30 years ago, east and west Berlin came together and the city is turning up its ante to celebrate this remarkable milestone. To commemorate this historic feat, Berlin is hosting a series of events and exhibitions, and the following 8 are my personal recommendations.
1. Am Telefon sagt man nix (You say nothing on the phone.)
- The former Stasi headquarters
The installation presents original telephone calls that were bugged by the Stasi. The authentic and rare sound recordings impressively document what surveillance means: Surveillance is not merely the objective collecting of data, but always also a subjective analysis, motivated by the interests of those listening in.
2. 30 Years of Berlin Mitte
- Thursday, 7. November, 03:30 pm – 04:30 pm
Sven Hagolani’s multimedia presentation offers a personal perspective rich in anecdote on the history of Berlin since the fall of the Wall. His photographs and videos bear moving witness to life in the city since 1990. Hagolani photographed the social scenes of Berlin and documented the transformation of key locations such as Potsdamer Platz, the Government Quarter, Alexanderplatz and the Central Railway Station. His photographs, accompanied by Marc Dannenbaum’s texts, were also recently published in a book entitled “30 Years of Berlin Mitte”.
3. Guided tours at the East side Gallery
- East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 kilometre long painted stretch of the former Berlin Wall along Mühlenstraße in former East Berlin. It is the largest open-air gallery in the world with over one hundred original mural paintings. Galvanised by the extraordinary events which were changing the world, artists from all around the globe rushed to Berlin after the fall of the Wall, leaving a visual testimony of the joy and spirit of liberation which erupted at the time.
In 60 to 90 minutes, festival visitors learn the history and art of the East Side Gallery. All tours start at the info point at the pavilion near the East Side Gallery. No registration necessary.
4. Was hier jetzt ist, was hier einst war (What is here now, what was here once)
- East Side Gallery
The artist Rainer W. Gottemeier has installed an axis of light in the Spree near the Oberbaumbrücke, consisting of floating, luminescent rod and surface marker buoys. Along ca. 150 metres, the 50 neo rod buoys and 140 blinking rescue lamps symbolize a reflection on the borderline, line of sight, and the history of this place between the West Berlin district of Kreuzberg and the East Berlin district of Friedrichshain. The once unsurmountable border is thus contrasted with a transparent veil of light.
The floating artwork is installed on the Spree and can be viewed from the banks of the East Side Gallery.
5. Speaking Facades
- 3D video projections at historical locations
Gethsemane Church, Alexanderplatz, Kurfürstendamm, the former Stasi headquarters, Schlossplatz and the East Side
Immerse yourself in the history of the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall each night throughout the festival week with these large-format 3D video projections featuring historical still and video images alongside cutting-edge lighting and sound effects. Experience history where it happened. On Alexanderplatz, for example, visitors can explore the events of 4 November 1989: On this day hundreds of thousands of people gathered on Alexanderplatz to express their wishes, hopes and demands in a bold act of defiance against the East German government. But the projections also address values and themes that are as relevant now as they were then: freedom, protest, courage. The video projections interact with the architecture of the historical buildings at each site, engaging with the unique character of each ensemble to create a media experience for all the senses. Their narratives explore different aspects of this tumultuous period at each location and complement the open-air exhibitions at each location. At the heart of each story: the jubilant scenes of celebration on the day on which the Berlin Wall was opened. All projections run on a 15-minute loop throughout the evening. You can experience the 3D video projections throughout the festival week after dark.
6. Visions in Motion
- Brandenburg Gate
The Peaceful Revolution was driven by the wishes, hopes, demands, and aspirations of countless people. Raising their voices in protest, they used banners and ribbons to express their desire for a better and more democratic future. “Visions in Motion” is an art installation comprising 30,000 ribbons that bear aloft the wishes, hopes, and memories of 30,000 people today. This hand-crafted work will float in the skies above Berlin, spanning over one hundred metres between the Brandenburg Gate and Straße des 17. Juni. “Visions in Motion” is an art installation created by US-American artist Patrick Shearn and his studio Poetic Kinetics, curated by Kulturprojekte Berlin.
7. Stage Show at the Brandenburg Gate
- Saturday, 9. November, 05:30 pm – 10:00 pm
- Brandenburg Gate
The music festival in front of Berlin’s most important landmark brings national and international artists to the stage. The Staatskapelle conducted by Daniel Barenboim and WestBam will be involved in the stage show, along with a few other bands and musicians (e.g Anna Loos, Banda Internationale, Zugezogen Maskulin, Die Zöllner, Dirk Michaelis and Trettmann). Further highlights are a real-time technology dance performance, the play “Voices of Freedom” and a laser harp performance. But one thing is certain: all participants and their songs or stories will be closely connected to the events of 1989/90.
8. Upheaval, Euphoria and Chaos: Berlin after the Wall
- Sunday, 10. November, 01:30 pm – 03:00 pm
- Brandenburg Gate, Programme pavilion
The Fall of the Berlin Wall sealed the fate of the East German dictatorship, and suddenly new horizons appeared. The iconic images of that day show joyous crowds of people pouring into the streets of West Berlin and the uncertain expressions of border guards at the Brandenburg Gate. In a discussion with contemporary witnesses from East and West about the events and mood of those days, we ask how West Berlin police coped with the commotion in the city, what went through the minds of the suddenly redundant border guards, and why everyone wanted to drive down Kurfürstendamm.
Special ticket from VBB and S-Bahn
For the period between 4 and 10 November, you can travel alone or in pairs in tariff area AB with a ticket for 30 euros. In addition, there will be a limited edition of 1,000 copies with a wobbly image. The image on the back of the ticket changes then by tilting from the old S-Bahn from the 1980s to the current series. The special edition can be purchased by the 10th of November at the S-Bahn.