- Title: New art installation tells stories of persecuted lives at the Berlin Wall
- Date: 10th August 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 10, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF "JENSEITS DER MAUER" ("BEYOND THE WALL") ART INSTALLATION BEING INSTALLED ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF A SECTION OF THE FORMER BERLIN WALL VARIOUS OF ART INSTALLATION WITH SILHOUETTES REPRESENTING PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES WERE AFFECTED BY THE WALL CLOSE OF ART INSTALLATION WITH EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT VARIOUS OF VIDEO STILLS IN ART INSTALLATION FROM VIDEOS OF THE BORDER AREA TAKEN BY ARTIST STEFAN ROLOFF IN 1984 ROLOFF ADDRESSING CROWD (SOUNDBITE) (German) ARTIST, STEFAN ROLOFF, SAYING: "For me it's not necessarily a historic project even though it shows things from a time that has passed. It's a continuing phenomenon. There have been walls as long as people have existed and unfortunately, they'll continue to exist. They are often there in principle to divide and rule, to turn groups of people against each other, to turn them into enemies and to make sure they cannot know anything about each other, because you cannot cross walls." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (German) ARTIST, STEFAN ROLOFF, SAYING: "One element is the view from the West: it's a military zone. These are all pictures where you see watch towers and border troops and so on. It's a view which has a surface to a certain extent. The other element is people who lived in the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and whose lives were affected by the wall in an extreme way. For me that's the deeper reality of the whole thing." EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT DISPLAYED ON INSTALLATION (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER INMATE OF STASI PRISON, MARIO ROELLIG, SAYING: "It was a huge shock for me back then, in the isolation of Hohenschoenhausen (prison), to be handed over to a system that you couldn't defend yourself against. These experiences mark you so profoundly that you cannot forget them for the rest of your life." ROELLIG SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER INMATE OF STASI PRISON, MARIO ROELLIG, SAYING ABOUT ROLOFF: "He's obstinate, he tells truths that many people today no longer want to hear, for example regarding the wall. The further away the GDR has become, the more positive seems for lots of people who didn't experience it like we did - people who saw it from the outside or people who went along with the system. I think the culture of remembrance does not belong to those people who adapted to the system, but rather to those people who said no and defended themselves." ROELLIG TALKING TO PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER INMATE OF STASI PRISON, MARIO ROELLIG, SAYING "If you look at the current situation in Europe or the whole world, with so much refugee movement: discussions about refugee movement from the GDR fade away into the background. And that can be painful, because for me, even though I was a German according to the constitution and I didn't need to go through a long and tortuous asylum process likes refugees today, the feeling was and is still similar. The night of March 7th-8th, when I was finally able to cross the border and go from a dictatorship into freedom, was and remains to this day the best moment of my life." WOMAN LOOKING AT INSTALLATION VARIOUS OF VIDEO STILLS OF BORDER GUARDS ART INSTALLATION
- Embargoed: 24th August 2017 15:02
- Keywords: Berlin Wall East Side Gallery West Side Gallery art installation video stills
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Art,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TKQ0CN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An open-air installation is to open along an old section of the Berlin Wall at the weekend, featuring photos of soldiers patrolling the former deadly border, and stories of those persecuted behind it.
"Beyond the Wall" -- 229-metres (250 yards) long and facing the West -- is designed to keep alive the memory of the dividing wall put up by Communist East German authorities nearly 56 years ago on August 13, 1961. It fell in November 1989 due to mass popular pressure and the decline of Soviet Union power.
The new exhibition features stills from videos that German-American artist Stefan Roloff shot of the Berlin Wall from the west in 1984 -- including East German soldiers peering through binoculars, climbing ladders up to watchtowers and walking along the Wall.
The installation also features stories and silhouettes of people whose lives were affected by the Wall -- including a man whom authorities accused of having a fetish, a woman arrested for receiving a postcard from a friend in West Berlin, and another woman who whose apartment was bugged by the East German Stasi secret police.
Mario Roellig is one of the victims whose story is told. The Stasi interrogated and imprisoned him after he tried to flee to the West to be with his boyfriend.
He told Reuters it was important to remember the suffering of those who resisted the East German regime, and also drew parallels with current refugees fleeing persecution across the world.
Roloff said he believed the exhibition was still relevant today, as "there have been walls as long as people have existed and unfortunately they'll continue to exist."
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