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Berlin's Monument to Gay Holocaust Victims: The Kiss Revealed

Memorial

Just a bit more on the memorial that was unveiled yesterday in memory of gay victims of the Holocaust in Berlin. One of the clips below is the actual unveiling.In the other clip, the artists who created the monument, Berlin-based Norwegian-Danish artist duo Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen, talk about the idea behind their design, and why featuring an endless loop video of a male couple kissing which is viewed as you peer through the tiny window, was important to them. Makes perfect sense.
(image above via daily dish)

And you're probably curious to see exactly what that clip looks like. You can watch it,
AFTER THE JUMP...

Kiss

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Major Monument to Gay Holocaust Victims Unveiled Today in Berlin [tr]

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Comments

  1. Wait...that's not Jamie Lee Curtis he's kissing?

    Posted by: Yeek | May 28, 2008 9:34:29 AM


  2. What the guy on the left said on the second video was dead on right:

    "...because that is the main problem in homophobia; you can get whatever rights, you can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don't want to look at us".

    Posted by: Gars | May 28, 2008 9:57:07 AM


  3. Still, I feel the need to bring a glitter gun and bejewel the whole thing.

    Posted by: yvespaul | May 28, 2008 11:52:41 AM


  4. Re: the video. I understand of course the kiss isn't supposed to be "hot," but shouldn't it at least inspire some emotional connection? That kiss has the sexual energy of two lava lamp blobs coming together. Slowly.

    Posted by: Timothy | May 28, 2008 12:08:25 PM


  5. The way that designer Michael Elmgreen describes the "main problem of homophobia" as only abstract acceptance, and the reason that they chose the memorial's imagery to provoke "those that don't want to look at us," is a PERFECT summation of the fear. Well, phobes, just keep on trying not to see us: it's a waste of energy. :)

    Posted by: Darren | May 28, 2008 12:25:49 PM


  6. I just wonder how many homophobes are going to take the time to go to the memorial and look into the hole in order to look at us?

    I'm sorry but the whole thing just falls flat on me.

    It looks like it was tucked away out of site (talk about not wanting to look at us) and they didn't even take the time or energy to landscape its surroundings to give it a setting of honor and respect.

    To me it looks like it was a half-assed effort that they didn't really want to do but since they were pressured they did the least they could get away with.

    It's a terrible shame that ALL the victims of the Nazi regime weren't included in ONE memorial rather than segregating them in exactly the way that made them all so vulnerable to the Nazis in the first place.

    I am very impressed with the commentary of the designers but I am much less impressed with their product.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 28, 2008 2:00:10 PM


  7. site = sight

    And by "they" I mean the German government; not the designers. I have no doubt that the designers, as artists, feel that this monument is their ultimate expression of rememberance. I salute them but I don't see their vision the way that they do.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 28, 2008 2:03:35 PM


  8. Sorry Kinder, it's still crap in a concrete crapper. The largest problem—of many—is, as Zeke alluded, is that it is set apart from the larger memorial to Jews. While echoing the cold, giant, grey concrete coffins of their design, standing alone it fails to emotionally register the way the mass of the whole of the memorial to Jews triumphs over its individual parts.

    http://www.tekla-szymanski.com/graphics/mahnmal6.gif

    The link below is to pix of other gay Holocaust victim memorials around the world, including the FIRST one in Berlin.

    http://andrejkoymasky.com/mem/holocaust/ho08.html

    Here's a separate link to the permanent memorial in San Francisco which doesn't seem to be showing at the page above.

    http://pinktrianglepark.org/

    And every Pride Weekend a temporary memorial in the form of a giant pink triangle is installed on the side of Twin Peaks overlooking the Castro:

    http://www.thepinktriangle.com/

    PS: in all instances ignore any assertions that lesbians were made to wear the black triangle. Historical revisionist nonsense.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 28, 2008 3:31:20 PM


  9. I like the kiss. Sure, it's a bit staged, but the boy on the right is beautiful. Still, most people actually move when they kiss. That almost looks like a first kiss, it's so awkward.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 28, 2008 3:43:52 PM


  10. The design despite whatever intent causes people to not see it. It just kind of fades away into looking like a huge trash bin at best. Something that anyone would simply not notice as it fades into the background.

