Teufelsberg, the mountain of the devil that fell in love with David Lynch
The Germans are quite clear about the concept of "recovery." Even the debris of their wars is used to build artificial hills on them. Better not to calculate the amount of demolished homes that lie below the 115-meter-high Teufelsberg -literally "the mountain of the devil" -. The important thing is that, for now, the place is a spontaneous leisure center located on the outskirts of the western part of the city, after most of its many and unlikely reincarnations have lived up to its name. The last and most Martian, a future Transcendental Meditation center led by filmmaker David Lynch.
Teufelsberg is one of the most surprising stops of abandoned Berlin. The city it has an infinity of demolished or half-done spaces, victims of his convulsive recent history. This building and the gigantic ping-pong balls that crown it in the middle of the Grunewald forest have been waiting for years to be active again. Meanwhile, the hill is high enough and far enough away from the center to ensure good views of the city. Depending on the time you visit You can share the experience with graffiti artists, amateur photographers, bike and hiking enthusiasts or simple Sundays, attracted by its tranquility or by that load of mysterious energy that it gives off.
It is impossible to get into the unfathomable mind of David Lynch to understand why it became one of his obsessions. Maybe it's because of its optimal location or its recent history. That has been used by Nazis and American spies only seems to spur the cryptic director of Inland Empire or Mulholland Drive.
During World War II, when there was still no mountain, the Wehrtechnische Fakultät, a Nazi military training center, was erected created by Hitler's bedside architect, Albert Speer. The building was then buried in the rubble with which Teufelsberg was created, a pharaonic work that needed two decades for its construction, carried out mainly by women. After the fall of Nazism, when Berlin was divided into parts, it went to the United States and during the Cold War a spy station was built on top, from where the American secret services centralized their listening. Once the wall fell, the building lost its raison d'être and was completely abandoned since 1992, until Lynch noticed it again.
Among the few graphic samples of the filmmaker's interest is the documentary David wants to fly. Director David Sieveking, for many the German response to Michael Moore, attended a conference given by David Lynch in Berlin. It dealt with the issue of Transcendental Meditation, a technique that, it seems, makes you levitate with pleasure. The documentary filmmaker also accompanied the organization to Teufelsberg, where they intend to build their training center.
In the purest style of the Scientology of Tom Cruise, those responsible for the David Lynch Foundation used the purchase of the place as a great advertising claim, which assured them headlines upon arrival in the country and generated some controversy. When Lynch learned of the critical intention of David Sieveking's film, he tried by all means not to open at the Berlin Film Festival. He turned to his contacts in the industry to stop his projection at the Berlinale and threatened to take legal action if he or the organization appeared in the final footage, although I can't finally avoid either. Meanwhile Teufelsberg serves for the entertainment of the people of Berlin and their visitors.
* The image of Teufelsberg illustrating this article is published in the Vic Bergmann Flickr with Creative Commons License