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Why are zombies sweeping the streets of Hamburg?

By Shibangi Sinha Roy
Published on :
Source: CNN

While the forthcoming G20 summit is to be held in Hamburg, Germany from July 7-8, it triggered one of the most striking forms of protest. These demonstrations were rather a cultural events which turned the entire city into a scene straight out of a zombie horror film.

The streets of Hamburg were full of ‘zombies’ on Wednesday in a public appeal for more humanity and self-responsibility. The performance was called 1000 GESTALTEN, which translates in English as 1,000 figures, saw a collective of one thousand actors dressed like zombies, covered in grey, crusty clay moved silently and steadily through the city in a transfixed state. Hundreds took part in this two-hour demonstration whose motive was to emphasise on the fact that change can come from a single individual.

Here is a video:

What is G20 summit?

The G20 (or G-20 or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. Founded in 1999, the G20 aims to discuss policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability. It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organisation. The G20 heads of government or heads of state have periodically conferred at summits since their initial meeting in 2008, and the group also hosts separate meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors. Also, Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 85% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), and two-thirds of the world population.


Hoping for a better future, for a few days up to July 5, these zombie-like figures started appearing all over Hamburg, slowly growing in numbers until culminating in a giant formation on Wednesday, in which a “transformation” took place, the actors breaking free from their clay shells.

The performance was intended to criticise political apathy, and as a call to “more political participation for a society where change doesn’t come from above, but from each and every individual,” the performance’s official website states.

“We cannot wait until change happens from the world’s most powerful, we have to show political and social responsibility — all of us — now!” a 1,000 Gestalten spokesman said in a statement.

“Our campaign is a further symbol of the fact that many people do not want to put up with the destructive impact of capitalism any longer,”
“What will save us, in the end, is not our account balance but someone who will offer their holding hand”, said the statement.