Parks & Passages


In July 2012, PARKS & PASSAGES sent a group of DC-based research fellows–interactive artist Edgar Endress, artist James Huckenpahler, architect Pam Jordan, and scholar Paul Farber–to Berlin to source ideas for re-purposing and re-activating this underground space. Their creative investigations draw from Berlin’s exceptional approach to sustainably re-purposing architecture and infrastructure. This project includes interdisciplinary works from the four research residents, which present possibilities for the tunnels’ activation, while exploring the subliminal architectures, mythical stories, urban destinies, and social futures of these lost spaces and their connected capitals.

The PARKS & PASSAGES exhibit at the Goethe-Institut (September-November 2012) explores the possibilities for redeveloping Dupont Underground, a 75,000 ft.2 abandoned streetcar tunnel directly beneath Dupont Circle. Once a streetcar station and tunnel originally built to alleviate Connecticut Ave. traffic through an underground passage, the tunnel closed in 1961 with the cancellation of the streetcar system.  This massive subterranean geography is once again under consideration for re-development–this time with a arts and culture mandate and an architectural dream.



(unless noted, all events occur at Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 Seventh Street, NW Washington, DC 20001)


Natural Adaptation, Urban Re-Use: Berlin and Washington DC | Thursday Sept 13 , 6pm Panel + 8pm Opening

Panel Discussion with Martin Pallgen (project developer for interim use of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport), Steve Coleman (director, Washington Parks and People), Lionel Lynch (principal HR&A Advisors) , and Patricia Zingsheim (Associate Director of Revitalization and Design Division, DC Office of Planning,) moderated by Provisions Fellow Paul Farber. The panel deals with transformations from “spaces to places,” in Berlin and DC, exploring issues of ownership, adaptive re-use and community engagement. Leaders in urban planning, development and greening DC discuss how reinvention and re-use relates to the broader life of city space. Martin Pallgan offers lessons, insights and possibilities gleaned from Tempelhof Airport, a once outmoded piece of infrastructure now the largest public park within Berlin city limits. Since 2010, Tempelhof has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and reinvigorated  surrounding neighborhoods, broadening the green life of city through adaptive re-use.


Creative Research: Methods and Modes | Friday Sept 14, 1-2pm   

Parks & Passages research fellows Pam Jordan (architect), Edgar Endress (interactive artist), James Huckenpahler (visual artist), and Paul Farber (scholar), explore research methods with Provisions Research Director and exhibit curator Stephanie Sherman. The researchers will unpack their approaches to observing and synthesizing the sites, sounds, histories and possibilities of unused or re-used spaces in Berlin and DC. Drawing on 2 weeks of intensive research in Berlin, the team returned to DC to consider the Dupont Underground as a site for adaptation and transformation.


Metamonument  | Tuesday, Sept 18, 6:30-8pm   

Provisions Fellow James Huckenpahler reads from his major new work Metamonument, an artist’s dream-book exploring hidden histories and poetics of DC, Dupont, and Berlin. In ten short stories, Huckenpahler synthesizes the strange history, bizarre functions and dysfunctions and potential futures of the defunct trolley car tunnels under Dupont Circle.  Fellow researcher Paul Farber writes in his forward to Metamonument, Huckenpahler “mines the temporal and spatial layers of the city for dialogical, imagistic and occasionally tall-taleings of the urban landscape.” These vivid stories and artworks “Berlinize” the Dupont Underground in DC, drawing on both Huckenpahler’s work in Berlin and an encyclopedic knowledge of the district. This DC native offers fantastical futurisms for his hometown that are not to be missed.


Urban Interventions | Thursday, Sept 20, 6:30-8pm  

Discussion of methods for creative urban intervention to build across communities, with Frauke Hehle (Berlin community organizer,WorkStation), Mark Cooley (professor of Agri-Art at George Mason University), and Edgar Endress (founder Floating Lab Collective and new media professor at George Mason University)


DJ ipek ipekçioglu: Rediscovering Berlin |Tuesday Sept 25, 9pm / U Street Music Hall  ($5)    

DJ ipek ipekçioglu’s electronic music is a journey that leads immediately into a country of radical social change, far beyond the clichés and known pop exports.


