Artists resurrect Berlin Wall for epic film-art installation

The project, which has signed up Marina Abramovic and Massive Attack, will create a "city within a city"

Twenty-nine years after Mikhail Gorbachev tore down the Berlin Wall, the fractious barrier between east and west is set to rise again to launch “a political and social debate about freedom and totalitarianism, surveillance, co-existence and national identity” in the form of art.

Led by Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky, the experience will seek to create a “city within a city”, which will include the premiere of Khrzhanovsky’s mysterious DAU film project, and has also signed up performance icon Marina Abramovic, street artist Banksy and the band Massive Attack to take part.

Come October, visitors to the parallel world entitled “Dau Freiheit” must buy "visas" and when entering the walled area, they will have to exchange their cellphones for an internet-less smartphone - each providing individual instructions for a tour including documentaries, exhibits or concerts. Inside the walled block, there will also be viewing platforms from which visitors can peer out to Berlin - in contrast to the Cold War platforms where people could peek into East Berlin from the West.

The artists behind the project are however, not interested in creating a "Disney-style East Germany". Instead, the intention is more focused on creating an experience of traveling to a foreign country and losing the sense of freedom. Thus, visitors will not know in advance what kind of events will take place on the day they're "in the city within the city". And while being there they might be led to a fake conference of scientists or a meeting with a counselor. If they reject that offer, they will be suggested another event.

"It is not a film premiere but a mixture of social experiment, artistic experiment and... an impressive form of world-building," Thomas Oberender, director of culture festival Berliner Festspiele which will host the mega-event said at a Berlin press conference.

The district that will be walled in lies on the city's Unter den Linden boulevard and will include the famous State Opera, the Kurfuerstenpalais Palace and other historic buildings.

The immersive art installation designed to emulate life in an unfamiliar country will be torn down 9 November - 29 years after the original Berlin Wall came down. The original wall was built by communist East Germany and divided the city from 1961-89.

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