Project type: Monument
Location: Berlin, Germany
In Collaboration with Art+Com
Invited cooperative competition
GRAFT and Art+Com
Boulevard of the Stars
An interactive experience with Stars from Past and Present
Ever since pictures were brought into motion Berlin has been one of the most important European movie capitals. Now, Berlin dedicates a tribute to the Movie and Television Stars of Past and Present with a boulevard. The intent of the mutual design of the two Berlin based offices Art+Com and GRAFT will vary from the existing “Walks of Fame” and be an “intelligent” continuance Berlin deserves. The intent is to honour Stars as an experience for Berliner and Visitors alike, by staging an interactive Red Carpet Movie Premiere Experience.
The project focuses on the median of Potsdamer Street between Potsdamer Platz and Ben-Gurion-Street. The progressive urban solution is a point of visual interest and creates a welcome tourist attraction profitting the neighboring intsitutions, shops and restaurants. The design and staging approach consequently borrows techniques and motives from the movie world. During the Berlinale visitors will be able to see the first star, honouring Marlene Dietrich, and take a picture together with her on the Red Carpet. In September 2010 the Boulevard of the Stars was opened with 40 stars. Each year ten further stars will be ceremonially unveiled. The selection of stars will be made by an independent jury, consisting of Senta Berger of the Deutsche Filmakademie, Gero Gandert for the Förderkreis der Deutschen Kinemathek, Dieter Kosslick for the Berlinale, Hans Helmut Prinzler for the Museum für Film und Fernsehen and Uwe Kammann for the Adolf Grimme Institut.
Common “Walks of Fame” confine to a sequence of memento objects that are based on stars. To go beyond this approach Art+Com and GRAFT developed an integrated staging idea. Because the acceptance to the installation is an appreciation, our approach derives from public tribute to film makers on the red carpet. Four staging elements define the interactive szenario: red carpet, the stars, cameras, spotlights.
1. Red Carpet
A red carpet from coloured asphalt forms the floor space of the boulevard. Beginning at the Potsdamer Platz the carpet trails along the centre of Potsdamer Street to Ben Gurion Street. By touching the sidewalks to either side it points out the staging design in the center of the street. It widens in front of buildings like the film museum and leads to the entrances. At the Potsdamer Platz and at the Ben Gurion Street the carpet reverts and becomes a label with information. In some places the carpet waves up and becomes a seat bench. The red carpet is simultaneously a red thread through film history.
2. The Movie Stars located through Stars
The movie stars are represented through the motive of the star from the title of the boulevard. The stars, made from polished bronze are embedded into the carpet. Name, career, dates and autograph of the star are engraved. The career is annotated in German and English. The visitors learn through the information planes at the beginning of the carpet, that they can copy the autographs of the stars by rubbing the signature off with a pen and paper.
Abstract cameras are placed on the red carpet. They will “bring the stars to live”. The “cameras” base on a stage trick created by John Pepper in the 19th century, which is used in film until today. With the so called “ Peppers Ghost” a picture is projected into the view of the observer by use of reflective glass. If you look though the eyepiece of the camera you will see the star floating over its bronze star he or she presents. For each camera one to five stars can be represented.
One little spotlight per star is attached to the existing light posts. It will enlighten its star in the evening and during the night. The spotlights are cross-linked and can be programmed and individually activated. On the one hand this will occur in an overall choreography which will put the centre part of Potsdamer Street into a moving premiere lighting by night and on the other specific stars can be distinguished at specific events like birthdays and anniversaries of the death. The dramaturgy of the spotlights is that it has short moments of strong motion and long moments of calmness where the spotlights rest on a specific star or are disconnected. The selected spotlight is equipped with LEDs and therefore extremely economical. Besides the lamps have to be exchanged only after 10 to 15 years.
In addition to the four staging elements, Art+Com and GRAFT designed a screen based information system that informs the visitors about places and events around the Boulevard. The interplay of the four elements red carpet, star, “Peppers Ghost Camera” and spotlight creates a holistic production. It brings about the picture of a movie premiere to the visitor, where he or she can interact and become part of the staging. A lively, growing memorial, revaluing the Potsdamer Street as an interactive experience, the Boulevard of the Stars lets Berlin continue to shine as the important movie capital it is famous for.