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Postcard

What the World's Most Oppressive Walls Look Like on Berlin's Old One

Photographer and Berliner Kai Wiedenhöfer was there when his city's infamous wall came down, after decades of separating the city from itself. Like many at the time, Wiedenhöfer thought that event would mark the end of politicians erecting barriers to divide people and nations from each other.

More than 20 years later, such ideas seem laughable. So Wiedenhöfer decided to travel the world and visit other barriers that persist.

He shot walls in Baghdad, Korea, Cyprus, Mexico, Morocco, Israel and Belfast. Today, his images can be seen at the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, a project Wiedenhöfer fittingly titled, "Wall on Wall."

In it, 30-foot by 10-foot panoramic photos of the eight different border walls (including Berlin) are pasted along the concrete barrier opposite the East Side Gallery. Wiedenhöfer shot the images between 2003 and 2012. He also spent parts of the last five years trying to get permission from the city to display his project.

“Wall on Wall" finally made its debut earlier this week and will run through Sept. 13, 2013.

Via Reuters, a look at Wiedenhöfer's project now on display: 


A woman walks past a picture showing a border fortification in the West Bank by German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer at the former Berlin Wall in Berlin, July 11, 2013. (Thomas PeterReuters)


A man cycles past a picture showing a border fortification in the Panmunjom demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, July 11, 2013. (Thomas PeterReuters)


German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer checks a print of his Wall on Wall exhibition at the former Berlin Wall in Berlin, July 11, 2013. (Thomas PeterReuters)


A man walks past a picture showing a border fortification in the West Bank, July 11, 2013. (Thomas PeterReuters)


An 1989 photograph shows an East German boarder guard during an exhibition at the former Berlin Wall in Berlin, July 11, 2013.  (Thomas PeterReuters)


People walk past pictures by Kai Wiedenhoefer at the former Berlin Wall, July 11, 2013. (Thomas PeterReuters)

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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