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Vorfreude . Berlin in the Run-Up to the Soccer World Cup

Photography Project

Soccer fields, soccer balls, the red-black-gold: long before the kickoff to last year’s World Cup, the sporting event proclaimed its immanent arrival with a flood of images of the game—and the world—of soccer. The visual mood for the event was created in shop windows, on supermarket shelves, and in TV ads; on posters, on banners stretched across building façades, and in sculptures and ephemeral architecture. In many places throughout Berlin, the image of the city was transformed far in advance of the event itself, and “festival decorations” determined the public space. Before the games had even begun, the World Cup feeling had already been staged and produced. And in the thrill of anticipation of the summer’s soccer fairytale, a visual culture emerged between lovingly fashioned decorations and fantasy-filled fan culture; among marketing mania, soccer gigantomania, and the exaltation of all things German.

The photography project “Vorfreude” documents the transformation in the city’s visual image, and presents photographs of some of the strange flowerings and visual appropriations that could be seen in Berlin over the one–month period up to World Cup’s opening match. With the concept of capturing the visual soccer culture in digital snapshots on a daily basis and thus arming oneself against the visual attack and the advertizing hype, Margarete Pratschke took thousands of digital photos from the ninth of May to the ninth of June 2006 about the “Vorfreude” of the World Cup in Berlin.

On the one-year anniversary of the kickoff to the 2006 Soccer World Cup, we present a selection of pictures from this project. These approximately 500 photographs are printed in small format and pinned on the walls in chronological order as a tableau, without any special focus on individual pictures, intentional sorting by media or motives, or dramatization of individual impressions. Rather, this form of presentation attempts to successively reconstruct the massive visual transformation of Berlin, allowing an overall visual image of collective anticipation to emerge.