Today is the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a day that should be celebrated by wearing silly hats, sipping on Budweisers and Coca-Colas, munching McDonald's and bananas (can you believe they couldn't even get bananas east of the Berlin Wall?), and watching porn while singing Bowie's "Heroes" from the top of your lungs. Though, this day celebrating the liberation of the people of the former DDR is a day of grief for Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, the infamous Swedish wife of the Berlin Wall (if you haven't read about her before, it's completely true and her sexual orientation is called objectum-sexuality, meaning she's emotionally and sexually attracted to objects, like walls, fences, bridges and so on). Yes, we've read all the stories about her already and, if you can read German, also interviewed her, but we were still curious about what she's like in person. Conveniently enough, we were recently sent a photo story calledA Concrete Love Story about her, shot by three young Norwegians. They've obviously spent some time with her, so we called them up.
VICE: Hi there, thanks for sending us these images of Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer. She's been featured in media all over the world. Was she sick and tired of people bugging her or does she like the attention?
Brian Cliff Olguin: It was actually not for media purposes but for a school project with the theme "marginalization." Kyrre, Marcus, and I study photojournalism at Højskolen i Oslo and she was the perfect subject, but we were worried that she wasn't mentally stable. Turns out she was very friendly and invited us over the same day as she had to go the vet with her sick cat the following day. Her cat tragically died the next day so we were lucky to get to see her before because she was super upset afterwards.
What was her house like?
She lives in a huge red house in a place called Liden in the middle of nowhere one hour from Sundsvall in Northern Sweden. When we got there, she had a bunch of teenagers doing a school project visiting her. She has a museum on the first floor filled with models of bridges, fences, walls, train models and whatnot, all objects of her passion.
So she puts her porn collection on display for visiting school children?
Um, you said that, not me! She's built everything in the museum herself. Everyone in the area seemed to know who she was and apparently it's a very popular museum.
No shit. What's the main attraction?
Besides the wall models, I'd say the huge guillotine in the middle of the museum. When she showed us around, she referred to it as "hot."
Oh yeah, on her site she mentions how people with objectum-sexuality often find objects with the power to kill sexy. Were you ever weirded out walking around there?
No, it wasn't freaky, as she was so nice. Though she had this fence in her room, next to her bed. Let's just say we avoided touching it as it was obviously her lover.
So she actually makes love to objects?
We asked her about that and she said, "That's private but it's no different from any other relationship." Which kind of implies that she does. She didn't mention any strong feelings about that bedroom fence in particular but she definitely had a crush on the fence outside.
She's cheating on the wall!
Well, it's a long distance relationship so she now has objects that are closer to her as lovers. She told us that "some humans have lovers as well." But the wall is still her big love. She's worried about traveling, which is why she and her husband have only seen each other twice.
So what, she walks around checking out fences and getting the hots for like, a shelf in the supermarket?
She told us she finds objects with simple vertical lines, like a fence or a wall, the most attractive and she finds the Berlin Wall much sexier than the Great Wall of China because it's slimmer. She obviously has a specific taste or a "type" or whatever you might call it.
Ha ha, the Great Wall of China is too fat for her?
Yes, she was very aware of what she liked.
You just spoke to her yesterday, what were her feelings regarding this 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall?
She says November 9 of 1989 was the most horrible day of her entire life as her husband was injured. It was the year her husband retired. We didn't want to push her into talking about it because you could see she was about to burst into tears.
But isn't she the least bit happy for the people of the former DDR?
To her it's not about politics. She even said, "How I feel about people celebrating November 9 is not suitable for publication. I don't celebrate tragedies." It was a very awful day for her and she doesn't like people other than herself to have a piece of her husband. Kyrre had one and she pointed her finger at him for it.
That marriage--is it genuine or just symbolic?
Apparently, a German guy sharing her passion for objects answered for the wall. Also, she had poems she had written to her husband up on her walls, maybe you could end this little interview with that?
The Berlin Wall, you gave me a meaning
The Berlin Wall, you gave me a meaning in life.
You, my dear, have made me so happy.
My dear Berlin Wall, you make me crazy of love for You!
All I want is to be close to you.
The Berlin Wall, you are so magnificent, you are so sexy.
I enjoy every moment I'm together with you.
The Berlin Wall, you mean ALL to me!
Written by Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer 1977.
images by Markus Aarstad, Kyrre Lien, and Brian Cliff Olguin