BERLIN GLOBAL – Berlin Exhibition at the Humboldt Forum

BERLIN IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORLD

Berlin – City of stories

Past, present and future: much of what happens in Berlin has an impact on the world. And much of what happens in the world affects Berlin. BERLIN GLOBAL, an exhibition on 4,000 square metres of space, shows how the city and its people are connected with the world. Visitors start in a room called Thinking the World and move on to an introductory space entitled Berlin Images. Rooms with individual themes then follow: Revolution, Free Space, Boundaries, Entertainment, War, Fashion and Interconnection. These aspects also feature in other metropolises, but the constellation captures the essence of the city.

Varied and frequently surprising, the immersive installations and atmospheric presentations lead visitors through theme-based worlds that reflect the many sides of Berlin. We let those who know the city speak: residents, experts, artists, initiatives and associations. Their stories, experiences and perspectives energise the exhibition.

Thinking the World

The world in Berlin – Berlin in the world. The city has always been part of a multifaceted network that spans the globe.

Berlin Images

Cities' names evoke images in our minds. Paris is the city of love, New York never sleeps and Rio de Janeiro stands for carnival. What images do you associate with Berlin?

Revolution

1848, 1918, 1989. These years mark political revolutions in Berlin. The uprisings called dominant sociopolitical structures into question. Breakthroughs to democracy...

Free Space

Berlin attracts people who seek to live life as they wish. The city has always been a testing ground and playing field for new lifestyles. But when some people make free space their own, others feel pushed out.

Boundaries

The Wall has long since disappeared. Berlin is known as a city without limits. Yet boundaries run through it, even though they are more evident to some people than others.

Entertainment

Entertainment venues in Berlin are gathering places. People, styles and cultures converge in the city, and also reflect its milieus. Take a journey through time with music, dance and theatre.

War

Berlin seems like a peaceful place today. But wars of the past have left their mark. And what about wars of the present?

Fashion

In Berlin you can wear anything you like: designer suits, jogging clothes, hipster outfits, stylish headscarves or practical outdoor attire. But fashion is more than an expression of the city's diversity.

Interconnection

Many of Berlin's residents feel at home in more than one place. Their lives are connected to other parts of the world. How can these interconnections be described?

Lounge

You have now seen, heard and experienced a lot. It is time for a break. The lounge invites you to relax and talk with other visitors. It offers space for coming together and networking.

World Studio

The WORLD STUDIO offers ways to be creative yourself and take action with others.

Thinking the World

Connecting the world

Attempts to explore, chart and take possession of the world continue to this day.

The enormous mural by How and Nosm depicts events in the conquest and exploitation of the globe. The two artists have painted, sprayed and modelled the four walls to highlight colonial divisions of the world, studies of connections between humans and nature, and controversial appropriations of objects from other cultures. Collage-like scenes reveal symbols that stand for conceptualising the world as something shared: clasped hands, broken chains and doves of peace.

How do we want to live together in the world? How does this world influence us? How do we want to shape it? Join in! You can log in and connect with the exhibition. Numerous stations invite you to cast a vote and make a difference. At the end you’ll receive a summary of your choices and have the chance to meet people who share your opinions exactly – or not at all.

Berlin Images

Typically Berlin

This room provides an unconventional prelude to Berlin – and literally draws you in. Staggered backdrops with large-scale photos show images of the exhibition’s seven themes: Revolution, Free Space, Boundaries, Entertainment, War, Fashion and Interconnection. You’ll walk through these themes as if on a stage and begin to ask whether they are characteristic or simply clichés. The reverse sides of the backdrops suggest other possible perspectives.

