When the Berlin Wall was built back in 1961, it literally went up overnight. Constructed first out of just barbed wire, then supplemented with concrete walls, landmines, and watch towers, the mauer split Berlin in half for nearly 30 years, until it one of the biggest bureaucratic gaffes of all time caused the wall to come down earlier than expected in 1989. To mark the anniversary of the fall of the wall, Berlin will once again cut the city in half starting in the middle of the night on November 7. But this time, it won’t be done with barbed wire–it’ll be done with balloons full of light.
Designed by light artist Christopher Bauder and film maker Marc Bauder, Lichtgrenze is a nearly 10-mile installation which will feature around 8,000 glowing white orbs, marking the original path of the Berlin Wall through the city. For two whole days, the German capital will once again be split between East and West, at least metaphorically.
Situated at six key locations along the path, Lichtgrenze will display historical footage of what was life in those areas while the wall was up. In addition, every 500 feet along the wall, visitors will be able to find personal anecdotes, memories, and stories–100 in total–from people who lived on both sides of the Wall, or whose lives were affected by it in some way.
The Lightgrenze will stay erected until November 9 at 7 p.m., at which point thousands of volunteers (called balloon patrons) will attach personal messages to the balloons and then disconnect their strings, sending the lit balloons streaking into the sky. But no need to worry about the environmental impact here: the balloons have been specially designed for the event by researchers at the University of Hannover to make sure that they are completely biodegradable.
If you’ll be in Berlin in the second week of November, you can volunteer to be a balloon patron here.
[h/t The Creator’s Project]