Last week’s 30th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall featured a 20,000 square-foot kinetic artwork created in Lincoln Heights.
“Visions in Motion," by Los Angeles artist Patrick Shearn, undulated in the air near Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate as part of the events celebrating the Peaceful Revolution.
Shearn and his team from the Lincoln Heights-based studio, Poetic Kinetics, went to Berlin to help set up and take down the floating, wave-like installation. The work was displayed in a section of where the wall once divided the city.
“It has been particularly gratifying to meet and speak with so many people from all over the world and to realize that our messages of hope and peace are largely the same,” Shearn said via email. “We are taught to fear each other, when in reality, there is no other.”
Kulturprojekte Berlin, a German arts organization, invited Shearn to create an artwork for the festivities. Shearn, the founder of Poetic Kinetics, has become known for specializing in large-scale art installations and experimental design.
Earlier this fall, artists from the studio assembled a 200-foot section of “Visions in Motion” in Elysian Park. The completed piece, when displayed in Berlin, was 450 feet in length.
According to Marnie Sehayek, Poetic Kinetics’ creative strategist and Shearn’s manager, the work was flown from LA to Berlin, where it was installed by Poetic Kinetics crew members with rigging assistance by Nawrocki Alpin, a German engineering company.
“The installation process was very smooth and successful,” Sehayek said.
In a campaign spearheaded by Kulturprojekte Berlin, messages from around the world were collected and written on approximately 30,000 streamers, which were then incorporated into the final piece.
One example of a message submitted for the piece was “Turn walls into bridges,” Sehayek said via email. Other examples — such as, “Love more, divide less,” and “Keine Wände mehr, keine Kriege mehr” (No more walls, no more wars) — can be found on the official Berlin Festival Week website.
Reactions to “Visions in Motion” were overwhelmingly positive, according to Sehayek.
“We met hundreds of people during the installation and display of the work, locals as well as visitors from over 30 countries,” Sehayek said. “The German people that we met were very moved by the work, some had tears in their eyes as we spoke. Many local school children contributed messages to the work and were thrilled to see it in person.”
The Los Angeles community was invited to submit messages through the Wende Museum of the Cold War in Culver City. The submissions were then mailed to Berlin and used in the installation, a museum official said.
Although the work is no longer on display, Sehayek said small sections of it will be archived in German collections, and Poetic Kinetics is currently in search of a meaningful venue to re-exhibit the work.
Flora Adamian is a freelance journalist, former reporting fellow at KCRW Berlin, and past editor of The Occidental.