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»kunst im biotop«. The Life and Afterlife of Prenzlauer Berg's Literature (2019-2023)

Lukas Nils Regeler, Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies"
Doctoral Research Project

The unofficial art scene of the late 1970s and 1980s East Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg is commonly described using richly facetted nature-derived imagery. In this respect, it is characterized as a "biotop" (biotope/habitat, L. Lorek), a "Dichtergarten des Grauens" (poets' garden of horrors, J. Faktor) or as the "Schrebergarten der Stasi" (allotment of the Stasi, W. Biermann). This project will investigate these ambiguous naturalizations of community by analyzing them in conjunction with the politically connoted concepts of nature that appear in the poetry of the "Prenzlauer Berg-Connection" (A. Endler). In following the image of the scene as scenerygarden or biotope, the study also aims to outline techniques of opening and delimitation in its profound concept of literature: Efforts to internationalize the shared venture (adaptation of French post-structuralist theories, encounters with prominent poets of the Beat Generation) are tied to the literary group's  self-image of a small, "fruitful" community sheltered in the underground – where it seemed possible for poetry to grow wildly.