Echoes of the Cold War

In the student art exhibition „Echoes of the Cold War“, the Expanded Media master’s program at Hochschule Darmstadt presented five media installations that offered an insight into the students’ creative approach to historical events. For this we collaborated with Hochschule Darmstadt in 2023 and at the start of 2024 to develop digital experiences for the Point Alpha memorial site, narrating the story of the inner-German border in Thuringia and Hessen.

In a world where technologies are changing rapidly, each week brings forth new applications that open doors for new creativity in historytelling. Students, more than anyone else, are open to experimenting with various tools and apps, playing a central role in shaping the future of digital historytelling.

At eCommemoration, we see supporting the next generation in this dynamically evolving field as a key element.

Our briefing challenged students to use the power of artistic expression and abstraction to create impactful stories inspired by their visit to Point Alpha.

You will find brief summaries of the five projects exhibited in Darmstadt in February 2024 below.

  • Fotos: Katharina Schäffer/Körber-Stiftung

Hold the Line

An exploration of the Cold War morality

In Hold the Line participants are invited to embody the roles of GDR soldiers, grappling with the moral quandaries of a possible border breach through a captivating fusion of projection mapping, audio, and acting. This immersive experience transcends mere spectatorship, evolving into a real-time, fictional drama that blurs the boundaries between reality and simulation. Through the synergy of technology and acting, emotional resonance is heightened, providing a multifaceted exploration of historical morality along the Cold War frontier in three-dimensional depth.

By Felix Venne, Saman Dashtizad, Philipp Petry, Kiana Samiee, Ajay

Unusual Witness

An exploration of nature’s resilience in the midst of human conflict

In Unusual Witness participants are thrust into the challenges confronted by animals along the Cold War border between East and West Germany. Through an innovative 3-channel video projection at Checkpoint Alpha near Geisa, viewers guide a deer through the Thuringian Forest, symbolizing wildlife’s struggles amidst human geopolitical tensions. As the narrative unfolds, the deer’s journey becomes a poignant metaphor for nature’s resilience in conflict. Visitors become unconventional witnesses to the animal kingdom’s struggles in wartime.

By Johann Pauli, Aadhithian Ramanathan, Jagrut Raval, Florence Lai, Emanuel Braun

“It’s fascinating to find evidence of wildlife and nature flourishing in the region around the border, contrary to an intuitive belief that militarisation of the border area would destroy nature and wild-life. Despite human interference, nature will eventually find its way back to balance and restoration.”


A reflection on the fate of families

In Devision a thought-provoking spatial installation, a compelling audio-visual narrative unfolds, intricately weaving the tale of two teenagers divided by the iron curtain. As participants navigate through this immersive experience, the installation delicately exposes the complexities of familial ties strained by ideological divides and political turmoil of family members. By adopting an abstract approach, „Devision“ intentionally evokes discomfort, compelling viewers to confront the unsettling realities of fractured families and individual fates, chained to the consequences of global divisions.

By Servil Emre, Gian Dion Dubberke, Simran Shanker, Chanda Gauranga, Sean Goßler

Live the Inevitable

A hypothetical view of tensions of the Cold War

In Live the Inevitable participants are propelled into contemplation of the hypothetical trajectory that could have plunged the Cold War into a global catastrophe. Assuming the role of an American soldier stationed on watchtower duty along the inner German border, participants bear witness to a nightmarish descent toward the brink of a potential third world war. Through meticulous audio-visual projection mapping, this immersive experience serves as a catalyst for profound reflection on the precarious balance that once hung between historical events, underscoring the chilling proximity of the Cold War to an unimaginable reality.

By Niklas Meisch, Alexander Leo, Lars Skogseide

“Step into the shoes of an American soldier on Watch Tower duty at OP Alpha. Under the intense pressure and stress of an incident at the border, he imagines the worst case scenario. Watch his fears manifesting as a giant, unstoppable red tsunami washing over the landscape and rolling into West Germany, destroying everything in its path.”

A Conflict of the Mind

A contemplation of soldiers psyche

In A Conflict of the Mind viewers are presented with a compelling exploration of the psychological landscape experienced by a returning Blackhorse Regiment soldier. Through the manipulation of light, this installation effectively conveys the tumultuous inner workings of the soldier’s mind, laying bare their deepest fears and longings. The deliberate use of light effects serves to create a visual dichotomy, symbolizing the division within the soldier’s psyche. This division invites viewers to delve into the complexities of the soldier’s experience, prompting contemplation on the intersecting factors shaping the lives and mental well-being of border soldiers, spanning from the historical context of the Cold War to the present day.

By Kristina, Vijay, Xheanda, Shadi, Young

Sharing History, Heritage and Memory through Games

With the development of the Central and Eastern European gaming industry came an interesting opportunity to use games as a vehicle for narratives about the past viewed from a perspective different from the American and Western European view, strongly dominating in the field of games and popular culture in general. Hidden&Dangerous (1999) is a Czech game about British commandos during World War Two, a common theme in popular WW2 stories – but the player may choose soldiers coming from occupied Czechoslovakia and Poland, learning about their backstories, and getting glimpses of the horror of the war in Central and Eastern Europe.

Games became a great way of telling the global audience about local memories and experiences. It is no wonder, then, that some of them also touched upon the experience of living in the Soviet Bloc – and ways of remembering it.

Games became a great way of telling the global audience about local memories and experiences. It is no wonder, then, that some of them also touched upon the experience of living in the Soviet Bloc – and ways of remembering it.

Games became a great way of telling the global audience about local memories and experiences.

Because you read “Under the Shadow of Hammer and Sickle”.