The excise wall was built around Berlin in the 1730s and by the end of the 1860s it had been almost completely removed. More than half of it ran through what is now the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district.
The wall had many functions. Its primary purpose was to collect a tax called “excise”. However, it had not only an economic but also a controlling function to regulate the entry and exit of people into the city. At the same time, the wall prevented the desertion of the soldiers housed in the city. Besides, it was also a bulwark for the defense of the city.
Today the wall has almost completely disappeared as a structure and in memory. However, its course and the position of individual gates are present in the names of many subway stations: Kottbusser Tor, Hallesches Tor, Schlesisches Tor or Oberbaumbrücke. Only one gate has survived and become the city's landmark: the Brandenburg Gate.
The temporary exhibition “The Wall Before the Wall - The Excise Wall Lab” deals with the excise wall and also illuminates it with questions of the present in the embattled city of Berlin. The exhibition becomes an open laboratory about a historical topic that shapes the city up to its present and invites especially young residents* in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg to artistic workshops before and during the exhibition, whose findings will be incorporated into the exhibition installation and in the public space.
A collaboration between colleagues 2, 3 and the FRI-X BERG youth art school.
Supported by funds from the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg District Culture Fund.