John Runnings was one of many whose actions sped up the falling of the Berlin Wall. He has been embodied in this sculpture by Stephan BalkenholRead More
In order to keep the rising tension between capitalism and communism equal during the Cold War, the Allied forces constructed West Berlin as the epitome of capitalist advancement and a stark contrast to countries in the Eastern Block. Isolated in the middle of East Germany, massive amounts of supplies were needed to keep the city vibrant with culture. A massive financial and human effort formed to provide an isolated city with new fashion, enough food and frequent transport links; the so-called Berliner Luftbrücke (Berlin Airlift). Bernar Venet’s sculpture immortalises this effort.
A seemingly solely artistic piece of work, but in reality shows a long standing political link between two neighbouring countries. The Arc de 124.5° was commissioned by the French government as a gift to Berlin on the city’s 750th anniversary, which fell in 1987, towards the end of the Berlin Wall being in effect. The reason for an arc being chosen is to represent the struggles the city had prevailed through at the time, as well as the arc of the flights used to provide for the city.
What is now referred to as the Berlin Airlift was the only way for the West side of the city to survive through the various East German blockades and notorious Berlin Wall, patrolled by the border guard of East Germany. The arc of the monument commemorates the prevailing forces of the West Berliners and the Allied forces protecting and supplying for the isolated half of the capital.
The sculpture stands towards the heart of what once was West Berlin, near the famous Kaufhaus Des Westens (KaDeWe), which was one of the many department stores that sold fashion and goods only found in West Berlin to bring exclusivity to the city. Peering into the area the sculpture not only brings with it curiosity but also a majestic feeling following the events the city has seen.
The mysteriousness of Bernar Venet’s piece brings curiosity in why it even exists, prompting those to research, learn and eventually feel proud of the efforts and eventual results of the Berlin Airlift. Although the sculpture is slowly being shrouded out by the surrounding trees and developing urban landscape, this only adds to the mystery of it and the lack of visual explanation.
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The entire development took close to 14 years between 1989 and 2002, completed in phases presumably following; making the ecosystem safe for wildlife to recover, altering the structures to be safe for the general public and finally boosting the environment. This signifies a shift in how the typical urban park was created, instead of demolishing and building on top, the decision was instead to keep the past use as a reminder and embrace it.Read More
On a hill similar to others from a more industrial time in Germany’s history, you will find a rollercoaster which functions as a staircase. Now this may be hard to comprehend, however, with a little explanation of its name, the idea comes to life.Read More