TV Towers – 8,559 Meters Politics and Architecture

Exhibition at the German Architecture Museum (Deutsches Architektur Museum) DAM, Frankfurt, 2009

Be it in Moscow, Belgrade, Berlin or Cairo – there is hardly a city or nation wanting to present itself as progressive that has resisted the showy construction of a television tower. The TV towers that have risen up over cities since 1950 are almost always symbols of social change or political and economic power. No other type of building in the second half of the 20th century was as politically charged as the television tower.

The global distribution of the towers, which began in 1956 with the inauguration of the Stuttgart Television Tower, traces the political history of the 20th century. The ideological competition between the East and West was followed by rivalry between global cities as to which could be most attractive to tourists and corporations. The first television towers were mainly built in Europe and are currently almost exclusively built in emerging countries in Asia and the Middle East.

The exhibition will showcase 25 realized or planned television towers in Ashgabat, Auckland, Barcelona, Baghdad, Belgrade, Berlin, Brasilia, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Yekaterinburg, Johannesburg, Cairo, Las Vegas, Liberec, Moscow, Prague, Riga, Shanghai, Stuttgart, Tashkent, Tehran, Tokyo (2), Toronto and Vilnius. There have never been so many TV towers in one exhibition before.

Unlike in many architecture exhibitions, visitors to the DAM will not find any architectural models, renderings or engineering plans, but rather a collection of objects from everyday culture: stamps and postcards, cocktail mixers and cheese skewers, bedside lamps and schnapps bottles, pens, snow globes, puzzles and candles. The DAM will become a souvenir shop documenting the variety of individual ways (state) architecture is adopted.

 

Curators: Friedrich von Borries, Matthias Böttger, Florian Heilmeyer (raumtaktik)
Graphic design: Lazlo Toffel, Berlin
Team: Wiesje Bijl, Anne Horny, Benjamin Kasten, Ragna Körby, Anne Levy, Keke Ye, Philipp Kress, Nicolas Rauch
Duration: October 03, 2009 - January 31, 2010, German Architecture Museum (Deutsches Architektur Museum) DAM, Frankfurt