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By Stephen Barber

Extreme Europe explores the city extremes of Europe of their cultural, actual, geographical and legendary dimensions, contemplating the background and visible tradition of Europe within the decade after the autumn of the Berlin Wall. Barber's goal is to ascertain Europe's towns and their surrounding parts as websites of a clash among the enchanting, all-engulfing strength of visible media and the hardly surviving lines of tenacious old tradition; his premise is that the "breakdown zones" at Europe's city edges are the websites the place its oppositional and most important pictures and languages are being created today.

Barber units out to discover and outline Europe's political and conceptual edges, first creating a circuit eastwards via Albania to Turkey, then south- and westwards alongside the Mediterranean coast, with stops in Crete and Marseille. The book's different sections flow, first, via numerous a long time of historical past as they are often learn in either the surviving and the remodeled materials of Berlin, and, eventually, throughout the frayed, disaffected multicultural landscapes of Paris's outer suburbs.

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All of the night boulevards of western European cities carry the over-exposed faces of young eastern Europeans whose lives have been cancelled out. The journey around Europe substantiates the myth that the very origin of Europe itself was stamped with an indelible sexual violation. But, at other moments, it appears that sex has almost been wiped off the corporeal map of Europe, transposed instead into the domain of media imageries and endless pornography websites. In the future, it may shrink away forever, detumescent and contaminated; from its first to its last digitalized exhalation and spasm, sex in Europe is a headlong rush into evaporation.

Life itself is muffled and silenced there, never reaching the light. In Charlottenburg, the vast nineteenth-century houses were constructed so that affluent families could inhabit twenty or thirty rooms on one storey, around a single courtyard of pristine air. The corridors within filter out like a web of streets, and the polished wooden dining tables also stretch endlessly, far beneath the silver chandeliers. The over-solid houses of Charlottenburg form a fragile terrain of ghosts. Their upper storeys were inhabited in the 1920s by artists and photographers, many subsequently exiled or exterminated, their studios requisitioned for Nazi families.

From the heights of Tangiers, Africa and Europe seem locked in confrontation, staring nose-to-nose at one another. For a time in the early 1950s, at the bitter end of Morocco’s colonization, the human debris of Europe sprawled so expansively across Tangiers that the city almost overlapped with Europe, taking the form of a bizarre outcrop of its aberrations. At that time, half of the city’s population was made up of exiles attracted by its proliferating sexual cultures, together with masses of eastern European refugees and corrupt entrepreneurs.

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