GDR Archives Examined in ‘wild recuperations. material from below.’

Article by Isabelle Hore-Thorburn // Dec. 04, 2018

District Berlin and the Archive of the GDR Opposition present ‘wild recuperations. material from below.’ The collaborative project comprises an exhibition, public program and publication. Drawing from the rich materials of the archive, the project elements examine the unique initiatives and practices that took shape alongside and in opposition to state socialism within the German Democratic Republic. The historical experiences of the GDR have been largely overlooked, yet as the materials of the Archive of the GDR Opposition reveal, oppositional women*s, peace, and environ­mental movements, and lesbian, trans* and gay initia­tives gave rise to sui generis political and social practices. ‘wild recuperations. material from below’ invokes current artistic forms of working with archives, as well as archival and historicizing practices, as a field of conceptual and aesthetic processing.

Ausstellungsansichten, Archiv der DDR-Opposition // Photo by Emma Haugh

The exhibition runs concurrently at District Berlin and the Archive of the GDR Opposition from November 5th to December 16th. The District Berlin exhibition includes an installation by Anna Zett, a selection of zines, as well as selected documents from the archive and a drawing by Bärbel Bohley. The exhibition at the Archive of the GDR includes a video installation by Elske Rosenfeld, an installation by Nadia Tsulukidze, a selection of zines, selected documents from the archive and a print by Bärbel Bohley as well as an audio sculpture by Claude Gomis and performance by Technosekte + Henrike Naumann.

The public program brings together contributing artists and authors, archivists, historical protagonists and other experts to talk about the different themes addressed by the contributions, their historical contexts and contemporary resonances. On December 5th at District Berlin there will be a 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, followed by ‘Environment, in the Expanded Sense,’ a conversation about the environmental movement of the GDR, Western and Eastern waste (materials, languages, ideologies), (radio)active landscapes and histories.

On December 15th and 16th the program will continue at the Archiv der DDR-Opposition and Haus 22 – Stasizentrale. Campus für Demokratie. The exhibition curators will host the 6th chapter of D’EST: A multi-curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the former ‘West’ and ‘East’. The upcoming chapter is entitled RETOPIA and considers the political shifts, forms of memory and global dimensions of post-/socialist transformation.

Ernest Ah, Sabrina Saase & Lee Stevens vom Kollektiv der Raumerweiterungshalle, Spröde DDR, aus gemeinsam unerträglich, 2018.

The following day, at the closing of the exhibition, there will be an exhibition conversation titled, ‘A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures with Elske Rosenfeld and Wolfgang Templin.’ This will be followed by ‘Beyond the NO / A beginning of something’ at 6pm. This round table will focus on the revolution of 1989/90 and its aftermath.  At 8pm there will be a performance by Technosekte + Henrike Naumann, which will attempt to create an alternative system of communication for speaking about the Stasi and the opposition through the means of experimental music.

Exhibition Info

Group Show: ‘wild recuperations. material from below’
Exhibition: Nov. 05–Dec. 16, 2018
Talks: Dec. 05, 2018; 6pm
Bessemerstraße 2–14, 12103 Berlin, click here for map

Group Show: ‘wild recuperations. material from below’
Exhibition: Nov. 05–Dec. 16, 2018
D’Est Screening Chapter 6: Dec. 15, 2018; 6pm
Talks & Performances: Dec. 16, 2018; 4pm
Stasizentrale: Campus für Demokratie, Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin, click here for map

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