Wings of Desire | Saturday Oct 27 6-8pm

Ranked among the world’s top films, this classic by renowned German director Wim Wenders earned him a Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival and has spawned theater remakes and an American adaptation, City of Angels. Starring Bruno Ganz, the film follows two angels as they walk the streets of Berlin. Although the angels lend their help to many depressed souls, they find themselves longing to become human in order to experience the joys of life. (German/English/French with English subtitles)


Happy Birthday, Berlin! Saturday Oct  27 8pm- 12am ($20) 

Celebrating the 775th anniversary of exciting and modern Berlin with electronic beats by DJs Chris Nitti and Solomon Sanchez.


Dupont Underground Tunnel Tours  | Weekly on Wednesdays, Lunchtime

Schedule tours directly with to experience the abandoned tunnels for yourself.



Research Residency in Berlin and Washington DC: June 20, 2012–July 20, 2012

This summer, Provisions Library sent an interdisciplinary team of Washington-based artists and researchers to Berlin to study urban transformation in repurposed places such as Spreepark (an abandoned amusement park built by the GDR), Tempelhof Airport (famous for the Candy Bombers supplying Berlin during the Cold War) and KW (a squat turned contemporary exhibition hall). They met Berlin’s artists and activists. gaining insight into what makes Berlin one of the most fascinating creative cities in the world. They returned to Washington with a room full of ideas and contexts to contribute to the redevelopment vision of Dupont Underground, an abandoned streetcar tunnel beneath DC’s Dupont Circle.

Berlin is rife with abandoned structures which have been continually re-formed by social activation and creative revitalization. The Washington team compared
approaches of how historic grounds are turned into new public spaces such as memorials, playgrounds, gardens for organic growth, parks, and places for social experiments and art exhibitions.

Parks & Passages brings a creative dialogue between Washington and Berlin and serves as a point of reference for workshops engaging questions of how Dupont Underground could be a creative catalyst for DC.





Paul Farber is a PhD candidate in the Program of American Culture at the University of Michigan and has served as the Doctoral Fellow in the History of African Americans and Germans/Germany at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. His dissertation covers representations of the Berlin Wall across American literature and popular culture from 1961–present. He is working with Getty Publications on a book of historic photographs by Magnum photographer Leonard Freed of the 1963 March on Washington to commemorate the March’s upcoming 50th anniversary. He also has recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Criticism on HBO’s series, The Wire. His work on culture has previously appeared in Vibe and on NPR.

Edgar Endress is a George Mason University professor teaching new media and public art. Born in Chile, he has exhibited extensively throughout the Americas, most recently in Medellin, Colombia. In 2007, he initiated the Floating Lab Collective, a team of interdisciplinary artists who develop and present innovative art projects in collaboration with urban communities. His work focuses on syncretism in the Andes, displacement in the Caribbean, and mobile art making practices. He received his MFA in Video Art from Syracuse University. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Creative Capital.

Pam Jordan is a preservation and sustainable design architect based in Washington, DC. Her professional focus is the interaction between natural environments and human built structures, as well as the reinterpretation of heritage sites over time. Her recent restoration projects include the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, and a state courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama. Pam has also served as assistant director of architectural studies at Mt. Lykaion, an archaeological excavation of an ancient altar site in Greece.  Her independent research and documentation projects have ranged from traditional urban housing in Shanghai to neglected state park sites outside of Philadelphia. She received dual Master’s degrees in Architecture and Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and has missed the active trolleys ever since.

James Huckenpahler is represented in Washington DC by Hemphill Fine Arts and currently serves on the advisory board of Transformer, non-profit, artist-centered organization that connects and promotes emerging artists locally, nationally and internationally. His current work-in-progress, “Skull Rock,” is an illustrated history of the capital city. More here


Don Russell, Executive Director, Provisions Library
Stephanie Sherman, Director of Research Projects, Provisions Library
Lucy Burnett, Assistant to the Director, Provisions Library


Wilfried Eckstein, Executive Director, Goethe-Institut
Steve Coleman, President, Washington Parks and People
Lionel Lynch, Principal and Head of DC office, HRA Associates
Shiloh Krupar, Professor, Georgetown University
Stanley Hallett, Architect and Former Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America



Lauren Schick, Madeline Vericker, Stephanie Ma, Andrew Hetrick



This project is possible thanks to Goethe-Institut WashingtonGerman Historical InstituteArts Coalition for the Dupont Underground, Kulturpark, Be Berlin, George Mason University School of Art, Andy Warhol Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Open Society Foundation. and Comet Ping Pong.