On January 19, 2001, an explosive device detonated in an Iranian grocery store on Probsteigasse in Cologne and seriously injured the daughter of the owner. On June 9, 2004, twenty-two people were in some cases seriously injured as a result of a planned mass murder with a nail bomb on Keupstraße in Cologne, an area where many immigrants live. In 2011 it was revealed that the terrorist, racist, so-called NSU Network was responsible for both bomb attacks and had committed two more attacks and ten murders in a seven-year period.
In 2016 the city of Cologne organized an artistic competition for a memorial on Keupstraße to commemorate the nail bomb attack by the so-called NSU on Keupstraße on June 9, 2004, and on Probsteigasse on January 19, 2001. The design by the Berlin artist Ulf Aminde, selected in November of the same year, is based on his conversations with local residents and initiatives in Cologne and combines the idea of a memorial with a meeting place.
The work uses the floor plan of the building at Keupstraße 29, the place where the nail bomb exploded in 2004. The original foundation of the building measures approximately six by twenty-four meters.
At exactly the same angle and parallel to the original building, a concrete slab around thirty centimeters thick will be built at the corner of Keupstraße and Schanzenstraße. In its abstract shape, it stands for a foundation of a building that remains to be built. It points to a future community based solely on diversity and solidarity. The idea is to create a foundation. The memorial is also meant to be a place of remembrance, a communal space for the neighborhood, a meeting place.
Using the concrete slab's geographic data, with a Wi-Fi network and an app, any smartphone or tablet can transform the foundation into a building that extends infinitely upward. The walls consist of videos that can be activated and viewed by users on their devices. The multitude of videos thus create a virtual building on the smartphone, which anyone can enter. Everyone is also invited to participate in the construction of the building, in which they can produce and upload videos themselves.
The idea is to create a forum for knowledge situated around immigration. The memorial will become a cinematic stage and a curated archive for all kinds of resistance against racism. The videos will be created in the context of the neighborhood in collaboration with schools and university students, among others. There are also documentaries about the state’s failure to catch the perpetrators and in the treatment of the victims and their loved ones by the police and intelligence services. There will also be a video archive on the history of immigrant resistance to all forms of racism and exclusion as well as solidarity with these struggles.