Yadegar Asisi Erects a 360 Degree Panorama in Berlin to Depict Life Before the Fall of the Wall
Source: IBTimes.com - on September 21, 2012|
A new way to experience what life was like in a divided Berlin is set to open in the German capital on Sunday. More than two decades after the Wall's demise, an 18-metre-high steel rotunda has been erected at the sight of former Checkpoint Charlie to house a 360 degree panorama picture, depicting everyday life on each side of the 3.6 metre concrete barrier. The artist behind the panorama, which shows a fictional November day in the 1980s, is Yadegar Asisi, an Iranian-Austrian, who grew up in East Germany, and who lived in both East and West Berlin in the 1970s. With the piece, which is 60 metres long and 15 metres high, Asisi has used his own experiences up until the fall of the Wall in 1989, to tell the everyday stories of people on both sides of the Wall. It shows the view from the western district of Kreuzberg to Mitte, in the former East. Visitors can see a group of young men sitting around a camp fire in the East, cars parked up at a petrol station in the West, and people buying fast food from a kiosk. The bright colours of western advertising sticks out, while the East remains dreary and grey. But at the same time the reality of the Wall is also not forgotten, as guards stand in a watch tower looking through binoculars and barbed wire is visible in the then "No-Man's-Land", the small stretch of land between East and West. With this juxtaposition of everyday life versus the terror of the Wall and what it represented, Asisi attempts to show how people were able to cope with the situation, but he also wants people to not forget the reality. Asisi said he chose to show the scene on a rainy day, saying he had "no possibility to show it in sunshine" as this would not have allowed him to portray what he called, the "monstrosity" of the 160-kilometre-long Wall which encircled West Berlin in the heart of Communist East Germany. The panorama rotunda, which can hold up to 300 visitors at a time, is expected to remain in place for at least a year.