In easyjet’s in-flight magazine November 09, I read an article titled bauhaus vunder–a fashion shoot in front of “Bauhaus” icons in Berlin. So, what’s not to love?
Leaving aside that these fashion pictures (fashion + models) look to me like the sort of 80’s horror that I hoped had died along with Duran Duran, there is nothing bauhaus about them… and wunder is still spelt with a “w” inspite of the many reruns of “‘ello, ‘ello“. Some pictures are taken in front of Daniel Libeskind’s German-Jewish museum, others at the Holocaust Memorial. Libeskind’s structure is anything but Bauhaus—it is a building that is designed to disorientate and surprise. It has nothing of the cool form-follows-function predictability of Bauhaus.
I am generally not a big fan or friend of memorials–they have a tendency to be instrumentalised by calculated piety and “Berufsbetroffenheit”. Racist, homophobic, genocidal, or corrupt politicians of all colours are scrambling to be seen laying wreaths at the feet of these memorials without batting an eye lid. As a rule, if there is a TV or press camera around, the original meaning of such a memorial is turned into its opposite. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin has always felt different to me; rather than being purely symbolic, it is a sensual experience. One can lose orientation amongst its hard, relentless monoliths. There is no way of predicting what is around the corner. It is about modernist dreams turning into nightmares, a merciless machine that swallows up men, women, and children. It does require a moment’s reflection and attention to appreciate the horror, which it reminds of. No such reflection for our “bauhaus vunder” crew. The genocide of 6 million Jews (plus the many other victims–Sinti and Roma, gays, communists, people with congenital illnesses., Russians…–whose memory has been excluded from the memorial by its planners, but which remains inseparable from it) to them is just a lovely backdrop for a little fashion sale. Shame they did not go all the way… morbidly anorexic models with shaven heads in striped suits, for instance. I bet someone was just doing their job…