One million people from Berlin and guests from all over the world visited the festival week “30 Years Peaceful Revolution – Fall of the Wall” from 4 to 10 November 2019. More than 200 events at seven original sites were visited by thousands of guests every day. The Festival Week honored the commitment of the people who took to the streets for freedom in 1989 and changed the world in the wake of the Peaceful Revolution.
A week to commemorate, celebrate and discuss
For seven days over the course of the festival week, the story of the Peaceful Revolution and the Fall of the Wall was brought to life at the places where it unfolded. These sites commemorate key events in the overthrow of the SED regime, the courage of those who opposed the dictatorship, and the dawn of a new democratic era. The 30th anniversary gave reason to celebrate, but also held the opportunity to commemorate the victims of the SED regime and to openly and critically discuss the present and future challenges of our society. Original historical sites of the Peaceful Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall were chosen as sites for the festival week: Gethsemane Church, Alexanderplatz, Brandenburg Gate, Kurfürstendamm, the former Stasi headquarters, Schlossplatz and East Side Gallery. Berliners and national and international guests alike visited the seven open-air exhibitions that were accessible 24/7. Concerts, movies, theatrical performances, readings, talks, workshops, guided tours with contemporary witnesses and many other highlight events were met with great popularity and were fully booked most of the time.
Impressive 3D Video Projections in the evening hours
Countless people enjoyed the exceptional atmosphere at the sites on every night of the festival week, when 3D Video Projections illuminated the facades of buildings at each site. This unique media art experience brought the story of the Peaceful Revolution to life right where they unfolded 30 years ago: At the Gethsemane Church, Alexanderplatz, Kurfürstendamm, the former Stasi headquarters, Schlossplatz and at the East Side Gallery. Combining historical film footage with stunning light and sound effects, these 3D Video Projections offered a unique experience. At Alexanderplatz, for example, visitors could immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the biggest demonstration in GDR history on 4 November 1989, where hundreds of thousands of confident protesters stood up to the SED regime.
Open-Air Exhibitions: History round the clock
Open-air exhibitions at the festival's seven original locations recalled what had happened in the fall of 1989 and also looked at the causes and consequences of the Peaceful Revolution across national borders. The stories of contemporary witnesses were collected and curated in many personal interviews, and became an essential part of the exhibitions, where ven previously forgotten perspectives became audible and visible once more. From the civil rights activist, the pastor, the contract worker on to the journalist from a West German TV station: many witnesses of that time told of their experiences and stories.
The event programme guaranteed full venues
Over the entire festival period, well over two hundred events took place at all seven sites over seven days. These included numerous concerts of various genres from classical music to punk and blues to rock, theatre plays, readings, discussions, workshops, performances, audio walks, poetry slams, guided tours with contemporary witnesses and many other formats to take part in. The complete programme is archived in the extensive event calendar.
The evening of 9 November: Remember and celebrate
The highlight of the festival week was the stage show on the evening of 9 November in front of the Brandenburg Gate – the symbol of division, which 30 years ago became a symbol of freedom for which hundreds of thousands raised their voices. Around 100,000 visitors gathered for the show in front of an impressive video dome, several million people watched the live broadcast on the German TV station ZDF.
During the two-hour production with acting, music and dance performances, several musical acts such as Westbam, Anna Loos, Trettmann, Dirk Michaelis, Zugezogen Maskulin, Die Zöllner and the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim performed on stage, and contemporary witnesses shared their memories. The show opened with a greeting by the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, as well as speeches by the Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Marianne Birthler, the former Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. The show was curated under the direction of Sven Sören Beyer from the Berlin artist network phase7 performing.arts. Westbam led over to the European Club Night with an after-show party, which was celebrated in 27 Berlin and 27 European clubs.
The art installation "Visions in Motion" received international praise
The Peaceful Revolution was driven by the wishes, hopes, demands, and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people. Raising their voices in protest, they used banners and ribbons to express their desire for a better and more democratic future.
Following the banners with which the citizens expressed their wishes and demands during the demonstrations of the Peaceful Revolution, the art installation "Visions in Motion" by Patrick Shearn, Poetic Kinetics, floated at the Brandenburg Gate during the festival week, which incorporated 30,000 messages from people all over the world. The art installation became a public attraction during the festival week, with thousands of people making daily pilgrimages to take pictures, read the messages and add their own visions and ideas to the ribbons. All messages that were submitted online during that time are archived here.
History in Augmented Reality
To experience history in a new and innovative way: that was the goal of two digital formats during the festival week. The App MauAR shows the Berlin Wall with augmented reality on a smartphone or tablet, and tells of its development from an improvised barbed wire fence to meter-high concrete walls with death stripes in between. In five new episodes that were developed especially for the festival week, the story of the Peaceful Revolution was told at their original sites. MauAR is available free of charge at www.mauar.berlin.
History could also be experienced during the festival week with over 30 augmented reality stories created in cooperation with Facebook and ZDF Digital. They could be activated by scanning a QR code via the Facebook Messenger at the sites. The users met skateboarders at the East Side Gallery and accompanied the wall-peckers at the Brandenburg Gate. The world-famous wall painting by Birgit Kinder at the East Side Gallery, on which a “Trabi” breaks through the Berlin Wall, was also brought to life this way.
A project by Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH on behalf of the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. In cooperation with the Berlin Commissioner for the Examination and Reappraisal of the Communist Dictatorship in East Germany, the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Robert Havemann Society, and many more partners, supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, as well as H&M and Berliner Sparkasse.Furthermore: Wall GmbH and STRÖER, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH and Berliner Wasserbetriebe.