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Opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of PoznanPhoto (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

European Diversity
Disappearing Wall

The interactive wall installation Disappearing Wall combines quotes from European high and pop culture to demonstrate Europe’s diversity. From summer 2020, the striking installations could be seen in ten European countries. In Cyprus the Disappearing Wall was shown in October and November in Nicosia. The event in Limassol was postponed due to Covid-19 and will take place in 2021.

Whether it’s a quote from Hannah Arendt, a lyric from a Beatles tune, a line from the film Amélie, or a statement by the Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész, the quotes chosen in local competitions for the installations are diverse. Through local competitions a diverse selection of quotes for the installation was made. In Cyprus over 100 quotes were submitted, in Cypriot dialect, as well as Greek, Turkish, English, German and French language. Participants took part in a raffle for a German language course, a tablet and ten 50 Euro gift vouchers at bookstores. The draw took place during the lockdown on Facebook on 16 April 2020.

Verschwindende Wand: Verlosung Zypern
Video: Goethe-Institut Cyprus
The raffle

The over 800 submitted quotes from all participating countries formed a longlist. In each participating European country, a jury will select the 150 favourite quotes, which will be engraved on 6.000 wooden blocks in their original language as well as in translation.

The blocks form the core elements of the Disappearing Walls – public space installations that were set up in central locations in ten European countries from summer 2020. The countries involved include Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain/Northern Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus. This means that quotes that were submitted in Cyprus could be selected in Spain or the Netherlands or vice versa.

The Disappearing Wall took place on 24 and 25 October 2020 at Faneromeni Square and on 28 and 29 November 2020 at Sarayönü Square in Nicosia. The event that was planned on 7 and 8 November 2020 in Limassol, had to be postponed and will take place later in 2021. After the installation’s unveiling passers-by are permitted to take a block of quotes home with them. All that remains is the transparent Plexiglas grid that held them: the wall disappears.


At Faneromeni Square

The Disappearing Wall at Faneromeni Square in Nicosia, 24/25 October 2020

  • The installation at Faneromeni Square, in front of an Orthodox church, between two roll-up banners. Ten visitors are standing or walking around the wall. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    The art installation "Disappearing Wall" was presented on October 24th and 25th, 2020 at Faneromeni Square in Nicosia.
  • Standing in front of the wall (from left to right): the Ambassador, who is giving a speech standing behind the microphone, the representative of the Nicosia Municipality and the Director of the Goethe-Institut Cyprus. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    The installation was unveiled by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cyprus, Mr. Franz Josef Kremp, in the presence of Ms. Eleni Loucaidou, representative of the Nicosia Municipality.
  • Side view of the wall with visitors wearing protective masks reading quotes on the wooden blocks on either side. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    After the unveiling, visitors rushed with excitement to the installation.
  • Wooden blocks in a transparent plexiglass frame. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    The installation consists of 6,000 wooden blocks with 150 quotations engraved on them.
  • A young woman is pulling a wooden block out of the wall © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    Visitors could choose a few wooden blocks and take these home.
  • A man with a face mask is crouching in front of the wall and has three wooden blocks in his hands. He is reading the quote on the block in his right hand. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    In compliance with all hygiene measures, the guests spent their time choosing the wooden blocks with their favorite quotes.
  • Close up of five wooden blocks placed on a table. On two of them one can read quotations from Heraclitus and Hermann Hesse. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    Inspirational quotes from European thinkers, writers and artists have been engraved on wooden blocks in their original language and translation.
  • Two hands holding a mobile phone and taking a picture of the wall. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    Around 1,500 people visited the Disappearing Wall in Nicosia and shared their pictures on social media.
  • Behind the wall, from which several blocks have been removed, two male figures can be seen. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
    The more passers-by picked their favourite quotes from the wall, the more transparent the wall became, until in the end it almost disappeared!

At Sarayönü Square

The Disappearing Wall at Sarayönü Square in the northern part of Nicosia, 28/29 November 2020

  • The installation at Sarayönü Square, in front of the Dikilitas column, under an awning. In front of it is the banner of the Goethe-Institut and next to it are groups of people. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    The art installation "Disappearing Wall" was presented on November 28th and 29th, 2020 at Sarayönü Square in the northern part of Nicosia.
  • The Ambassador and the Turkish Cypriot Mayor of Nicosia are standing in front of the installation and are about to untie a green ribbon. Someone is holding a camera in front of them. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    The installation was unveiled by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cyprus, Mr. Franz Josef Kremp, and the Turkish-Cypriot Mayor of Nicosia, Mr. Mehmet Harmancı.
  • The wall installation under the awning. There are four people in front of it and a queue can be seen on the right side. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    After the unveiling, visitors stood in queues for their turn to come closer.
  • Close-up of part of the wall filled with wooden blocks. A woman in a black pullover wearing sunglasses and a mask is holding a block in one hand and reading from it, while pulling another block from the wall with the other hand. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    The installation consists of 6,000 wooden blocks with 150 quotations engraved on them. Everyone could choose one or more quote-blocks to take with them.
  • A boy in a grey sweater stands in front of the wall and shows a wooden block with a quote from Schiller engraved on it in Turkish. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    The installation attracted visitors of all ages. Young children were particularly happy to take part.
  • Close-up of an empty slot in the wall, from which the wooden block was removed. A city monument can be seen through the plexiglass frame. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    As the quote-blocks are gradually removed, the wall starts disappearing.
  • Two journalists with masks - one holding a camera and the other holding a microphone - interview a lady with blond long hair and a lady with curly hair. In the background a banner of the Goethe-Institut, part of the installation and the building of a university. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    Journalists from different media were eager to cover the event and talk to the organisers (Karin Varga, Director of the Goethe-Institut Cyprus and Özge Tahiroglu from the Turkish Cypriot-German Cultural Association).
  • Night picture. One girl pulls a wooden block from an empty plexiglass frame. On her right we can see a hand taking a photo with a mobile phone. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    Shortly before the end of the event, a young couple was lucky enough to grab the very last block.
  • Night picture. The whole installation, which consists of a wooden frame, a wooden base and a transparent plexiglass frame, is set under a tent. © Goethe-Institut, Yetin Arslan
    At the very end, the wall has completely vanished: a symbolic act which shows that the walls we build can disappear with collective effort.

The interactive wall installation Disappearing Wall is based on an idea proposed by Maria Yablonina in a workshop carried out by the architect and engineer Werner Sobek and initiated by the Goethe-Institut.

The presentation of the Disappearing Wall in Cyprus will be accompanied by a sound installation created by the composer Nektarios Rodosthenous.

  • "In all beginnings dwells a magic force for guarding us and helping us to live." Hermann Hesse Illustration: Simone Philipou
    "In all beginnings dwells a magic force for guarding us and helping us to live." Hermann Hesse
  • "That is what islands are for; they are places where different destinies can meet and intersect in the full isolation of time." Lawrence Durrell Illustration: Simone Philipou
    "That is what islands are for; they are places where different destinies can meet and intersect in the full isolation of time." Lawrence Durrell
  • "It is not the wind's fault it scatters us – it is that we are leaves." Stephanos Pantelides Illustration: Simone Philipou
    "It is not the wind's fault it scatters us – it is that we are leaves." Stephanos Pantelides


Partner

The Disappearing Wall is a project by the Goethe-Institut, supported with special funds from the Federal Foreign Office for the German EU Council Presidency in 2020.

German Foreign Office and German EU Council Presidency 2020

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