Art group to rebuild Berlin Wall in German capital

2018-08-28 20:55
An artist collective plan to rebuild the Berlin wall during an art project in Berlin. (Jockel Finck, AP, file)

An artist collective plan to rebuild the Berlin wall during an art project in Berlin. (Jockel Finck, AP, file)

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The German capital is getting its infamous Berlin Wall back – at least for four weeks.

A group of artists said on Tuesday they're planning to build a facsimile of the wall around a downtown Berlin block in mid-October.

Visitors of the art installation must buy "visas" online starting at 15 euros ($17.50). When entering the walled area, they'll have to exchange their cellphones for a smartphone which will provide individual instructions for a tour including documentaries, exhibits or concerts.

The artists are not interested in creating a "Disney-style East Germany", said Thomas Oberender of the Berliner Festspiele which organises many performing arts events in the capital. Instead, the intention is more focused on creating an experience of travelling to a foreign country and losing the sense of freedom.

"Maybe it's not going to be so exciting overall," he said. "However, I think it will be."

Visitors will not know in advance what kind of events will take place on the day they're "in the city inside the city", as the project has been dubbed. The smartphone they're given may lead them to a fake conference of scientists or a meeting with a counselor. If they reject that offer, they will be suggested another event.

The artists' group DAU, which is behind the project, says it wants to distribute between 1 500-3 000 "visas" per day.

Inside the walled block, there will also be viewing platforms from which visitors can peer outside into Berlin – in contrast to the Cold War platforms where people could peek into East Berlin from the West.

The district that will be walled in lies on the city's downtown Unter den Linden boulevard and will include the famous State Opera, the Kurfuerstenpalais palace and other historical buildings. The artists, who envision special dispensations for people who work or live inside the zone, are still waiting for the final OK from the city's authorities for their project.

The wall will be torn down on November 9-29 years after the original Berlin Wall came down. The original wall was built by communist East Germany and divided the city from 1961 to 1989.

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