Saturday, November 15, 2014
Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Los Angeles, California

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the breach of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful at the J. Paul Getty Museum, scholars and artists reflect on the social impact of walls and barriers. Speakers address both the physical and symbolic significance of walls erected to contain and separate peoples. Scholars situate specific walls in historical and social contexts, examine their impact on local lives, and explore the dynamics of their local and global political roles. Visual artists speak about the role of art in mediating and ameliorating the presence of walls, echoing the profound impact Koudelka’s “Invasion” photographs had on world perception of the Cold War after ‘68.


Conference Schedule

9:00 – Check-in, coffee

9:30 – Welcome

Peter Tokofsky, J. Paul Getty Museum Education Department

Gail Kligman, UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies


9:40 – 10:10: Introduction

Alexandra Novosseloff, Centre Thucydide, University of Paris 2
“A World behind Walls? A Global Overview”


10:15 –12:15: Berlin Wall

Ines Weizman, Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar
“The Urban Arms Race over the Berlin Wall”

Julia Sonnevend, University of Michigan
“Berlin Wall: The Making of a Global Icon”

Christof Zwiener, Berlin-based artist and artist-in-residence at the El Segundo Museum of Art and the Wende Museum in Culver City
“The Largest Memorial Stone”


12:15-1:30: Lunch, exhibition viewing

1:30-3:45: Palestine Separation Barrier

Koudelka: Shooting Holy Land
Sneak preview of new film directed by Gilad Baram, an artist based in Berlin and Jerusalem who assisted Josef Koudelka when he was photographing the Separation Barrier

Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Miki Kratsman, Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, Jerusalem
“Infrastructures of Visibility Restrictions”

Discussion with Josef Koudelka, Gilad Baram, Eyal Weizman, and Miki Kratsman


3:45-4:15: Break

4:15-5:30: U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

Maurice Sherif, photographer and author of The American Wall
“Art and the American Wall”

Michael Dear, University of California, Berkeley
“Living in the Shadow of the Wall”


5:30- 6:00: Concluding Remarks

Gregory Rodriguez, Zócalo Public Square
“When You’re Stranded on the Other Side”


6:00 – 7:00: Reception