Saturday, January 28th 7-9 p.m.
Proteus Gowanus and the Museum of Matches invite you to join us for the opening reception of The Berlin Tunnel Project, an installation inspired by a declassified CIA document describing a tunnel that was dug from West to East Berlin during the Cold War. The Museum of Matches, a one-room Cold War museum, occasionally invites visitors to respond to Cold War documents, photographs and memorabilia. The Berlin Tunnel Project is a collaborative installation by three artists whose countries of origin comprise the three countries involved in the Berlin Tunnel episode: Tatiana Istomina (Soviet Union), Barbara Westermann (Germany), Sasha Chavchavadze (United States).The Berlin Tunnel installation will be on view at Proteus Gowanus from January 28th – February 25th. The Museum of Matches, a Proteus Project-in-Residence, will be open for viewing during the reception with a new “Matchwork” on display by Raymond E. Mingst.
The Berlin Tunnel
In 1954, the CIA began to dig a tunnel from West Berlin to East Berlin for the purposes of tapping into Soviet phone cables. The completed tunnel took a year to construct and was 1,476 feet long. 3,100 tons of soil was removed and the tunnel was lined with 125 tons of steel. The KGB, however, had been informed of the project from the start by a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) named George Blake. Most likely the KGB did not reveal that they knew about the tunnel to protect their mole. In April 1956 the KGB “discovered” the tunnel and released the information to the world press. American newspapers generally marveled that the CIA was capable of such a remarkable clandestine maneuver.
A declassified, redacted CIA document describing the tunnel can be found on the web. It describes in fascinating detail the history of the project from its inception to its completion, including intelligence derived from the project and articles in the American press after the tunnel was revealed to the public.
Cold War Cocktails will be served.
Museum of Matches is open to the public on Fridays, 3 – 6 p.m. or by appointment.