Revolution

The city rises up

Berlin played a central role in Germany’s major revolutions. The country’s uprisings were closely connected with liberation movements in Europe and the world at large. With recordings of revolutionary anthems and chants, this room lets you imagine what revolutions sound like. A dense collection of posters with statements and appeals evokes the charged atmosphere and tension of upheavals. But how were the revolutions launched and what fuelled them? Spin the wheel of history and embark upon a trip back in time! When one of the years snaps into place you’ll be immersed in a striking combination of moving images and sound. Videos with interviews and historical film sequences plus immersive works of art make it clear that revolutions are by no means closed chapters in history but instead reverberate on into the present. Here you can watch and listen to individuals who themselves or whose close associates took part in revolutions.

Free Space

Free space opens and closes

Berlin is known for diversity, tolerance and freedom of expression. Think of the many abandoned spaces and empty buildings after the fall of the Wall, and the way residents typically put them to provisional use.

Berlin offers opportunities for all manner of new uses and ideas – although limited in time, because the city is constantly changing and its free spaces appear and disappear. This room’s photographic projections will lead you to Potsdamer Platz, which changed extraordinarily rapidly after the Wall fell. You’ll feel surrounded by walls that move towards you and then away. Spaces will seem larger and then smaller, and you’ll sense contraction and expansion. You’ll also smell some of the city’s typical aromas, such as its earth, lavender, grasses and dog faeces.

Boundaries

Making boundaries visible

The illuminated map on the floor shows Berlin’s roads and waterways. Tall glass cases containing remarkable historical objects stand on the map: they indicate boundaries that surrounded, divided and were determined in Berlin in the past. Media stations in the form of surveying instruments also stand on the map. Their screens show you something about boundaries in Berlin today. Videos, animations and illustrations tell of racist exclusion, of places like the TV tower’s viewing platform that cannot be accessed by wheelchair users, and of parts of the city where residents can no longer afford to live.

Entertainment

A great pleasure, or no pleasure?

Entertainment cultures have thrived on international influences since the 19th century. Explore the wooden kaiserpanorama that delighted viewers 120 years ago with its 3D scenes of cities, landscapes and events in faraway places. For a high-volume experience, take a headset, enter the disco sphere and dance to the beats of Berlin. They will transport you to musical cultures of the past century, from foxtrot to hip-hop. Today global music corporations are headquartered in Berlin. In the early 20th century companies like Lindström AG popularised jazz, tango and samba in the city. You can play songs from old shellac records on a converted portable player. Four sparkling copper walk-in spheres present different aspects of entertainment culture. The displays also take you behind scenes and onto fine lines between entertainment and exclusion: who can enjoy what where, and who is not allowed in? And who decides what is entertainment and what is not?

War

City of decisions

Berlin unleashed wars of conquest that shaped the 20th century. Wars in the German colonies and the First World War were launched from Berlin. The Second World War started here and ended in the destruction of large parts of the city as well as of the world. The walls of this room contain illuminated glass cases set in a restless pattern of protruding and receding grey felt squares. The objects, audio recordings and videos tell of war, violence and captivity. Digital stations show some of the traces of war in Berlin, such as street names and the number of pavement “stumbling stones” that recall individuals persecuted and murdered by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. What are the signs of today’s wars? LED displays also show updated numbers of new refugees in the city.

Fashion

More than a stylish look

A large display window shows typical women’s outfits in Berlin today, compiled by students at Berlin’s School of Fashion, against a photographic backdrop of women in everyday outfits from 1900 to the present. You can listen to women describing their choice of clothing. But where do the clothes come from? You’ll find that out by looking behind the display window.

An extensive infographic places the history of Berlin’s fashion industry into a global context. Where did the cotton come from in the 18th century? Who cut, sewed and ironed garments in the 19th century and who does that today? A digital loom prompts discussion of how to bring fairer conditions to the global fashion industry. On six screens, activists and NGO representatives describe what they consider key to overcoming abuses in the garment business. The pattern of colours on the digital carpet shows how visitors respond to their statements.

