German Balcony

In the summer of 2017, Chen Haishu and his wife moved to Nordstadt District of Karlsruhe, Germany. The building they live, along with the 50 surrounding buildings with almost the same appearance, belonged to the new military base of the US Army in Karlsruhe after the Second World War, Paul Revere Village. Like other US military bases in Germany, Paul Revere Village is well-equipped and self-contained, like a “small American”. The US troops stationed here had influenced the German local society in different aspects. The changes in the international situation also influenced the relationship between the US military in Germany and the German natives. After the end of the Cold War, the US troops withdrew from Karlsruhe and handed over the barracks, together with their supporting facilities - the military airport, schools and other infrastructure to Germany. This area was then subsequently converted into a new urban district. The barracks were expanded, added floors, equipped with balconies and became residential buildings for civilians; the airport was set as a nature reserve. Although the US military has completely withdrawn, its influence on German society for 50 years did not dissipate.

As new residents, Chen Haishu and his family experienced and practiced the functional transformation of living space and urban space through their own resident. In the project “German Balcony”, Chen Haishu documents the daily life of the area while looking for the news about the US military in Karlsruhe from the local newspaper Badische Neueste Nachrichten (BNN) in the history, and combine them together. Under different historical conditions, the coexistence of different groups and different cultures faces similar or different difficulties. Through this form, the work blurs the boundaries between the past and the present, public and private, and shows how the current daily life can be re-expanded in this historical relic and create new collective memories.

This project is supported by Karin Abt-Straubinger Fundation.



2017年夏天,陈海舒和他的妻子搬到德国卡尔斯鲁厄市北城区。他们所在的居民楼,与周围约五十栋外观几乎相同的居民楼一样,都属于二战后美国驻德军队在卡尔斯鲁厄新建的军营——Paul Revere军营。如同其他在德美军基地一样,Paul Revere军营设施完善,自成一体,俨然一个“小美利坚”城市。在此驻扎的美军对德国本地社会产生了多方面的影响,国际形势的变化也左右着驻德美军与德国本地人的关系。冷战结束后,美军撤离卡尔斯鲁厄,并将这批军营楼, 连同其配套的设施——军用机场、学校及其他基础设施交给德国。随后这一地区被改建为新的城区。军营楼被扩建,加盖,并配上阳台,成了居民楼;机场则被设为自然保护区。虽然美军完全撤离了,但是其对德国社会长达五十年的影响并没有随之消散。

作为新的居民,陈海舒与他的家庭通过居住行为体验并实践着居住空间和城市空间的功能转变。在《德国阳台》中,陈海舒一边记录着这一地区的日常生活,一边寻找当地报纸巴登州新闻(Badische Neueste Nachrichten,BNN)在历史上对卡尔斯鲁厄市驻徳美军的相关报道,并将这两者结合起来。在不同的历史条件下不同群体、不同文化间的共处面临着或相似、或不同的困难。通过这一形式,作品模糊了过去与现在、公共与私密的界限,展现了当下的日常生活如何在这一历史遗留物中重新展开,并产生新的集体记忆。

本项目得到德国Karin Abt-Straubinger基金会的支持。

The American settlement is almost a city in itself, with its own school, church, cinema, gas station, kindergarten and the "Commissary", where you can buy everything from a bar of chocolate to a pretty summer dress. Over five thousand people live here, in modern residential buildings, and most of them feel "at home", even though their home, their hometown, is many thousands of kilometres over the ocean, in the New World.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 24 March 1956


美国人居住区几乎就是一个城市,拥有自己的学校,教堂,电影院,加油站,幼儿园和“小卖部”,在那里你可以买到任何东西,从一块巧克力到美丽的夏装。 超过五千人住在这里的现代化公寓楼里,大多数人都感到“像在家里一样”,即使他们真正的家,他们的故乡,在大洋彼岸,数千公里远的新世界。


Now the Americans have dodged into the Hardtwald Forest, have confiscated a large, around 10,000 hectares of land. Unfortunately, in this situation we can do hardly anything but resignation. Yesterday evening, while flying in a helicopter over the large new construction area of the Americans, one of the participant outlined the situation between Parkring and Forstner barracks: “Most of the trees are still there, but - the forest is gone …”

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 24 April 1954




There are four- and three-room apartments. The two types are both in all blocks. 127 square meters the four-room apartment, 96.5 square meters the three-room apartment. Passing the kitchen, there is the 46 or 38 qm living room without door, a large, comfortable room, just a bit impersonal. (You will know the reasons soon.) Very spacious and beautiful the bathroom, 7 square meters, on both sides are the bedrooms of 15-21 square meters, so of normal Central European proportions. The floor in all rooms: oak parquet.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 21 April 1951




