Residency Löwen und Adler
On 28 November I organized a tour to investigate the construction site of the Berliner Schloss / Humboldt Forum, the most important and controversial cultural and historical building site in Germany at the moment.
In 2002 the German Parliament decided after a decade of divisive debates in Germany to reconstruct the facade of the Berliner Schloss, that was demolished in 1950 by the East German government to create a huge parade grounds int he center of Berlin for the people to “express their will in mass demonstrations”. Later on the site rose the “Palast der Republik”, which was demolished in 2007 so that the new/old Prussian Schloss could be rebuilt. They had the great idea to move the Ethnological Museum and the museum for Asian Art there to create the Humboldt Forum in order to stage a “dialogue with non-European cultures”. Of all places in a building, which is a symbol for Prussian and German militarism and imperialism and where the decisions were made for German colonialism and for instance the genocide of the Herero in what is now Namibia. I wanted to see for myself, how this building was developing, so I invited a group of artists, friends and curators to join me.
Unfortunately, it was quite depressing. A very mediocre architecture is rising in the centre of Berlin in this old reconstructed facade. I had never a sense of excitement nor could I detect any architectural vision. It is an architecture that doesn’t even think, that it has something to contribute to the public discourse about the site, about German history and identity, but that is just subservient to the demands of this vague group of super conservative people, which is driving the reconstruction. I pity the people of the Ethnological Museum, who have to deal with the building, but also with the connotations it brings with it. The only good thing is, that the project started off a discussion about the German colonial history.