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OPEN HOUSE @ GERMAN FOREIGN OFFICE

We had the privilege of working with the Federal Foreign Office on various occasions before: In Beijing, Mexico City, Washington D.C. and, of course, in the context of #BuildingBridges. Saturday, August 17, 2019, was a special day for us because we were invited to the Foreign Office's Open Day in Berlin. Not only were we invited to set up and walk a Highline, which was attached to the flagpole of the roof terrace of Foreign Minister Heikeo Maas. We also presented our #BuildingBridges films to the public for the first time - a special sneak preview for visitors of the Open Day. Below the pictures you can find Niklas written impressions of this event.

The following blog post was written by Niklas Winter:

Last year I had the opportunity of working on a highline project with a strong symbolic message: a slackline suspended between two hot air balloons. One carried the German flag, the other the American one. It took place under the umbrella of the so-called “Deutschlandjahr”, organized by the Goethe Institute in order to promote German-American relations through cultural projects. Especially after the election of Donald Trump.

Even if the whole project – with its enormous flags – can be seen as very nationalistic, for me, the message of understanding among nations was in the foreground. Which specific flags finally decorate the balloons isn’t of main importance to me. I also think that the short film with the title #BuildingBridges communicates this idea well. Instead of distancing ourselves out of questionable political motivations, we should look to our similarities and work together.

It was a large project, which took a lot of planning and went through many complications, but in the end everything worked out and a short film, and even a making-of about it, were created. Last weekend we were invited to the Open Day of the German Federal Foreign Office to present the films and to build a highline over the courtyard.

Rigging a highline in a government building was a new experience for me. There were security checks like at the airport and we weren‘t allowed to visit the highline’s construction site without a security escort. The highline itself was a small masterpiece of rigging work. The anchor points were located at totally different heights, so we had to use a large A-frame. On the other side the line connected to – how could it be otherwise – the flagpole of a huge German flag.
In the early afternoon the films were screened. So far these films have only been shown to very few people, so it was all the more interesting for us to observe the audience’s reactions. Subsequently we went straight into a Q & A session, to which I’ve already become fairly well accustomed. I gladly answered questions about the preparations for the stunt, how to deal with pressure, and more. All in all, it is always exciting to witness the fascination the stunt creates among the audience. After the screening Alex performed a show on the highline outside and we had a small slackline on the ground for people to try. As so often, especially the kids had fun testing the workshop slackline.

Since I was in Berlin already, I would have liked to use my parachute there and jump from one or two of the buildings. Indeed, there was no shortage of usable buildings, but the weather wasn’t cooperating: too much wind for jumping. With this great selection of jumpable objects however, I’ll probably have to return soon. Instead of BASE jumping, my entertainment this time became a relaxing boat tour on the Spree. A friend of mine was invited to a birthday party on a rented ship and spontaneously took me along. In this way a Friday afternoon can fly by as well. All in all, it was a successful weekend in Berlin, that was rounded off with a celebratory dinner with the entire crew.

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