Checkpoint Charlie — ASN Events

Checkpoint Charlie (16589)

Alex Selenitsch 1
  1. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

For the duration of the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin was one of the most iconic border crossings between two ideologies of world domination. Since the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the site has become a tourist attraction and its scale miniaturized to a small hut with adjoining signs and paraphernalia.

During a visit to Checkpoint Charlie, and on the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2, I felt that its scale, the confrontation of two ideologies and its birth in the aftermath of WW2 resonated with the discussion – in German and Russian and sometimes English – over the kitchen table in my parents’ house in Geelong. Even though they were displaced persons, they were still keen observers and voluble commentators on the confrontation that Checkpoint Charlie so charmingly represented.

An impulse to bring together my childhood kitchen table, my parents’ discussions and the physical reality of the remnants of Checkpoint Charlie, prompted a creative project; a table, at which boundaries and crossings and confrontations would be physically enacted. The project would use the table as a way of interrogating the checkpoint hut, and the hut as a way of illuminating the table. So far, the work consists of some drawings, some models, sculptures, and a text.

This presentation would be a discussion of the project’s context, and some of its working methods. The key to the project is the method of thinking through making, and creating through spatial objects and systems, ideas normally discussed through temporal prose.