New Anthems VI (Berlin)

New Anthems VI (Berlin) is the first international installation of our ongoing interactive series inviting creative participation in a public dialogue about national identity in a time of resurgent nationalism.

The work is a collaboration with A—Z, a new space in Berlin for experimental graphic design, and the Buchstabenmuseum – “the first museum in the world to collect letterforms from public spaces and display them as part of urban history”.

With the growing global reawakening of ultra-nationalism, social, cultural and religious stereotypes and symbols are being used to exclude and divide. Today in Germany the successful postwar rejection of the radical right appears to be undermined by the electoral gains of the anti-European Union, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Alternative für Deutschland and with the serious violence of the Chemnitz riots.

The interactive typographic sculpture consists of a mix of historical signage from East and West Berlin loaned from the collection of the Buchstabenmuseum. These found objects are assembled with internet connected LED screens enabling the display of user generated content.

The installation presents the most commonly cited line in Das Liedes der Deutschen (3rd verse) by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the current German national anthem:

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!

(Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!)

The words ‘Freiheit’ (Freedom) and ‘das deutsche Vaterland’ (For the German fatherland) are omitted and replaced with LED screens enabling participants to input their own words via SMS, and rewrite the text.

A website recorded the list of contributions.

More images on the blog.

Read more on Typeroom.

Pick up a copy of Eye magazine for a feature about the project.

See also versions III, III, IV, V

Photography Hans-Georg Gaul and Inkahoots