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Trinity News : November 2008
SIMON DEL FAVERO (‘07) AMPELMÄNNCHEN I began the Ampelmännchen project in early 2007 as part of my Major Work for HSC Visual Arts. The inspiration for the project came from early childhood memories of living in Berlin and fond memories of the Ampelmännchen pedestrian traffic lights. The Ampelmännchen project investigates the concept of identity by re-contextualising the Ampelmännchen, taking them out of their normal context as two dimensional signs, transforming them into three dimensional pedestrians and documenting their on-site interactions in Berlin and Sydney. This on-site documentation raises interesting questions about the way meaning evolves according to context. For example the Ampelmännchen originally represented certain social values in Communist East Berlin. They now represent a new unified Berlin. The East Berlin pedestrian traffic light signals first appeared on Berlin streets in 1961 and following reunification work, started on replacing them with the standard European traffic light man. However, there was a strong and vocal movement to save the signals and they now can be found, not only in Berlin, but in other German cities as well. During the research phase of my work I discovered that the Ampelmännchen is now the focus of a commercial retail chain with stores in and around Berlin. The rights to the figures were bought out in early 1994 and since then products ranging from clothing to mugs to stationery have been fashioned with the Ampelmännchen logo. Once I had finished Year 12, I approached the owners of the new Ampelmännchen stores and showed them a portfolio of my work. They were impressed and were keen to use my photographs on their web site. They are also working with other artists who have used the Ampelmännchen in their work. In addition, they plan to turn my images into postcards to be sold at the shops and to exhibit my work in Berlin. You can visit the Ampelmännchen site, where there is a page with my images and German text. They plan to add an English version soon. Go to: http://www.ampelmann.de/html/kunst_english.php Click on the link “Projekt von Simon Del Favero Simon Del Favero (Class of 2007) TRINITY NEWS 51