Digital Exhibition: ‘Berlin Global’ at the Spectacular New Humboldt Forum
Germany has admittedly had a pretty tough go of the coronavirus crisis, with more than two million cases out of a population of 82 million. But its exhilarating capital has nevertheless intrepidly carried on with projects that will decisively carry on its status as arguably the most forward thinking European city of the 21st Century.
First there was the debut of the long delayed new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) this past October. Then in December, the first sections of the spectacular new Humboldt Forum opened to rapturous press. Fitted into a reconstructed 18th Century baroque palace (once home to Frederick the Great) on the city’s Museum Island, at $824 million total cost, it is surely one of the most ambitious museum projects in contemporary history.
Of course, Berlin is a city of culture if it is anything. And the first exhibition has quickly opened at the HF, fittingly titled Berlin Global – created in partnership with Stadtmuseum Berlin and the Cologne based krafthaus design studio. It focuses, appropriately, on the visceral connections art helps us make across the globe – and thus in some ways poignantly addresses the disconcerting reality that we are unable to travel to share these experiences in person right now. Spread over eleven immersive and interactive rooms, it is a not-necessarily-chronological journey through the history of Berlin’s influence on the world, and the world’s influence on Berlin, based around the themes of Free Space, Boundaries, Entertainment, Fashion, War, Interconnection and Revolution.
A significant section of the exhibition is also available to experience digitally, via 360 World Thinking, which allows for the viewing one of the major highlights: a 375 square meter mural by New York artist duo How & Nosm.
“In Berlin Global we pose questions and seek dialogue,” explains Paul Spies, Chief Curator for the State of Berlin. “We present not a sole truth, but rather many different positions, and invite our visitors to form their own conclusions. The interactive path lets them make decisions and take action in response to the exhibition’s questions. [Ultimately] we want to initiate dialogue and exchange ideas: How are you connected with the world?”
And perhaps proving once again that art has a way of rising up to meet the zeitgeist, German capital, Moritz van Dülmen, CEO of Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH, enthuses of how despite being the last element to join the Humboldt Forum construction project in 2015, they were actually the first to open – and thus able to present this very relevant opening exhibit just weeks after the HF’s public debut.
“It is a unique exhibition experience highlighting Berlin’s interconnections with the world,” he says. “Full of surprises and easily accessible, like most of our cultural projects in Berlin, its multimedia and interactive displays invite visitors to immerse themselves in the history of the city – surely an unexpected enrichment for this new and ambivalent nexus of culture and exhibitions.”