Rab Lewin's book, Off Limits, provides a rare glimpse of a world unknown to most: the squatter and techno-traveller communities living in Berlin in the immediate years following the fall of the Wall. The city was left half derelict and in a liminal period prior to reunification; empty buildings consigned to demolition were there for the taking. Rab records scenes of the bizarre and the chaotic mixed with poignant moments between friends; quiet pauses on the periphery and candid moments of honest self-expression. The written introduction complements and provides engrossing context for the images. The uncensored anecdotes of outlandish, spontaneous, madcap adventures are familiar scenes to those who know these communities and fascinating to those learning about their cultures. We can also start to understand the interwoven paths of multiple alternative subcultures repurposing these empty spaces, for homes, exhibition spaces, political activist centres – and the techno free festivals that were a melting pot for all. It is clear that Lewin was no outsider looking in; rather he was in the thick of the revelry: fire, ice, music and mayhem, capturing his community, their friendships, art, music, Djs, spaces and architecture.
Molly Macindoe, author of Out of Control