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[Foraged rubble, second-hand textiles and hardware, slideshow presentation]

Trümmermaschinen responds to women’s material-salvaging practices in building and clothing Post World War II in Berlin. The mythologized Trümmerfrauen were women who cleared rubble and salvaged reusable building materials from the wreckage. Their labour transformed rubble into pleasant park hills throughout the city (Trümmerbergs).

More overlooked were the Heimarbeiterinnen (home-based garment workers), who created clothing out of severely limited materials: curtains, rags, and uniforms. These strategies even became fashionable, as high-end designers began presenting patchwork collections as early as 1945. This feels especially prescient now, as fashion has returned again to upcycling strategies not in the face of shortages, but of hyper-consumption and waste.

Walking around Berlin with a shopping trolley, Borowska foraged for historic rubble from the surfaces of Trümmerbergs and fresh rubble resulting from redevelopment and gentrification. Combining this debris with thrifted fabrics and hardware, she considers how urban renewal and fashion can be modes of hope but also forgetting.

Trümmermaschinen was presented as part of GlogauAIR Open Studios in Berlin, Germany in June 16 to 26, 2023.

Special thanks to: Joel Young, Hannah Van der Est, Benedict Anderson, Suzy Royal, Sergei Kurek, Mar Ripoll, Carlos Sebastià.

Indoor photos by Beatrize Lezzi.


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