The Fall of Berlin Wall – 25 Years After

Gary Diskin - Oct 27, 2014
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The collapse of the Berlin Wall and its consequences was one of the most significant events in modern history. The twenty fifth anniversary of that historic day is 9th November 2014. In commemoration of this poignant and significant historic occurrence exhibitions and tributes have been scheduled across the City of Berlin. The events are structured around meaningful messages including revisiting and re-capturing Berlin as it existed when it was the divided city and in placing this in the context of the prevailing East West divide of the time. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate the importance of the breaking of the Wall and the celebration of the peaceful reunification of Germany in 1989-1990. Berliners will reflect on their personal history and visitors will gain an understanding of this meaningful event. Many people will remember exactly where they were when the wall came down. 

The high point of the commemoration will occur during the actual weekend of 7th to 9th. “Lichtgrenz”is a monumental light installation designed to run the entire length of the former path of the Wall. Totalling 8000 lights in all and developed from an idea by Christopher Bauder and Marc Bauder, the installation or border will stretch for twelve kilometers and will dissect the city. It will appear as a column of huge helium filled balloons marking out the contours of the original wall. It was conceived and designed as an emotional and visual symbol of the dimension and brutality of the Wall. It will pass through Berlin’s significant landmarks including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie as well as other crossing points and landmarks. Visitors will walk the path of the Wall recapturing the emotion of the divided city.

In the late afternoon of Sunday 9th November thousands of residents, visitors and friends will take their places beside the balloons along the stretch of the light installation and attach personal messages to the balloons. As the climax of the event, they will release the balloons into the air along the entire length of the installation. Alongside, the Orchestra of the State Opera will perform the final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony taken from “Ode to Joy” at the Brandenburg Gate.

The re-imagining of the Wall through the “Lichtgrenze” will be accompanied by many other exhibitions, events and tours as part of this monumentally important world event. They include an open-air exhibition of 100 wall stories created by the Robert Havemann Society. The stories will feature alongside the “Lichtgrenze”. There is also to be a new permanent exhibition at on Bernauer Strasse. There will be formatted screens at selected public locations to show original film footage of the reuniting of East and West when the Wall came down. Public venues will offer extensive guided tours courtesy of Museum Service of Berlin and cycling tours are planned along the path of the former wall. The International Memorial of Freedom, the East Side Gallery, will feature more robustly than ever as a monument to the importance of individual liberty. Available also will be a number of information pavilions and viewing towers offering particularly impressive views of the light installation. TV transmission will be broadcast around the world and the light installation may well even be visible from space.

On 9th of November 1989 the Peaceful Revolution took place in Berlin and its anniversary represents a global symbol of freedom. Given the various crises in the world, recent upheavals, and violent happenings, the significance of marking this anniversary is particularly relevant. This year international institutions and organizations are remembering the events that changed Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and culminated in the breakdown of the great divide in Europe. All the memories, opinions and views, all the wishes and reflections are being collected and published on the interactive web portal for everyone around the world. This platform is promoted by Kulturprojekte Berlin and released with the support of Facebook. Together with the contributions of those who lived through and took part in the Revolution in Berlin, Leipzig and other locations, Kulturprojeckte would like to invite people from around the world to send their messages to Berlin. In this way, every light installation balloon released on the night of November 9th will contain thousands of messages uniting the world in one symbolic gesture.

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