The American taxpayers will have to pay more than eight million DM for the Karlsruhe school expansion project. In the near future, a high school, an elementary school and a kindergarten will be built in the middle of the American residential area. While the interior design will be done by American companies, all construction and exterior work are given to German companies.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 27 August 1983




At the moment 150 officers, NCOs and their families are moving to Karlsruhe. The transfer of this high-ranking command authority within the Stations is considered as the recognition of the value of Karlsruhe by the management level of the US Army.
Because only documents and a few official vehicles need to move with the planning staff, no additional burden for the city would be expected.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 21 July 1992




Compared to them, the noise of the Hercules sounded pretty pleasant. And even a sports airplane, which flew over the airfield of the C130 in approximately 300 meters height, was only insignificantly quieter than the large machine. A witness who lives next to the airfield said:“ When the window is closed, you do not even notice that the plane is there.”

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 20 July 1979




But Americans can be aware that they have started American football in Baden. "At the beginning, we were even laughed at," recalled Diefenbacher. But when it came to success - between 1986 and 1990, the team played in the First League -. The reputation in the people also grew.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 27 March 1995


但美国人可以确认,是他们将美式足球带到了巴登州。“一开始,我们还被人嘲笑,”迪芬巴赫回忆道。 但是当球队取得成功时 - 在1986年到1990年之间,球队参加了甲级联赛 - 这项运动在本地人中的关注度也随之增长。


And as the Karlsruher jury had met exactly the American taste in the selection of the first prize winners, announced the universal recognition of the residents of the settlement of the election of Major Norbert Schneider and his family as the best creator of Christmas house decoration. He and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Scofield, who was awarded the second prize, presented by Mayor Jahn, whom the Americans have called their mayor “unsuccessfully” for years, together with gardening director Mürb, nice flower arrangements. Colonel Manel, the American site chief, signed his soldiers' efforts a small check.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 23 December 1972




"After my impressions, the American soldiers stationed in Karlsruhe are integrated into the life of the city and like to work here." yesterday said the Deputy Commander in Chief of the US Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Robert L. Wetzel, at a press conference in the Forstner barracks.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 1 February 1984




Since about three years, women have been allowed to work in all military fields. Only tank driving and infantry service are still for them forbidden.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 1 September 1984




Corporal Lois A. Humpheris, computer specialist in human resources, says at the beginning of the volunteer army: “We have the same, hard, six-week basic training as the men.” A half-year fitness test decides on the further incorporation in the professional army.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 1 September 1984




The “electronic mail” becomes completely valuable with the American armed forces in the Federal Republic. For the military district of Karlsruhe, which has a total of 14,000 soldiers and their relatives, it is one of the few ways to make contact with troop units assigned to the Gulf. The fight over Kuwait has torn entire families apart, and “it's difficult to cope with such a situation and uncertainty about the future, especially at Christmas time”, says Bill Gore, who is responsible for the district troop care program.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 22 December 1990




He feels like at home, with his own family, and was particularly pleased that he had even stayed overnight. The “survival German", which the soldiers learned when they arrived in Germany, did not help him much. But father and mother of his family spoke a little English, the daughter spoke well, and also cards were played, “called Mau-Mau”.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 18 September 1989




“What is Easter?” Asks the teacher.
“A festival!” Replies Nancy.
“Are there any other festivals?”
And now they're counting on, “Christmas!” Says Laddie. “New Year!”, Margaret says. Pause. Suddenly Jacky calls from the third row: “October!”
Oho! Jacky, an eight-year-old son of an American officer, was in Munich before he came to Karlsruhe because his “Daddy” was stationed there. But isn’t Oktoberfest also a festival?

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 6 April 1954




The district commander himself gives any support to the association. The trip to Darmstadt will be supported with an army bus, so the costs will be cheap, since no transport costs incurred for them.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 7 August 1976




The apartment size in the Paul Revere Village varies between 80 and 150 square meters. Accompanying American liaison officer Harry Conners reported that one-third of the apartments had been fully renovated, with the remainder partially renovated. The renovated apartments also had their own meters for water, gas and electricity, which is for a later occupancy of the apartment important. Conners also showed the Lord Mayor a range of new and well-maintained community facilities such as schools, kindergartens, the dental clinic (perhaps the new domicile for the Academy of Dental Education, as Seiler suggested), or a daycare center. The Church also leaves the Americans to the people of Karlsruhe, if they want it.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 9 April 1994




“The daycare group is one of the few institutions that is still open,” says the 36-year-old. Before there used to be a waiting list with more than 30 children for the daycare group, now the supervisors among the five remaining kids of American families are in the majority.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 29 August 1995




Like a captain of a sinking ship, Commander Leonard M. Finley is the last to leave the Village.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 16 Febuary 1995