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2014.11.06 Thu, by
After the Wall by Lutz Becker

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Lutz Becker talks about his work for the Fragments of Empires Exhibition at MOMENTUM Berlin.

Lutz Becker
After the Wall

The fall of the Wall in November 1989 symbolised the end of the separation of the City of Berlin, as well as that of Germany into Eastern and Western states. It marked, for everybody to see, the final collapse of Communism and was a moment in history that promised a new beginning to the people of Germany and other Europeans.

The significance of the Berlin Wall extended far beyond the city, beyond the borders of Germany. It epitomized the Cold War confrontation between the Warsaw Pact and the NATO alliance. The Wall separated the spheres of interest between Communism and Capitalism. On August 13th 1961, the government of East Germany, the GDR, began to seal off East Berlin from West Berlin by means of barbed wire and anti-tank obstacles. The underground and railway services of greater Berlin were severed and West Berlin was turned into an island within GDR territory. A solid wall gradually replaced the provisional fence. It was made up of concrete segments to a height of 12 feet and was 165 miles long. A trench ran parallel to it to prevent vehicles from breaking through. There was a patrol corridor behind it, watch towers, bunkers and electric fences.

It appeared to the population of Germany that the split of their country and that of Berlin would last forever. In 1989, as a reaction to president Gorbachov’s reforms in the Soviet Union and massive unrest in their country, the government of the GDR decreed the opening of the Wall on November 9th 1989. In the following days and months demolition workers began tearing it down. On July 1st 1990 the GDR gave up her statehood and merged with West Germany.

For the Germans the demolition of the wall was an act of liberation. It gave hope for a future in which unhindered communication and freedom of movement would be everybody’s natural right. Within days of the ‘opening’ of the wall, its terrifying symbolism lost its power. Millions of people came to Berlin to look at the now defunct wall and to take a piece of it with them to remember this moment of history.

Walls are normally silent. The Berlin Wall gained a voice at the moment of its destruction.

Lutz Becker, 2014


Without consideration, without pity, without shame
they have built great and high walls around me.

And now I sit here and despair.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;

for I had many things to do outside.
Ah why did I not pay attention when they were building the walls.

But I never heard any noise or sound of builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me from the outside world.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1896)

We encourage everyone to download one of these tracks and play it loudly on November, 9th for the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

You can access the files here >>

Sound installation / 5 parts

Section one: Potsdamer Platz, 08:28
Strong atmosphere. It is the basis of the installation. Hammering and distant voices.

Section two: Invalidenstrasse, 03:32
Dramatic close-up percussion of hammers.

Section three: Checkpoint Charlie, 17:12
Heavy percussion. Massive rhythmical sound bundles.

Section four: Brandenburger Tor, 5:22
Relaxed, regular beats quite close.

Section five: Night, 05:11
End piece with dominant echos.