Humanity triumphs in Germany
This year, the city of Berlin will spend an entire week commemorating the destruction of the Berlin Wall, which occurred 30 years ago on November 9, 1989. The German capital celebrates unity with the most universal language: art. For seven days, the city will come alive with over 100 cultural events. These include films, music, fashion, poetry readings, and a massive theatrical reenactment of the Alexanderplatz demonstration.
The festival has something for everyone. History buffs can attend panels put on by journalists and historians. Fashionistas will enjoy a pop-up concept shop from Browns boutique. Adventurous tourists can stay in the newly minted Student Hotel, which gives guests a taste of Berlin’s edgy glamour.
On November 9, the official anniversary of the fall, there will be a concert at the legendary Brandenburg Gate.
The power of music
After the Berlin Wall fell, techno music was the cultural catalyst that brought the citizens of the city together. Techno, with its spirit of youthful ingenuity and dance floor catharsis, became a Berlin specialty. Berlin Music Tours give music lovers an inside look at how the city shaped artists like David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode and others. An exhibit titled “No Photos On The Dance Floor! Berlin 1989-Today” captures the world-famous Berlin club scene in raw, electric photographs. It runs until November 30.
David Bowie was particularly moved by the trials of the German capital. In 1977 he wrote “Heroes,” an award-winning song about two lovers separated by the Berlin Wall. He recorded the track in Hansa Studios, which was in the shadow of the Wall at the time. The legendary studio is one of many stops on the Bowie Berlin Tour. And on November 12, Bowie fans will flock to Columbia Theater for the Live on Mars Bowie tribute show.
This year’s festival honors another important anniversary. November 2019 marks 100 years since the founding of the Bauhaus art school. The school began in Weimar, but opened branches in Dessau and Berlin. A Bauhaus design philosophy emerged from debates about function, beauty, mass production and artistic expression. To this day, Bauhaus influences artists around the world. Until January 27, 2020, the Berlinische Galerie is displaying around 1,000 objects from the Bauhaus archive.
Bauhaus design is meant to be lived in. Visitors can experience it firsthand at Cell restaurant in Kurfurstendamm, which exemplifies the German modernist interior. They can also view housing estates which were designed by Bauhaus architects and have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These bright, precise buildings illustrate the optimistic social culture of Berlin at the turn of the century.
Thirty years after the fact, the fall of the Berlin Wall remains an invigorating example of people overcoming adversity. When Berlin citizens destroyed the wall, they birthed a new era of creativity and innovation that came to define the city. The week-long arts festival celebrates Berlin’s victory in the past, and its irrepressible spirit in the present.
Hamed Wardak is a refugee, a fighter, and a produces of electronic music.