Exhibition: Nineties Berlin
Flashback to the 90s
A new exhibition at the old mint (Alte Münze) features an epoch that a lot of us actually lived through: the 90s. The first couple of years after the Fall of the Wall are shaping Berlin until today. The myth as THE European capital for electronic music and the culture that comes with it, has been formed in this decade that saw the rise and fall of Love Parade and genre-defining clubs as Tresor or Planet. No one knew what the rules were, so we all just ignored them until the authorities figured shit out, or until landlords found a “better” use for their unexpected real estate. It was the time of the 2nd wave of squatters, that fought pitched battles with the police around Mainzer Straße and the first time a decidedly right wing party entered the city parliament. All in all a time that felt like anything would be possible in Berlin and we could all be and do, what we wanted. Later our mayor Klaus Wowereit established the adage of our home as “poor but sexy” and in a way we are still drawing on that anarchic attitude, trying to become a little less poor, while keeping the sexy. Most of the important protagonists continue to shape cultural and political life in the capital, while every year thousands of young and adventurous people move to Berlin, looking for this spirit and feeding it in turn with their own ideas.
And now more than 20 years later it seems, enough time has passed to look back and let some of those people be heard and seen again. DDR Museum curated this multi-media exhibition to make sure it would be historically correct, but the whole thing pivots around the personal experiences of some of them. From DJs via hooligans to police men, a near dozen eye-witness accounts displayed on huge screens are the centre piece of the exhibition. Admittedly, most of them already told their stories in different contexts, but they have never been assembled like this in one place.
To get everyone in the right frame of mind, the Nineties Berlin exhibition features a 270° multimedia presentation, that you can enjoy from a lounge landscape in the shape of Berlin, with a tunnel running through it, portraying events at the Berlin Wall. The projection is pretty well made, mixing still photos and video with all kinds of funky visuals, while it scrolls around you. The effect can be a bit confusing creating the illusion that actually the whole room turns around you. It’s bit like digital sightseeing – and it pays to watch the thing until the end.
The 90s music section has a small labyrinth, nicely hand-painted, that does a good job of recreating the feeling of aimless wandering in the old industrial compounds that housed most clubs. In little cul-de-sacs you can delve into the history of the famous DT.64 radio station (remember Monika Dietl? “Shut up and dance” – she was always talking in exactly the worst moment, ruining dozens of tapes that way), the Tekknozid parties or clubs like Eimer and Tresor. A special installation lets you choose the anthem of every single Love Parade including it’s ill-fated end in Essen and Duisburg.
A small part of the wall has been brought into the exhibition with an oppressive installation of 14o Avtomát Kaláshnikova, colloquially known as an AK and the assault gun of choice for all Warszaw Pact armies and revolutionaries world wide.
All told, a nice exhition both for those too young to remember and those that want to relive their own youth – although as Berliners above 40, there is not that much to see and just to jog your memory the entrance fee of 12,50 Euro is a bit hefty -although the production value of Nineties.Berlin is stunning and it’s definitely a nice add-on, if not an absolute essential stop for first-time Berlin visitors.
Nineties Berlin essentials
10179 Berlin (google maps)
(Alexanderplatz or Klosterstraße subway stations)
open from 10 am – 8 pm
tickets: between 5,90 and 12,50 €