Call for ideas: castle appropriation

Call for ideas: castle appropriation


July 2, 2024
Call for ideas: castle appropriation

Submission deadline: September 15, 2024
Berlin Palace
Schloßpl. 1
10178 Berlin

The Humboldt Forum, built between 2013 and 2020, presents itself in the shell of the palace of the Prussian kingdom and the German Empire. As an idealised cover memory, it suppresses the complex history of the site in the 19th and 20th centuries: Imperialism and the oppression of minorities, the revolution of 1918, the period of the Weimar Republic, the Second World War, the division of Germany and the GDR, but also the peaceful reunification and the cultural appropriation of the Palace of the Republic. The history of the site now also includes the role of right-wing extremist circles in the “faithful” reconstruction. The radicalisation of the reconstruction project, which goes beyond the Bundestag resolution of 2002—such as the Christian-fundamentalist charge of the dome slogan—has gradually marginalised and even eradicated other, critically reflected views of German history at this site.

The non-relationship between the external appearance of the building and the utilisation concept of the Humboldt Forum is also problematic. The legitimising reference to the royal art chambers cannot bridge this discrepancy. And to the extent that it does, it exacerbates the problem of the external appearance. For the collections on display inside are of colonial origin and the result of an imperial Prussian-German history of violence. Their presentation raises the question of the relationship of the Prussian-German monarchy and history to colonialism, without any critical thematisation having taken place to date.

It is time to break with the uncritical glorification of Prussia and change the external appearance of the Humboldt Forum. We are therefore inviting artists, designers and architects to submit proposals that use artistic means to visualise the repressed layers of the site and inscribe them into the façades of the Humboldt Forum. In addition to permanent, physical forms of intervention, we are also interested in temporary, performative and artistic-research works.

Artistic contributions are also possible that deal with fundamental changes to the programming, governance and handling of the collections, if these proposals also emerge in the urban space; because it remains essential to question the current character of the public space through the building.

The status quo should not be seen as the end point of a painful process, but as a starting point that can be transformed and developed as part of a culture of remodelling that is open to different views and perspectives on history and takes into account the diversity of today’s society.

This call for ideas is the first step in a campaign that demands that the federal government, as owner and operator, further develops its building and organises a competition for the realisation of corresponding art-in-architecture projects and implements the result. 

Submission of ideas: Works can be submitted digitally until September 15 on our website.

Selection: The organiser will make a selection depending on the type of communication, whereby a broad spectrum of ideas is to be maintained in any case and no ranking will be determined. The selection committee consists of: Julia Grosse, Annette Maechtel, Hito Steyerl.

Presentation and publication: The works will be presented and discussed on October 10 at the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) Berlin and published in a book by DOM-Publishers as well as communicated in other ways.

Invited artists who have confirmed their participation are:, The Department / Theo Deutinger, Förderverein Palast der Republik, Max Graf, Mischa Leinkauf, Ligna, Esper Postma, Anike Joyce Sadiq, Karin Sander, Space Lab, Daniel Theiler, Ina Wudtke & Dieter Lesage.

To be submitted
–Key visual: Representation of a freely chosen exterior view of the castle with the artistic intervention, 300 dpi at 25 cm width
–Explanatory text, one page A4
–Optionally up to three further images of your choice
–Author’s declaration
–(Preferred) file formats: txt, rtf, jpg, pdf, mp4, mp4a, upload limit: 15 MB. A link can be provided for larger films.
Works can be submitted here:

The organiser provides photographic material and information on historical and current traces on its website, which can be used by participants to present their own ideas. These material can be found here:

Queries: Questions can be sent to the organiser at These will be answered verbally at an online colloquium on Monday, July 15, 2024 at 5pm on zoom. Zoom link here.

A recording of the colloquium will be made available online.

Cooperation partner: Aedes Aedes Architecture Forum, ARCH+, Bureau n, DOM publishers, nGbK, OFFscreen, taz Blogs, University of Kassel—FG ATH.

Initiators: Klaus Brake, urban researcher and planner / Elisabeth Broermann, architect / Max Czolleck, publicist. Christian Koppe, historian / Kristin Feireiss, curator / Harry Friebel, sociologist / Theresa Keilhacker, architect / Doris Kleilein, publishing director / Detlef Kurth, urban planner / Anton Maegerle, investigative journalist / Philipp Meuser, architect and publisher / Silke Neumann, communications expert / Anh-Linh Ngo, Editor-in-Chief / Philipp Oswalt, architect and publicist / Fred Plassmann, filmmaker / Eike Roswag-Klinge, architect / Agnieszka Pufelska, historian / Yvonne Rothe, artist/graphic designer / Philipp Ruch, artist / Ulrike Steglich, journalist / Alexander Stumm, architectural scientist / Tina Veihelmann, journalist / Anna Yeboah, curator and architect / Jürgen Zimmerer, historian.

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July 2, 2024

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