting

        Simon Sheikh

        24 March 2013

      1. Taking the editorial meeting as its model, this roundtable discussion on the methods and topics of the final FORMER WEST publication inaugurates a two-year period of public, collective deliberations situating the possibilities of a formerizing of the West in specific international contexts. This first editorial meeting’s point of departure is Berlin, a locus for a “former West” par excellence. The previously divided city is the primary symbolic site of 1989 and can today be seen as tripartitioned into a West Berlin, a “former East” Berlin, and an East Berlin, but never in terms of a former West Berlin—which could perhaps be the premise for a politics that advocates a former West. Moreover, the meeting takes place at HKW, opened in West Berlin in 1989 as one of the last cultural projects of what is former West Germany. Looking at the three delineations of documents, constellations, and prospects that form the basis of this iteration of the project in Berlin, this meeting opens up for discussion how each of these notions might be made productive, destructive, or instructive for a publication about the possible becoming former of the West after 1989. If the events of 1989 lead, however gradually, however abruptly, to the concept of a former East, it is also crucial for any politico-aesthetic project today to try and imagine or construct a notion of a “former West,” asking: What has become of the West after the supposed end to the East-West division of the world? Without this bifurcation, how must we think of the division of geopolitical (dis)ordering of the North and the South, or, in other words, how must we collude the post-communist condition with the advent of the post-colony? Which documents must we look at, and how can they be re-presented and re-activated through artworks, discourse, and publications? Can these documents form the constitutive parts of a constellation of ideas and actions, whether we think of constellation in terms of sociological-analytical methodology, or, following philosopher Walter Benjamin’s famous use of the term, as counterpoint to the notion of linear history? Finally, what prospects can we find from documents and what constellations enfold them, and can, in turn, unfold for the idea of becoming former—or, rather, the will to formerize (as opposed to formalize) “the West” as concept and political unit?