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Deutsches Technikmuseum - October

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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Exhibit of the month October 2018

Photo: The flat clip has a square shape and includes several notches and cutouts for tying the balloons. Both the balloon and the clip have a whitish colour.

Biodegradable clips like this were used for sealing the "Lichtgrenze" balloons. SDTB / Photo: C. Kirchner

Balloon clip for the "Lichtgrenze", 2014

In November 2014, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new dividing line formed between East and West Berlin - but this time only so that it could be made to vanish again.

It was an impermanent work of art celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The installation, which was developed by the artists Christopher and Marc Bauder, was titled "Lichtgrenze" (Border of Lights) and consisted of thousands of illuminated balloons running along the former 15.3-kilometer long boundary line. The finale of the production was marked by the balloons rising up into the sky, each one carrying a card with a personal message from the person that had released it.

Clips made of a specially developed bioplastic mixture

But it was not just the cards that would end up landing somewhere. Was the installation also a form of littering at the same time?

The balloon itself was made of biodegradable natural rubber but its secure closure required a clip. In order to ensure that it too would in time decompose in the environment, the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites at the Hochschule Hannover created special balloon clips just for the installation.

The clips were made of a specially developed bioplastic mixture. They not only had to be biodegradable but also strong and flexible enough so not to break when attached. The main component of the material is polylactic acid (PLA), which can be derived from sugars. The balloon clips thus consist of renewable raw materials and are biodegradable.

Photo: The balloons are shining and are enhanced in the dark by the city lighting and the reflections on the water. People can be seen along the Border of Lights as well as on a boat and on a bridge.

From November 7 – 9, the Border of Lights delineated the former 15.3-kilometer route of the Berlin Wall – here at Spreebogen. © Kulturprojekte Berlin / Photo: Camilo Brau

This means that the "Lichtgrenze" was indeed an impermanent art installation in the true sense of the word.