Since our first blog post, we’ve been dedicated to capturing and documenting Berlin in its many facets so that the whole world can get a glimpse of this wonderful city. It has always been important for us to reach out to both the people of this city, as well as visitors, no matter how long they’ve been here or where they’re from. We particularly focus on the people who have come here and who have brought with them a part of the world they come from when carrying out their projects. Because Berlin isn’t just Berlin – it’s a medley with influences from all over the world. And this is a good thing.
The new interactive BERLIN GLOBAL exhibition, solemnly inaugurated last week in the new Humboldt Forum, takes an exactly opposite approach here, showing Berlin with all the imprints that this city has left in the world. We find this approach extremely exciting, which is why we took a closer look at the exhibition.
masterpieces: How & Nosm
work: Rocca & Seine Brüder, photos: Oana Popa-Costea
The impossible task of capturing Berlin
BERLIN GLOBAL is the result of a long joint effort of Kulturprojekte Berlin and the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin with the hugely ambitious goal of capturing our rather crazy and unconventional city in a meaningful big picture. Is it possible? Or rather: is it even necessary? If you try to find out about the exhibition in advance, but also when you finally walk through the many exhibition halls, you quickly realize: Berlin simply cannot be molded into a familiar mold. The city has changed and reinvented itself so many times. This is reflected in so many details, such as the architecture, the multiple city centers or the eclectic inhabitants.
The exhibition captures this unruly and stubborn nature of Berlin very well. Although it is structured according to a certain system – each room has its own theme, which deals with different aspects of Berlin – one quickly gets the impression that each new room challenges the known system. This makes the exhibition incredibly exciting because even if you have already educated yourself on the various topics, you are in fact surprised over and over again.
A critical look at Berlin’s past and present
The entrance to BERLIN GLOBAL begins in the Weltdenken Hall amid a huge mural by the artist duo How & Nosm curated by Yasha Young, who founded the Berlin Street Art Museum Urban Nation. Here, you are already well aware of the tone of a startling criticism of the exhibition, which contrasts somewhat with the public controversies of the Humboldt Forum. Three of the four walls speak of colonialism and its impact, but also of cultural appropriation. This important and critical point of view runs through the entire exhibition, which at times also highlights colonial propaganda, racism, the punk and squatting scene, gentrification, the movement for gender equality and women’s rights. While other Humboldt Forum exhibits are accused of failing to address some of these issues, Berlin Global is not mince words here. In my eyes, this fits very well with Berlin, which knows very well not to forget the negative aspects of its history.
From mural painting, it moves on to rooms on revolution, war, borders, open space, fun, fashion and interconnections that could describe a little the great history of the last century until today. . An interesting detail: in the axis between the areas of free space, borders and fun there is a very special exhibition: the original steel door of the legendary Tresor Club in Leipziger Straße – a good symbolism for the fact that even places of pleasure have their own borders, which must absolutely be considered critically.
The price of pleasure
I was particularly looking forward to the fun zone when I visited as I was curious to see how this important and central theme for Berlin would be presented in the exhibition. And like in all the other rooms, I was surprised here. If you were expecting a little history of Berlin’s nightlife and culture here, you might be surprised. While some of the exhibits, some of which are hidden in giant copper-colored spheres, focus on the different styles of music that have been and are heard in Berlin nightclubs, or the rich events that have taken place in Berlin, it It is also about white colonial views of the world, racism in the entertainment industry, and the persecution of Jewish artists under National Socialism. For all the fun of it, you also think very quickly here.
Another very exciting aspect of the exhibition runs like a common thread through all the rooms and begins directly behind the entrance with the registration of a bracelet that you receive. Each time you transition to a new area, you have a choice of two doors, each representing a different answer to the overarching questions. The response you choose when going through each gate is recorded and evaluated at the end. This way you are referring directly to the themes of the exhibit, for example: “I care about the world” as opposed to “I care about my community”, or “I want a social city” as opposed to “I care about my community”. want an open city ”. None of the answers are really the opposite, so sometimes it’s not that easy to answer them clearly. Like so much in life, a lot of things are in a gray area and are not just black or white. The result at the end of the exhibition surprised me a bit, precisely because you don’t think much about certain nuances, what they actually mean in the overall context.
Berghain outfits, photos: Oana Popa-Costea
Visiting BERLIN GLOBAL really felt different from what I expected. With my avowedly positive outlook on the city by profession, I was perhaps less prepared for the thoughtful and serious moments of the exhibition. But I appreciate them, especially because the Humboldt Forum could use that touch of self-reflection and historical criticism.
There is an insane amount to be discovered at BERLIN GLOBAL, and you can tell how much effort and attention to detail has been put into the exhibit, and how elaborate all the facility and technology are. Especially the modern, interactive or moving elements of the exhibition are fun and give the whole another dimension. If you are truly interested in Berlin and want to better understand the city and its influence on the world, there is an incredible amount you can learn and understand here. And those who are only interested in pure pleasure will also find their account, even if it is for a little dance inside a large mirror ball …
photo: Oana Popa-Costea
The exhibition is free for the first 100 days. You can get tickets for the time slots here.
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