UNCG Research

Sheryl Oring collects wall memories in Berlin

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Posted on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 by UNCG Research.

Repost from UNCG NOW

The Berlin Wall evokes lots of memories. UNCG art professor Sheryl Oring has been in Berlin this fall capturing many of them.

She calls her performance art project “Maueramt.”

At her small table, she listens. She types on her manual typewriter. A unique document is created.

Each memory and story will become part of an Oring exhibition at The Kennedys Museum in Berlin opening later this week.

On Friday, Nov. 7, Oring will speak live via videoconferencing from this new art exhibition. The event at the EUC Auditorium is part of the UNCG’s “Looking Back, Moving Forward” symposium marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The 25th anniversary is Sunday, Nov. 9. On that day, she and “Maueramt” will be at the Berlin Wall Memorial, Bernauer Strasse, Berlin. She has already collected 186 stories – she expects on this day she’ll pass the 200 mark.

She has produced this performance art at various spots along the former wall, asking questions such as “What would you like the world to remember about the Berlin Wall?”

She has been struck by many stories such as one from Bernd Banach, who told her: “I was there on the 13th of August. We lived right at the wall. As a boy, I used to ride back and forth on my bicycle, east-west, east-west. My father lived in the west and until his death it wasn’t possible for me to visit him. In 1989 when the wall fell, he wasn’t with us any longer. And because my father went to the west, I had nothing but trouble professionally.”

The work follows the framework of  “Collective Memory,” a public memorial she was commissioned to create in New York City at the tenth anniversary of 9/11. There, typists took dictation in answer to the question, “What would you like the world to remember about 9/11?”

It’s a time of reflection in Berlin. “I think people would like to put the wall behind them but it takes generations to move out of the shadows of something of this magnitude,” she said earlier this week. “The anniversary itself provides a time for reflection and discussion, which helps process what is a difficult aspect of recent history for many Germans.”

More information is at http://www.sheryloring.org/maueramt and http://thekennedys.de/english/aktuelles/aktuell1.html.

Her blog is at http://www.sheryloring.org/blog/.