Proposal for a commemoration table from the year 2289, dedicated to East Side Gallery and the Berlin wall Memorial
The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed — William Gibson
It is my goal to make visitors think about the potential conflicts that surround a monument, a memorial, that wants to be an open place, a place for conflict free encounters. I want to do this in a non-intellectual way, using a play with fantasy, mythos and history.
To answer the question(s), I’m looking at the meaning of the East side Gallery and the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the role an artwork or installation could play there. It is important to note, that for me as an artist, I am not interested to be a politician because my artworks are not formulated as answers, or theory, or a manifest. They are instead meant to be questions. Recent research has confirmed that people do not change their believes based on facts alone, therefore I hope that asking questions is the better option.
A memorial for the end of an oppressive regime should constantly remind us of our freedom and with that freedom comes that it should be open for all. That is one of its most important goals. But without the help of the visitors, the East Side Gallery will not remain the open space it should be, instead it will only be a space with some old stuff. The results could be various, see sexy selfies in Auschwitz, public holidays for major historical events that are ‘just another day off,’ artifacts being stolen, historical sites being destroyed, etc. And do not forget certain politicians saying we are doing great, therefore we should not have to be reminded of the bad things from our past.
Therefore I propose an installation designed to ask questions and to inspire debate, by presenting a `what if‘ scenario in the form of a science fiction story, an installation as an artifact from the future.
My proposed installation tells the story how in 2289, 200 years after the wall came down, a commemoration table was build for the Berlin wall and especially for the memorials. The commemoration table informs us those memorials were destroyed and in those days, nobody knows why or how this happened. They can only provide us with a a list of possible events and reasons. The items on this list should be familiar to us, because they are connected to certain conflict areas in our time, in 2021.
The commemoration table, is not made in a fancy science fiction style, far from it, it should almost feel antiquated – but not completely. This too is done to make people wonder. In popular culture, we always go towards a glorious future with the progression of time – but it does not need to be. Archeology/history has shown that this is most most definitely not that case. And that is also why it is important to keep the memory alive of what happens when freedom is taken away.
The commemoration table as it is conceptualized now, consists of three parts:
- A Triptych with a central image and two side images:
- The central image is in part inspired by triptychs from past centuries where a central goddess or person of highest office is shown, with in the background the lay of the land and historical events
- The side images show cityscapes of Berlin, they are partly designed so they complete the classical triptych feeling – but also they should echo a Berlin that is recognizable but does not seem from this time.
- One or two ornamental containers holding remaining pieces of the Berlin wall. The composition and how it is adorned, echoes how old relics are treated, like the teeth of saints and wood splinters from the cross.
- A text in German and English explaining the reason for the commemoration table, largely talking