Memorial for the NSU Victims

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.