News / Arts & Entertainment

Guardhouse Becomes Tiny Venue for Cold War Art Project

A woman looks at an installation of keys, used in Stasi police barracks, by Sonya Schoenberger, that is installed inside Christoph Zwiener's exhibition project
A woman looks at an installation of keys, used in Stasi police barracks, by Sonya Schoenberger, that is installed inside Christoph Zwiener's exhibition project "ADN Guard House" in Berlin, July 11, 2014.
Reuters

A German artist has turned a tiny surveillance booth used by the communist regime in the former East Germany to monitor citizens into an art exhibit and venue, which will be installed in a museum near Los Angeles dedicated to the Cold War.

The one-person guardhouse measuring two meters by one meter was originally located in the parking lot of state-run news agency ADN so that authorities could keep a watchful eye on reporters. Artist Christof Zwiener rescued it from demolition.

Guardhouses were an integral part of state surveillance in East Germany (GDR), stationed not only at borders but in places where they could monitor ordinary people going about their daily lives.

“The guard, he or she, controlled the people coming in or out but on the other hand, the people going in also watched him,” said Zwiener. “There are a lot of forgotten things in East Berlin still, but nobody cares about them anymore.”

Berlin tourist attractions on the GDR theme include Checkpoint Charlie and the Stasi Museum and DDR Museum, both of which focus on the Stasi's sinister surveillance apparatus.

Ten artists have showcased their work in the closet-sized booth, many focusing on surveillance which is a sensitive issue in Germany because of the way the Gestapo and Stasi spied on citizens in the Nazi and communist eras.

The project has coincided with revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on citizens and institutions in Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

The exhibit by Berlin-based artist Sonya Schoenberger, which ends this month, consists of thousands of keys once used in Stasi police barracks, hanging from a vertical metal rod.

A man looks at an installation of keys, used in Stasi police barracks, by Sonya Schoenberger, that is installed inside Christoph Zwiener's exhibition project
A man looks at an installation of keys, used in Stasi police barracks, by Sonya Schoenberger, that is installed inside Christoph Zwiener's exhibition project "ADN Guard House" in Berlin, July 11, 2014.

“Berlin is of course a vivid place for this, memories that are found in public spaces and that carry a lot of weight for people,” said Schoenberger, adding Zwiener had found a way to make such meaningful, shared memories “visible again”.

The booth will travel 6,000 miles (9,600 km) by ship to go on show from Sept. 26 in four locations around Los Angeles including the corner of a busy intersection, before going to its permanent home at the Wende Museum for the 25th anniversary of German reunification in November.

“The guardhouse is about parking lots and media and LA is about two things: parking lots and media,” said Justinian Jampol, founder of the museum dedicated to the “Wende” - German for the end of the Cold War after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

The museum in Culver City houses Cold War artifacts from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and will move to a new location, in a former armory, on Nov. 8.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings: Nnekai
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
August 26, 2015 2:42 PM
Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.