wild recuperations. material from below
Artistic Research at the Archive of the GDR Opposition
Exhibition, Program, Publication
The dissident practices and sociabilities of the late GDR unfolded in a present detached from any utopian future. To this day, these historical experiences have not been acknowledged or studied as relevant. The materials at the Archive of the GDR Opposition draw a complex picture of oppositional women*s, peace, and environmental movements, and lesbian, trans* and gay initiatives, and of the unique political and social practices and ideas they gave rise to – along and against both the promise and the failure of state socialism. They also document how these gained shape and momentum in the short, euphoric heyday of the civil movements and new parties in the autumn/winter of 1989/90 – before disappearing into almost complete historical unintelligibility in the post-reunification period. The institution was founded in 1990 by protagonists of some of these groups.
The invited artists and authors trace their histories and their projections relating them to concepts and forms of the Political in the present day. wild recuperations. material from below draws on current artistic forms of working with archives, which not only look at the historical contents of documents, but also at archival and historicizing practices themselves as a field of conceptual and aesthetic processing. To this aim, the project involves international contributors who deal with the central themes of the project in various formats, in many cases from a sub-cultural and counter-cultural, queer-feminist, de-colonial and post-colonial perspective on archives or archival materials, the representation of history, the specific history of the former state socialist countries and their dissidences, as well as other international environmental, women’s, human rights, and peace movements.
A cooperation between District Berlin and the Archive of the GDR Opposition / Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft e.V. Curated by Suza Husse and Elske Rosenfeld in conversation with the partners at the archive: Rebecca Hernandez Garcia, Frank Ebert, Tina Krone, Christoph Ochs, Olaf Weißbach. Research assistant: Maria Josephina Bengan Making.
With contributions by Anna Zett, Claude Gomis, Elsa Westreicher, Elske Rosenfeld, Henrike Naumann, Kai Ziegner, Ernest Ah & Sabrina Saase & Lee Stevens from the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective, Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet, Nadia Tsulukidze, Peggy Piesche, Saskia Köbschall, Suza Husse, a.o. as well as works by Bärbel Bohley.
5 November – 16 December 2018
Archive of the GDR Opposition (Haus 17)
Stasizentrale. Campus für Demokratie, Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday, 3-6 pm and Wednesday, 3-8 pm as well as 2-6 pm on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December
• A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures Video installation by Elske Rosenfeld
• Big Bang Backwards Video installation and performance (4.11.) by Nadia Tsulukidze
• Zines by Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet, Suza Husse & Maria Josephina Bengan Making, Ernest Ah & Sabrina Sasse & Lee Stevens from the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective, Kai Ziegner and Elsa Westreicher
• Selected documents from the archive and a print by Bärbel Bohley
• Sounds of Solidarity Audio sculpture by Claude Gomis (from December)
• BRONXX Performance by Technosekte + Henrike Naumann (16.12.)
Bessemerstraße 2-14. 12103 Berlin
Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 3-7 pm
• Deponie Installation by Anna Zett
• Zines by Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet, Suza Husse & Maria Josephina Bengan Making, Ernest Ah & Sabrina Saase & Lee Stevens from the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective, Kai Ziegner and Elsa Westreicher
• Selected documents from the archive and a drawing by Bärbel Bohley
Only a multiplicity of stories will avoid historiography closing down history into one normative story. — Samirah Kenawi
Bringing together contributing artists and authors, archivists, historical protagonists, and other experts the program is an invitation to talk about the different themes addressed by the contributions, their historical contexts and contemporary resonances.
4 November 2018
2-6 pm Opening at the Archive of the GDR Opposition and at Haus 22 – Stasizentrale. Campus für Demokratie
• 3pm Archive and Haus 22: Big Bang Backwards Performance by Nadia Tsulukidze
on resonances between the biography of the artist and that of an East German theater director and dissident, between the experiences of migration in post-socialism and female claustrophobia in the GDR.
• 5 pm gemeinsam unerträglich Reading and listening session by Ernest Ah & Sabrina Sasse & Lee Stevens from the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective on lesbian and trans realities, cultures and forms of organizing in the GDR and their continuities into the present
A shortened version of the piece was broadcast on reboot.fm. You can listen to it here.
7 pm District Berlin Exhibition opening
26 November 2018
Haus 22 – Campus für Demokratie
• 7 pm I want nobody to find no trace that would prove our existence *
Conversations and archive readings about oppression and resistance in and in between different political systems, about queer subjectivities and intersectional struggles, alliances, and im/possibilities with Claude Gomis &Saskia Köbschall, Rebecca Hernandez Garcia, Samirah Kenawi, Ernest Ah & Sabrina Sasse & Lee Stevens from the Raumerweiterungshalle Collective, Maria Josephina Bengan Making and Peggy Piesche moderated by Suza Husse & Elske Rosenfeld.
5 December 2018
• 6 pm Deponie Exhibition conversation with Anna Zett *
about language as part of the human environment, the dead or ossified language of the GDR system, and its resuscitation by the opposition. Is a reawakening of language also a relevant political goal for today?
• 7 pm Environment, in the Expanded Sense *
A conversation about the environmental movement of the GDR, about Western and Eastern waste (materials, languages, ideologies), (radio)active landscapes and histories. With Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet, Frank Ebert, Sebastian Pflugbeil and Anna Zett moderated by Suza Husse & Elske Rosenfeld.
15 December 2018
Haus 22 – Stasizentrale. Campus für Demokratie
• 6 pm wild recuperations hosts D’EST: A multi-curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the former ‘West’ and ‘East’: launch of Screening Chapter #6 RETOPiA **
Video art screening about the political shifts, forms of memory and global dimensions of post-/socialist transformation. With works by Marwa Arsanios, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Renata Poljak, belit sağ, Katrin Winkler, curated and presented by Katja Kobolt and Bettina Knaup.
16 December 2018
Archiv der DDR-Opposition und Haus 22 – Stasizentrale. Campus für Demokratie
• 4 pm A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures Exhibition conversation with Elske Rosenfeld and Wolfgang Templin *
The video reworks footage in which three protagonists attempt to make their experience of the Round Table (revolutionary council into a campaign commercial for the elections one year later.
• 6 pm Beyond the NO / A beginning of something **
Round table about the revolution of 1989/90 and its aftermath. The discussion addresses its political and (sub-)cultural forms and radical democratic practices, and their re-appropration in the present. With Max Hertzberg, Henrike Naumann, Nadia Tsulukidze, Elsa Westreicher, Kai Ziegner, and others moderated by Suza Husse & Elske Rosenfeld.
• 8 pm BRONXX Performance by Technosekte + Henrike Naumann
An attempt to create an alternative system of communication for speaking about the Stasi and the opposition through the means of experimental music.
* Program in German language with whisper translation into English.
** Program in English language.
wild recuperations. material from below: Artistic Research at the Archive of the GDR Opposition is funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
Robert Havemann Society is funded by Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien and by Berliner Beauftragten zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur. The event program on Dezember 16, 2018 is realized in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Foundation.
A publication on the project will be published by Archive Books.