Mobile Research Station
S45 S9 Schönefeld
S8 S46 Eichwalde
S25 Teltow Stadt
S1 S8 Hohen Neuendorf
Findings and Speculations in an Involuntary Park @ Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum
After the presentation for “our flora
” by Annika Lundgren on Monday, Oct 19 2009, Hyo Myoung Kim, impressed by the diversity of plants that grow in the park, set out to find and list the animals that inhabit the area of Skulpturenpark.
Kim predicted that there would be some animals within the parkm which would not exist outside the immediate area of the park as explained by the phenomenon called “involuntary park
As coined by the science journalist, futurologist and author, Bruce Sterling, “an “involuntary park” is best described as an area of the planet which has returned to savagery due to breakdowns in technological instrumentalism. Some good examples are the Korean demilitarized zone, the Green Line in Cyprus, certain especially toxic waste sites, and various military sacrifice zones that are rife with unexploded ammunition. Then there is the premier example of Chernobyl.” (Bruce Sterling)
Before presenting the findings in the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, we will introduce the cases of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the Zone of Alienation briefly.
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. It is 155 miles (248 km) long and approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, and is the most heavily militarized border in the world.
Decades have passed from the initial setup of the zone. This natural isolation along the 155 miles (249 km) length of the DMZ has created an involuntary park which is now recognised as one of the most well-preserved areas of temperate habitat in the world. Several endangered animal and plant species now exist among the heavily fortified fences, landmines and listening posts. These include the extremely rare Red-crowned Crane, and the White-naped crane as well as, potentially, the extremely rare Korean Tiger, Amur leopard and Asiatic black bear. Ecologists have identified some 2,900 plant species, 70 types of mammals and 320 kinds of birds within the narrow buffer zone.
Zone of Alienation – Chernobyl
Zone of Alienation is the 30 km/19 mi exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The Zone was established soon after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, in order to evacuate the local population and to prevent people from entering the heavily contaminated territory. The area adjoining the site of the disaster was originally divided into 4 concentric zones. The fourth, most contaminated, zone had a radius of 30 km/19 mi from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The border of the zone was later adjusted to better parallel the locations of highest contamination.
On June 6 2000, Steve Connor, the Science Editor of The Independent Newspaper, states that “The evacuation of tens of thousands of residents living in the 30km exclusion zone around the Ukrainian reactor has resulted in a flourishing community of plants and animals whose diversity has stunned biologists… Large European mammals, such as moose, wild boar, roe and red deer, beavers, wolves, badgers, otters and lynx have become well established within the zone, while species associated with man – such as rats, house mice, sparrows and pigeons – have declined. Michail Bondarkov, the director of the laboratory, said that 48 endangered species listed in the international Red Book of protected animals and plants are now thriving in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.”
Germany had its own involuntary park. Carla Helfferich, Gephysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks writes that “When Germany was divided, the line was marked by a harsh no-man’s land, a swathe accurately called “the death strip.” From north to south, a guarded zone lay just within the East German border. Six hundred kilometers long and five kilometers wide… Land forbidden to people becomes a haven for wildlife. In densely populated Europe, the death strip became a refuge. East Germany also held other areas closed to the public—the private hunting preserves enjoyed by privileged high officials. ”
According to the Skulpturenpark concept & site history booklet
, “Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum is located on an urban
wasteland, part of which was formerly the ‘Mauerstreifen,’
the military zone within the Berlin Wall. It remains
vacant to this day.”
While the surrounding area has been developing since the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, this park has stayed in its natural state. And as Annika Lundgren had found out, there are a diverse range of plants in the park still now in 2009, despite the fact that the area is not enclosed by fences and wall.
The initial search
Tuesday, Oct 20 2009, Hyo Myoung Kim found a blue refuse bag with a hole torn open on the lower side of the bag. There were bits of reflective material scattered about near the refuse bag. Kim realised these bits were from the material, survival blanket, used in the Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson project
for Mobile Research Station No.1 . He found more bits of the survival blanket in a hole on the ground approximately 6 meters east from the location of the refuse bag.
After the initial finding, Kim had found more holes with parts of the survival blanket and other reflective material such as a CD, side mirror of a car, metal part of an iron etc. The following map indicates the location of these holes, strange markings and a possible water source for the creature which created these holes and markings.
A torn bit of the survival blanket
As it can be seen in the above markings images link, the holes marked with a regular interval.
After finding the above sites, Kim realised the creature would come back to the water source some time, and he left on a audio recorder near the water source on Wednesday evening.
Next morning, Kim came back to collect the recorder and extracted the following to sound files:
Observations and Hypothesis by Otake:
- Length of body : approx.15-20 cm long
- Length and diameter of the horn :length: approx. 1cm
- diameter: approx. 3mm (usage: for courtship/ territorial marking/ defense?)
- Can go into water
- Can climb trees
- Nocturnal animal but doesn’t seem to stay in the “nest” in the day time.
- Omnivorous animal(Favorite food: chest nuts?). Hobnobs packaging and bits of biscuit found in one of the “nest”.
- Four claws on each hand/foot
- Body covered in white hair/fur
- Active during the fall and winter months(?)
- Doesn’t seem to mind other same animals in the area around them.
Classification (Strong opportunities)
Science Name: ?
Habitat: Skulpturenpark Kommandantenstr. & Alte-Jakob-Str. 10969 Berlin
Imaginary pictures from observation and hypothesis
White fur and the affinity of collecting shiny reflective surface.
(Pure light / Putus lux lucis / 純明)