THE GENESIS OF Berlin as we know it today happened just over a century ago, when, on October 1, 1920, the modern city of Greater Berlin (“Groß-Berlin”) was formed from eight adjacent cities and dozens of outlying districts. The formation of this new super-city doubled Berlin’s population from 1.9 million to what was, at the time, a staggering 3.9 million people, making it the world’s fifth-largest city after Tokyo.
FOR THE PAST decade, journalist Ciarán Fahey has been documenting Berlin’s abandoned places: factories, train stations, hospitals, power stations, shuttered embassies, decaying villas, and everything in between. On his website Abandoned Berlin he documents these disappearing places in photos and words, focusing on the stories hidden behind crumbling walls and boarded-up windows. The human side of these modern ruins lies at the heart of his project: as the site’s welcome message says, “every crumbling building, creaking floorboard, fluttering curtain and flaking piece of paint has a tale begging to be told.”
GROWING UP, I had a closer-than-usual relationship with Atari’s games: with a close family member who worked at the then-young Silicon Valley company, I had access to dozens of games, sometimes even in pre-release builds. With most of the games I played existing only on floppy disks, this mind-bending cover art (not to mention any sort of packaging, background info, or instruction manual) was totally absent from the experience. This meant contending not only with the games’ built-in learning curves, but also figuring out the frequently bizarre lore and background stories of the games only through their totemic, rudimentary pixel art.