Installation view of twenty-two specimens at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2009. Shelf length: 20."
below: "Looking for the Berlin Wall (New Smyrna Beach, Florida)," photo documentation, October 2007.
The Berlin Wall
2008 - ongoing
Found specimens, brass plaques, plexi stands, and 20' display shelf with risers; ongoing collection.
Part of the solo exhibition "Total Fabrications: Stephanie Syjuco," at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 12/08.
This ongoing project involves a constant search for fragments of the "Berlin Wall" wherever I go. I attempt to find what I believe to approximate the look and feel of pieces of this iconic structure. The collection is composed of facsimilies found in backyards, urban street corners, suburbs, and wilderness areas all over the world. Engraved brass plaques are made to commemorate the day and place of finding.
The resulting collection of "proxy" chunks become a fictional collection that attempts to manifest the hopes and promises that the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall temporarily ushered in. As a pivotal moment in global history, its demolishing also brought on the hangover of economic globalization and the reality-check of liberal capitalism. As a loaded symbol, The Wall divided the "before" and "after" of the Cold War and the promise of democracy, leading to the oft-quoted "end of History" as described by American political economist Francis Fukuyama.
By transferring the "aura" of the original fragment onto the "found" version by plaques and labels, I see this project as a way to try to revisit and rethink the promise of that moment, and attempt to find it in the everyday objects that surround me.
On an equal level, this collection of faux souvenirs becomes a catalog of my own personal travels, the objects reflecting and documenting my own movements through the world and becoming a personalization of an event far removed and abstracted.