Eat the Wall
Eat the Wall, Berlin, 2008
In June 2008 Ali&Cia participated in the NEW LIFE BERLIN festival organised by WOOLOO.ORG with their project Eat the Wall in which the city of Berlin was called on to contribute to a more open society through the collective cooking, building and subsequent consumption of a wall made of food.
Almost 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eat the Wall, a collective, anonymous project, invited critical reflection on the separation barriers that still exist around the world as well as the more subtle barriers constructed socially and individually, implicitly and internally, that shut us off from those with whom we share our environment.
For Eat the Wall Berliners from all walks of life that perhaps rarely have occasion to meet, community groups and activists from various backgrounds and neighbourhoods, were invited to address issues of social exclusion and dialogue in culinary contributions that were then used to build a wall. Just as other walls have been transformed into canvases for colourful artistic expression and intervention, filled with messages of despair and of hope, this edible wall was a depository of all our wishes for dialogue and understanding, to be shared and chewed over.
The wall was 1.2 metres wide by 1.8 metres high, completely dividing two very distinct spaces in the exhibition space Showroom Scala. It was constructed by employing a base structure of large containers into which the edible bricks brought by the public were incorporated. The master baker and alchemist Peter Klann from the SoLuna bakery in Berlin designed a loaf especially for the project, combining traditional ingredients from both East and West. Participants were also invited to create memorial candles to attach to the wall and to graffiti it with edible letters and icing sugar stencils.
The public that came to experience the separation of the wall and help bring it down were split up arbitrarily upon arrival, sent to either one or the other side of the wall depending on their birth date. A small platform was available for participants to climb up and try to see over to where their friends and family were.
From contemplation to consumption, the public then ate their way through the divide to be reunited in a grand communal catharsis. From barrier to banquet, all who attended celebrated the way in which cooking, sharing food and eating together breaks down barriers, bridges difference, and forges relationships.
As part of the performance Leo Königsberg and Christian Glass, two Berlin-based musicians, played a piece of music using their space cello, voice, various samples and other props. While partially composed beforehand, they also improvised, responding to the narrative arc played out by all the participants: from separation and loss through to anticipation and finally triumph and catharsis.
Much of the food that was left over was carried home by participants, the rest was taken to a soup kitchen. The event thus spread to other venues to be shared with still more people.
Eat the Wall was made possible thanks to the generous support of SoLuna and Hotel Bogotá:
Ali&Cia's dossier: On the Construction of Edible Walls (Spanish) (download pdf)
New Life Berlin Festival(download pdf)
Peta Jenkin, Shift webzine, June 2008
Grupo Ali&Cia construirá muro comestible que el público derribará y desgustará (download pdf)
Yahoo Noticias, 14/6/2008
Radio report by Martina Gros for Deutschlandfunk
Eat the Wall (1) (see video)
Video report by Julia Reinecke for Hobnox (Part 1)
Eat the Wall (2)(see video)
Video report by Julia Reinecke for Hobnox (Part 2)