Explosive history:
“Detonation Deutschland”

Julian Rosefeldt (*1965) and Piero Steinle (*1959)

Snippet from media installation by Julian Rosefeldt and Piero Steinle, 7 monitors, ca. 54 min.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

This still from a black-and-white video shows the demolition of a multi-storey building from the period before the First World War as it is blown up. The floors are slightly askew, the roof has partially collapsed. A pale dust cloud spreads over the ground. A bare tree stands in front, the earth has been furrowed by construction vehicles.

The history of the German nation as one long series of collapsing buildings – the title of the video installation “Detonation Deutschland” by Julian Rosefeldt (*1965) and Piero Steinle (*1959) is supposed to be taken literally. Seven screens project a montage of film clips recording demolitions from 1945 until the present. Fragments of original sound are also part of the work, overlaying the imagery, but sometimes out of sync.

This cinematic journey stretches from the reconstruction spirit of the post-war years to the construction boom after the Wall fell. The synchronicity and juxtaposition of the projections speaks a clear message: architecture as an embodiment of cultural identity and history is obliterated again and again to create space for something purportedly better – a constant process of suppression and destruction. The detonations in this video, which lasts almost an hour, testify to the transience of political and social systems. Ideologies come and go, and their symbols with them.

Detonation Deutschland
Sprengbilder einer Nation
7-screen video installation, PAL, aspect ratio 4:3, colour, sound, ca. 54 min loop
Acquired with funds from the Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin by the Senate Department for Culture, Berlin, 2011

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