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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 23 - 2016, No. 3

Hiding Hedonism in Plain Sight: Acoustic Participatory Camouflage at the DDR Museum in Berlin

, pages: 237-254

This article illustrates the process of acoustic participatory camouflage associated with the organisation of exhibits and space within a place of memory. The DDR Museum is a place of memory that exhibits memorabilia and artefacts of the former state of East Germany, comprised of two sections that structure sense-making about the socialist state. An ethnographic content analysis of photographs and notes taken during two visits to the museum demonstrate that many of the texts and materials portray former East German citizens as hedonistic and juvenile. In addition, the exhibits invite visitors to engage in actions that simultaneously disguise and reinforce negative connotations associated with those portrayals. Ultimately, the museum builds public memory about the average East German citizen as a hedonistic juvenile dupe manipulated by external Soviet forces. Such a public memory plays a role in shaping the experiential cityscape of Berlin for former citizens and tourists alike.

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