Re-Contextualizing Bismarck @ Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg

Hybrid Space Lab is invited to develop ideas for artistic intervention possibilities at the Bismarck Monument in the Alter Elbpark in Hamburg and to suggest ways in which the monument could be set in a new context.

Lecture & Panel Discussion @ Re-Contextualizing the Hamburg Bismarck MonumentMinistry of Culture and Media Hamburg, Germany, 16 September 2021

The recent worldwide uproars, protests, and debates on how to righteously deal with – and collectively process colonialism-laden and racist monuments and heritage have reached the dispute surrounding Hamburg’s Bismarck Monument in the Alter Elbpark.

Dedicated to the first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and erected in 1906, the Bismarck Monument in the Alter Elbpark was funded by the Hamburg shipowners and traders. As the largest monument in the world dedicated to Bismarck, Hamburg’s 35-meter-high Bismarck statue looms large over the city, facing the river Elbe and the harbor.

The large network of catacombs in and under the monument’s pedestal functioned during the Second World War as an air-raid shelter, offering protection for up to 650 people. The monument also includes a central underground space featuring National-Socialist emblems.

As a listed heritage site, the monument is currently being renovated for around nine million euros. As the publicly sourced financing covers also the cost for the conservation of the National Socialist symbols and memory, this has further strengthened the contestation of the monument – in Hamburg and Germany, more broadly.

Initiated by civil society, criticism of the ongoing restoration of the monument, has highlighted the need for a re-contextualization of the monumental statue, whose setting, use, and meaning have complexly intertwined references to colonialism, National Socialism, discrimination, and issues of social justice.

The workshop focusses therefore on developing artistic concepts and on formulating co-creative methods for developing inclusive processes to re-contextualize the Hamburg Bismarck Monument.


Welcome Address

Verena Westermann, Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg


Dr. Lynda Chinenye Iroulo, German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg


Prof. Dr. Margit Kern, Art Historian, Hamburg University
Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi and Prof. Frans Vogelaar, Hybrid Space Lab, Berlin
Dior Thiam, Artist, Berlin
Georges Adéagbo, Artist and Curator, Benin/Hamburg
Joiri Minaya , Artist and Curator, New York
Projection Bismarck, Artists and Scientists Collective, Hamburg
Yolanda Gutiérrez, Artist, Mexico City/Hamburg

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