(The militaristic agenda of our curators)
We went to the Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM) at the Museum Insel and walked from the Alexanderplatz, along the Rotes Rathaus, the Neptunbrunnen again, pass the SchlossbrÃ¼cke, the Berliner Dom and the Palast der Republik. The Zeughaus today turns out to have free entry. It is a little bit unclear, where the entrance to the exhibition is. We walk along the SchlÃ¼ter courtyard, which is covered by a new glass dome, and end up in the basement of the new wing, designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei.
The exhibition we visit is called â€œDer Weltkrieg, 1914-1918 – Ereignis und Erinnerung.â€? It is remarkable that most artists and common people, who left accounts about the war, focus on the atrocities, each time these modern exhibitions succeed in aestheticizing the war by exhibiting the most sterile objects and relics. They show letters home, nice bundled and in weathered yellow paper, uniforms of the different factions, the optimism before the war with the gay smiles, the technically meticulous weaponry and scale models of the new battle field inventions, but only a rare graphic depiction of the horror, of which art is full. Did I miss something? It seems as if the curators of our times still follow a militaristic agenda.
Of course, there are plenty of rational argumentations one could follow for this agenda to be justified: protecting the spectator for the terror of the images, the exhibit is meant to educate and attract a wide audience that might not be prepared for the horrors of war, children inevitably might visit the exhibition and have nightmares if no censorship is put in place, etc. But the bottom line is the effect of the exhibition itself, and not the justification of the curator. The bottom line is that warfare is dissected of its gruesome and cruel nature, and that a heroic (the humane hero being put to the ultimate test), somewhat technological image dominates. War is where history is created by the heroic, and that history is what is now on display at the Zeughausâ€™ beautiful new wing, which we are all to admire. The modern museums are unfit to exhibit horrific events, because they ultimate aim to please the visitors; this is the law of marketing that aims to attract the consumer, and impress him with a pleasant feeling.
Finally, we take a close look at Anselm Kieferâ€™s painting â€˜Das Gewitter der Rosen,â€™ after a poem by Ingeborg Bachman. Then we leave by descending the glass snail-shellâ€™s stairs. We walk back along the art fair being held at the Spree quay along the Zeughaus. The sun breaks through, but never lasting.
We run in the Volkspark Hasenheide for about 18 minutes. The parks in Berlin have a natural style to them, grass freely growing wild, through which the public paves their paths, baring the sand soil in irregular patterns. We find our way on the outside broader paths, every now and then passing the odd black African individual standing on his own, somewhat hidden in the bushes. They appear suspicious, and give off the impression as if they are dealing drugs. There is an unthreatening oddness about the small groups of older, skeleton-like Germans, hanging around the park benches, drinking their Berliner Kindl beer cans, but we pass them without even a blink, like the whole rest of Berlin living out its existence without much concern. At the exit at Lilienthal Strasse, we take a right turn, following the contours of the park past the Sint Johannes Basilika. At the Colmbiadamm we head home, past the magnificent mosque of the Milli GÃ¼rus movement and the Mohammed cemetery. Turkish and German families are strolling along the Columbiadamm side of Hasenheide.
The coagulation of punk
In the evening we enter into the Kreuzberg quarter at the Wiener Strasse, where the Shocks have their CD release party at â€œWild at Heart.â€? Their style has something in the middle between Punk and Surf, and they were pretty good, except for the high pitched female punk vocals, which I have heart thirteen in a dozen too often. The place is crowded with the original punk look and variants of it a la Nina from â€˜99 Luftballon.â€™
The club is meticulously decorated with kitsch and memorable bric-a-brac. The punk scene seems to have degenerated into a coagulated fashion statement of high-art, in which the street dog camaraderie is oddly misplaced. We leave after the concert.