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November 9, 1989: Berlin Wall is knocked down

Posted By Xavier Cortada, Monday, November 9, 2009

The Markers

National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Artist and Writers Program awardee Xavier Cortada marks the passage of time by exploring important world events that have moved the world forward during the past 50 years.


November 9, 1989: Berlin Wall is knocked down

50 years of human history
On January 4, 2007, on  the 50th anniversary of the opening of the South Pole station, Miami artist Xavier Cortada arrived at the South Pole and planted 51 differently-colored flags along a 500-meter stretch of a moving ice sheet. The last flag was planted where South Pole stood in 1956, when the Pole became permanently inhabited. The first, where the South Pole stands fifty years later. 

Each flag is marked with its respective year, and with the coordinates of a place on Earth the artist selected as important in "moving the world forward" during that year (e.g.: 1957 is Sputnik, 1963 is the March on Washington, 1969 is the Lunar Landing, 1997 is the Kyoto Accord, 1989 is the fall of the Berlin Wall)
 while scientists worked in the South Pole.  See

The beginning of a 150,000-year Journey

At the location of the 2007 Geographic South Pole marker, the artist planted a mangrove seedling from Miami's Biscayne Bay, 25°46'N 80°12'W.  (Cortada's "150,000-year Journey" project also addresses the passage of time, asking us to see time in geologic instead of human time frames. To learn more about the150,000-year Journey, please visit

Tags:  1989  52°30'N 13°25'E  Antarctica  Berlin Wall  Cold War  Cortada  the Markers 

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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


 Reclamation Project

 NYFA sponsored-artist participatory eco-art projects


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