Interconnection

People in Berlin

The visuals of this room are dominated by a multicoloured sculpture suspended from the ceiling. It was inspired by 15 sound portraits of Berliners who were born here, chose the city as their home, fled here or ended up here by chance. The portraits tell of Berlin and of very different connections to other parts of the world. Take a headset and sit down on a long bench to hear their stories and examine details of the sculpture. A collection of objects illustrates these Berliners’ relationships to places they love or miss. The room also features a media station that lets you display your own interconnections with the world.

Lounge

Meet and connect

A sculpture reminiscent of large woody vines offers numerous places to sit. It reflects the exhibition’s leitmotif that everything is connected. Before taking a seat, you’ll return your chip wristband and receive an individual summary of your tour. You can also view composite results of visitors’ choices and opinions on monitors. You’ll meet people who share your opinions exactly – or not at all. The lounge offers many opportunities for discussion. Perhaps some of these encounters will lead to actions that change something in Berlin and shape the world together.

World Studio

The place to join in

The WORLD STUDIO invites everyone to put shared ideas for Berlin and the world into action. This is the place for information, workshops, respite, reflection and simply deciding to join in. Here you can rethink conventional ways of showing the world, and design new maps with your own ideas – three unusual “cartographers” stand ready to help. Individual maps and the discussions they bring open up new ways of seeing the world.

Making of

Many voices. Many perspectives.

BERLIN GLOBAL features the voices of many of Berlin's residents. They know the city, and their stories, experiences, ideas and items on loan energise the exhibition. This means you won't find a SOLE opinion, or history, but rather many perspectives on the city.

Behind the scenes

The exhibition was developed right from the start with a large number of partners. It incorporates diverse perspectives on the city via everything from consultation and collaboration with experts, museums and interest groups to active participation by many different artists, photographers and urban artists, and also community presentations.

The city is our material

Its sound portraits, film material, historical items and objects on loan from individuals, coupled with its presentation thereof in theme-based settings, make the exhibition an experience in every sense of the word.

Creation of the 375-m² mural "Thinking the World"

By urban artists How & Nosm.

Berlin Images

Construction of a walk-through table of contents.

Many voices. Many perspectives.

Comics by artist Ali Fitzgerald

Let art speak

Comics by artist Ali Fitzgerald

Berlin illuminated

Installation showing boundaries in Berlin

The "Kaiserpanorama" moves in

From workshop to exhibition space

Behind the scenes

New sculpture by Tape That

All lined up!

Graphics and text panels are mounted

Tape artists at work

New sculpture by Tape That

SORRYFOR­NOTHING

A memorial arrives.

Vault door

A heavyweight enters the exhibition

The city is our material

My visit

Location

The BERLIN GLOBAL exhibition is on the first floor above ground in the Humboldt Forum, in the Mitte district of Berlin.

Visit the website of the Humboldt Forum

Opening hours

Opening hours will be announced in November, along with how to book tickets.

We're opening!

BERLIN GLOBAL, a coproduction of Kulturprojekte Berlin and the Stadtmuseum Berlin, is opening its doors to the public on 16 January 2021.

BERLIN GLOBAL only works WITH you

Log in, spin the wheel of history, immerse yourself in the city’s stories. BERLIN GLOBAL invites you to explore vibrant complexes of topics. You’ll feel, discover and join in. You’ll hear sound portraits, engage with revolutions and dance to the beats of Berlin. Chip wristbands available at the entrance let you connect even more. Numerous stations invite you to take a stand and cast a vote. At the end you’ll receive a summary of your choices and have the chance to meet people who share your opinions exactly – or not at all.

BERLIN GLOBAL for everyone!

The exhibition offers everyone a wealth of experience. Much of the content is conveyed in twelve languages, including German sign language (DGS). All areas are accessible to prams, wheelchairs and wheeled walkers. A tactile, high-contrast floor guidance system provides orientation. An audio described visitor guide is also on offer. The main thing is simply for you to be here!

Let's stay in touch

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram or check out the hashtag #berlinglobal to learn all about the exhibition, take a look behind the scenes and be the first to know when tickets can be booked.