Goethe Pop Up Seattle

Berlin Wonderland

Wild Years Revisited 1990–1996

Why jump, why in 1990, why over the Death strip? 

When the Wall fell, I moved to Berlin as fast as possible. It was so exciting. It may sound funny, but the demise of the communist regime also meant a great liberation for West Germans like me, because suddenly you had this great, chaotic playground in Germany’s former capital Berlin. So we squatted a house and renovated it and opened a bar and a theatre in the back and a comic library and band rehearsal rooms in the basement and an open fire in the courtyard every other night. I always dreamed of just doing the stuff I wanted, and here I got the chance. I went around Berlin taking photos, set up a photo dark room in my bedroom, climbed across the roofs of Berlin taking shots from up there, sleeping on the neighbor’s roof on a hot summer night. 

When a bungee outfit from France came to Berlin, I contacted them and they let me jump for free, it was a barter trade, I gave them the pics to use, which they did, for advertising. They let me jump around ten times, so I shot ten rolls of film with 36 pictures each, but only one of the 360 photos turned out well. 

I tried out the selfie stick made of a plexiglass pole with an aluminum top to screw the Nikon 301 to. Before I jumped, I pasted the shutter release down with some duct tape to get the camera going with 3 shots a sec, then jumped. A very low tech approach. 

My biggest regret? I should have patented that selfie stick back then. It could have made me a gazillionaire. But I can’t complain, at least I now have the pretty unique souvenir, that photo that you see in front of you.  
Hilmar Schmundt

Exhibition »Berlin Wonderland«, Goethe Pop Up Seattle
Fri, 05/01/2020 – Fri, 06/05/2020

Berlin Wonderland
Goethe Pop Up Seattle

Photo: Hilmar Schmundt, Bungee-Jumping, Pariser Platz