    I am not saying that instead they should have a 500 ft tall pink pyramid with strobe lights, but something that doesn't so easily blend into the background and thus not even noticed would be better

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 28, 2008 4:51:18 PM


  11. Zeke,

    Visit Berlin first before judging. All of Berlin's Holocaust memorials are abstract. And they are also more moving in person. You won't get the full effect via internet or photograph. You actually have to experience it. It's a hard concept for Americans to get. We are a much more visual/aesthetics driven culture, evidenced by some posters wanting the kiss to be hotter? Just because you don't get it having not even experienced the memorial up close and personal doesn't mean the artists didn't achieve their objectives.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | May 28, 2008 7:15:09 PM


  12. The grey stele matches the look of the main Holocaust Memorial across the street:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningforasthma/263066626/

    The problem is this particular "gay" memorial is only one block. And therefore, the effect simply isn't the same. I think it should've been made part of the main memorial (rather than an arkward little stray on the other side of the street). Aside from the asethetic complaint, I dislike the symbolism here. Ironically, this arrangement segregates victims of Nazi oppression into a hierarchy of "importance" that the Nazis themselves might've found quite appealing.

    Posted by: John | May 28, 2008 8:05:15 PM


  13. John

    Thanks for that link. I have never seen a pic of the memorial.

    WOW. The main memorial is actualy aestheticaly pleasing for modernism

    Now I hate the gay memorial even more because it is totaly like being segregated.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | May 28, 2008 10:38:01 PM


  14. I think it looks like a Holocaust memorial. They tend to look like like that- abstract, colorless, and blocky- and I think this is a fine adaptation of the genre for the gay victims.

    I think complaints that this memorial segregates gays from other memorials are wrongwheaded: gay victims have ALWAYS been included in the main memorial, and most other memorials, few of which are specifically Jewish. This memorial was not essential because the victims were not otherwise commemorated.

    It was essential because sometimes the gays get left out when some people talk about the Holocaust. Some people deny that there were gay victims; others just find homosexuality icky and avoid mentioning it whenever possible. They need a big block with two actual queers kissing each other on the mouth like lovers on it to be reminded that they imitate the Nazis when they express their bigotry toward us. Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions has become very respectable.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | May 28, 2008 11:11:21 PM


  15. SUGGARHILL, you said, “Visit Berlin first before judging.”

    Please don't be so presumptive.

    I lived in Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland for eight years including two years in Berlin (when it was surrounded by East Germany (DDR). I’ve returned to Germany numerous times since, most recently in 2006. It is my adopted second home. Ich spreche fließend Deutsch. I would have pursued dual citizenship but my security clearance didn't allow it. I even met my American husband in Germany.

    I'm very aware of the Holocaust memorials in Berlin, across Germany and across Europe. I'm also familiar with the German aesthetic, particularly as it relates to public monuments. In the spring of 2006 I and my family spent hours at Das Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas which by the way I found to be an amazing, effective and worthy monument in spite of the fact that I seemed to be the only person in Berlin at the time who seemed to think so (but I guess that’s just because my American aesthetic would be more in tune with the American who designed it than it would be with the Berliners who hated it).

    My negative opinion of the memorial is not based in ignorance of Berlin, or the aesthetics of German holocaust memorials as you claim. To the contrary it is the result of a combination of my personal taste and the influences of my time and experiences living in and visiting Germany over the years.

    I’m pretty sure that my opinion of this monument would have been totally different if it had been incorporated into the main memorial among the 2,711 grey stelae. In my opinion the design would not only be better contextualized but the aesthetic and the concept would have been more clearly realized within the overall movement of the memorial.

    I realize that a person can't get the whole picture from a few snapshots on the internet but I don't think seeing it in person would make it any less of a big grey box with a hole in it, separated from the main memorial, standing alone on the edge of the woods with a few scrub shrubs thrown in on one corner.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 29, 2008 1:55:05 AM


  16. "presumptive" should be "presumptuous".

    Insomnia makes for poor grammar and vocabulary.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 29, 2008 1:58:23 AM


  17. Here some more information about the opening celebration:

    http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd4BuTWQpjw

    http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=lt1WPht9-DA

    Posted by: Pascal | May 29, 2008 7:52:22 AM


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