Starting with the opening on February 7th 2014 the whole project is supposed to be accompanyied by a series of exhibitions that will take place in the office and in the Lapidarium of the Alte Berliner Garnisonfriedhof as an ongoing process and a space for meeting, exchange, observation and commemoration. The visitors will be invited to leave their notes, impressions and experiences upon visiting the exhibition and the cemetery in written or any other form (drawing, photograph, etc.). These will be collected and put into an special archive. The curatorial reference of the ARE has been to reinterpret the project of 4. berlin biennale in 2006 curated by Maurizio Cattellan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subbotnik. At the 4. berlin biennale „of mice and men“ that analysed human condition, it was among others an audio installation by Susan Philipsz installed on the cemetery territory.This time referring to the human condition during the World War I artist Peggy Sylopp has develped a sound installation for the cemetery on the outside and we are currently in the process of requesting the Lautarchiv of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin to supprt the project idea and to lend us for the exhibition the pieces of the recordings of Georgian prisoners that are in its storage. These audio recordings date back to 1914-1918. And record the speech: anecdotes, Georgian love songs, Immeretian and Mingrelian songs, and narrations spoken by Georgian prisoners when they were in captivity in German camps. Exact details on the conditions as to how, for which purposes the recordings were made or what happened to the prisoners afterwards are not known they are under research. It is one of the aims of the exhibition and of the project to present to public and to discuss, as well as to allow the visitors to analyze and re-think history, to commemorate. If the installation helps to promote further research on the subject or to find out more about the prisoners - their further destiny and the details of their detention it would be all the better for all involved. These recordings are supposed to be played on loop inside the exhibition space. These audio materials are unique and to our knowledge never presented in public before. The cycle of exhibitions curated by the ARE in cooperation with Alte Berliner Garnisonfriedhof is supposed to be opened on Feb. 7, 2014.
The title of the exhibition Die Geschichten von Molla Nasredin is a draft title. Maybe we still change it. However this title suggests the absurdity of the story narrated or forced to narrate by the prisoners in camps whose recordings are in the Lautarchiv. Its absourd, out of sync character corresponds to the absourdity of war and the human condition in it. Molla Nasredin stories are humorous fable-like stories that used to be intended for kids, yet since they're not of Georgian but of Turkish origin and the Turks were invaders in Georgia, these stories are not particularly popular now. Kids, school pupils from upper classes and teaching/education are the focus of this project: further in the year it intends to organize an exchange between Georgian and German secondary schools. It was also supposedly the intention of the interrogaters and those on the German part who prepared and conducted the speaking / singing sessions with Georgian prisoners in the First World War in German camps to use the materials for the purposes of (among others) teaching of the Georgian language.
We are very thankful to HU Lautarchiv and particularly to Sarah Grossert for the insightful conversation on the subject. We would also like to mention that due to the nature of the subject discussed some of the dates or planned events could be rescheduled. We will let you know in advance if that happens, but we hope it will all take place as planned.
ARE/Artistic Research Encounters