Image: Sonja Hornung & Richard Pettifer
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Performance by Sonja Hornung & Richard Pettifer
Big Demo is the ceremonial demolition of the former Australian Embassy to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
The building was completed in 1975, the result of promising brown coal trade between the GDR and Australia. It functioned as an embassy until 1986, when operations were moved to Warsaw. Following the Berlin Wall’s demolition, the site was privatised to a medical laboratory, then to a media company that went bankrupt in 2016. Today, the former embassy is owned by real estate developers Prexxot, whose plans to convert the building into high-end owner-occupied apartments are currently in limbo.
The work is the latest in a series by duo Sonja Hornung and Richard Pettifer aimed at provocatively and speculatively investigating forms of finance, diplomacy, and environmental degradation. Previous works have seen them opening an embassy on a wall (Mauer Botschaft, 2013), eating 100 euros (100 Euro Dinner, 2013), speculating on the Romanian cyanide spill caused by Australian company Esmeralda (What we do not own is bought and sold, 2017), and initiating a mass jump into the Rhine during the UN’s COP23 negotiations (Rheinsprung, 2017).
For Big Demo, visitors are invited to join the festivities as this infrastructural relic is disappeared before your very eyes.
Big Demo takes place as part of Art Spin 2018, a community based interactive bike and art tour of creative venues, site-specific art performances and installations throughout various Berlin neighborhoods.