Autonomous Artist Activism during B-750
Office for Unusual Measures, Anti-Kreuzberger Protection Wall
During Ronald Reagan’s visit to West Berlin on June 12, 1987, the city's interior minister Heinrich Lummer had attempted to cordon off areas of Kreuzberg and temporarily limit subway traffic in and out of the neighborhood. His efforts represent the Berlin Senate's attempt to keep protesters known to dwell in the district from interfering with the President's visit and auto tour of the city. In Kreuzberg, protests, demonstrations, riots, and looting were met with police brutality against Kreuzbergers, many of whom were not involved in the rioting.
Mocking the Senate’s ironic attempt to limit freedom of movement within West Berlin, on June 17, 1987, Kurt Jotter and Barbara Petersen from Kreuzberg's recently created artist-activist outfit the “Office for Unusual Measures” created a sardonic “anti-Kreuzberger Protection Wall” on the Kottbusser Bridge and passed out fake Kreuzberg passports to the "citizens" gathered. Jotter delivered a speech as the “Senator for Architecture and the Interior” explaining why it was necessary to contain the unruly citizens of Kreuzberg.
A crowd of “protesters” gathered to demonstrate against the Wall with signs saying, “Ich will zu meinem Kinder,” and “Lassen Sie uns frei!” The signs pointed out the hypocrisy of this action, and mirrored the spontaneous cries of "Die Mauer muss weg" arising from East Berliners gathered near the Brandenburg Gate to listen to the David Bowie concert on the nearby Platz der Republik on June 6, 1987. A video from the June 17 1987 "Anti-Kreuzberg Protective Wall" action can be found here.
This is a flier passed out in advance of the action including a mock-up of the future pass needed to travel between West Berlin and Kreuzberg.
The text of the flier declares:
Dear Residents of Berlin!
"We will not allow our beautiful Berlin to be destroyed by the Kreuzberg Anti-Berliners!. For this reason (and due to the great success of the Kreuzberg blockade from June 12), we have decided in a secret session to construct an anti-Kreuzberger Protection Wall. Beginning today, at 6 pm on the 17th of June, the Senator for Architecture and the Interior will lay the first piece of the border crossing on Kottbusser Bridge, and the public is invited to attend the festive moment.
The Senate of Berlin thanks the relief units from the police, who, together with the buiding veterans in the GDR national defense troops, have brought about this fast and courageous achievement--a great collective German-German gesture against international terrorism. As a result, the opening of this building project can be seen as one of the first major milestones of the 750th Anniversary Celebration. It is certainly also, as a spontaneous project of German-wide architectural arts, a worthy contribution to the International Building Exhibition 1987.
We are letting Berliners know, that once the building project is complete in just a few weeks, one will not be able to reach Kreuzberg Southeast without a pass. It can be found at theater box offices and police stations. Otherwise, we advise that individuals traveling to the areas outside their sphere of order in the unprotected enclosure of SO-36 do so at their own risk. Please report any noteworthy incidents as you leave the area.
Everything continues to get better in Berlin!
A new war shall never again start on Kreuzberg soil!
-The Senate of Berlin