Too Late for History to End

By Karl Palmås, Kalle Sanner

2021 • 16min • Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden • English

Too late for history to end forms a part of sociologist Karl Palmås and photographer Kalle Sanner’s ongoing collaborative interrogation of how architecture and the built environment relate to socio-political imaginaries, as mediated through photography. Based on historical research and on-site documentation from Berlin and London, this essay film has a specific aim – to locate contemporary politics in space and time, to ask “where are we now?” through the themes of political temporalities, globalization, and the ruin.The film includes three parts, each presenting situated experiences of space and time. First, the narrator makes her way through an empty Tempelhof airport, assuming the persona of a 1930s air traveller, meditating on the contradictory temporalities of fascism, as well as on Speer’s “theory of ruin value”. The narrative then moves to the remains of London’s 1850s Crystal Palace, exploring how this glass-house inspired the Europeans’ understanding of their place in space and time: Globalised life, in a bubble of wealth and comfort, open for trade yet secured from the world’s misery, after the end of history. In the third part, the film revisits Tempelhof in the present time of ecological crisis. Watching urban dwellers making new uses of the abandoned airport, the narrator proposes that by accepting our world as a ruin, we may bypass the false choice between globalized modernism and reactionary modernism. The narrator is fictional, but loosely based on an actual glass-house design concept for refugee welcoming in Tempelhof, encountered by Palmås in a previous research project. Though not specifically cited in the film, the narrative draws on theoretical themes, such as the politics of temporalities (Osborne), globalization (Sloterdijk, Latour), as well as Anna Tsing’s work on how to live in ruins. In referencing Tsing, the film endeavours to reclaim the concept of the ruin from Speer, and counter prevalent cliché renderings of ruins.


Karl Palmås •

Kalle Sanner •

Cite this film:

Palmås, Karl, and Kalle Sanner. 2021. ‘Too Late for History to End’ (16 minutes, HD). In Annals of Crosscuts: Films of Environmental Humanities 1 (1)CERN: Zenodo. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.4303918.