For 28 years, Germany has been united – exactly as long as the Berlin Wall existed (1961–1989). On the occasion of this parallel, GRAFT and Marianne Birthler are curating the exhibition “Unbuilding Walls” at the German Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
The exhibition responds to current debates on nations, protectionism and division. In the German Pavilion, GRAFT and Marianne Birthler will take the parallel as an opportunity to explore the effects of division and the process of healing as a dynamic spatial phenomenon. With reference to “Freespace,” the central theme of the Architecture Biennale proposed by Grafton Architects, special focus will be given to outstanding examples of urban and architectural design that address aspects of division and integration.
By analyzing architectural projects on the former border strip, the question of what happened on this unprecedented void in the middle of a new capital will be examined. The heterogeneity of the multitude of approaches, typologies, protagonists, and results show the breadth of architectural debates and solutions.
Taking the experience of the inner-German Wall as a starting point, the exhibition will also examine historical as well as current barriers, fences and walls beyond Germany’s specific national perspective. In the course of the preparations for Unbuilding Walls a journalist team travelled to border walls around the world. This work will be shown at the German Pavilion as well.
The Wall of Opinions video installation documents the voices of people who live in the shadow of walls in Cyprus, Northern Ireland, between Israel and Palestine, the USA and Mexico, North and South Korea and at the European external border in Ceuta.
Max Schmieding, PROXI.ME