The Inconspicuous Life of Walls

by Jutta Friedrichs (MDes ’12)

The Inconspicuous Life of Walls amplifies the natural and sublime living memory of Berlin’s walls pierced by bullets during WWII. The installation provides an alternative experience of history by addressing multiple senses through soundscapes and vibrations. It presents raw, factual information extracted from the fossilized walls and invites the visitor to take the active role of investigator, collector, and narrator in the act of telling a personalized version of history. The facades, witnesses of urban life, are subject to collective inscription as they embraced bullets, shrapnel, pollution and heat produced by the war environment.

Non-selective and non-judgmental in their raw form, the walls may be consulted by anybody for the experience and retelling of events from one of multiple perspectives. Such democratic offering of information for the construction of personal and alternative narratives stands in contrast to the dogmatic teaching of a nationalist and projective history. I present an environment in which previously unknown facts can be corporally experienced, leading to a new and deeper understanding of the past’s effect on contemporary perception.

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