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Autobiographical redesign. Work in progress, participatory project. Collages from memory fragments both borrowed and my own. Project developed at residencies in the Künstlerhaus Lukas, Ahrenshoop, and the Schleswig-Holstein Künstlerhaus, Eckernförde. Installation view in the Neue Künstlerhaus Ahrenshoop, 2008

A patchwork of memory snippets both borrowed and my own, that can grow and change. Through appropriation, interpretation, forgery, and retelling, I approach the topic of identity and homeland.


The project for the redesign of my biography is divided into four intersecting parts:

Pursuit of fieldwork

- Search for people who would lend me a fragment of their memories (stories, photos, objects, etc.):
The search was carried out through mailings and articles in local and regional newspapers, as well as two workshop shows. The memory fragments were assigned code numbers and filed in a folder. Then I produced and distributed loan documents for the memory-lenders.

- Search for an 80-year-old North German surrogate mother who would like to participate:
The search, however, was unsuccessful.

Field research form
Loan document for the memory-lenders

Handcrafting my autobiography

- Collaging of borrowed and my own memory fragments toward a fictional autobiography:
I collaged the borrowed North German memory fragments with my own memory-pictures in a re-constructed story.
In some of the borrowed memories I could find an analogy or an atmospheric resonance with my own. These I brought together; or, I more or less crept into the – actually foreign to me – scenarios and made them my own.
As a spiritual link, there were my only “old and ties” relations to northern Germany: my uncle Jorge, a merchant marine officer from Buenos Aires, and three Sandman dolls, which I had in Buenos Aires, but whose origin I was not aware of.

Right: Some examples of collages made of memory fragments both borrowed and my own

At Gertraude’s birthday, Plau am See, 1960
Code: AHR 0012

My cousins, Greifswald
Code: AHR 0003

The parental home, Neudorf, Schleswig-Holstein
Code: ECK 0031

Catching up on my North German cultural background

- Taking a course in Low German or taking private lessons:
Within this part of the project, I took private lessons from Low German teacher Mrs. Tämlitz in Ahrenshoop and visited the Low German Evening at the Eckernförde Historical Society. With Mrs. Wegscheider in Ahrenshoop and Mrs. Hauschild in Neudorf-Bornstein, I practiced Low German and received information about literature in the Low German language. Mrs. Hausschild also taught me about sociocultural aspects of the Low German language.

- Membership and participation in activities with the local folk club:
I participated in some of the weekly choir practices of the folk group Born, and was a member of the Eckernförde Historical Society.

- Making contact with institutions and universities that research European ethnology:
I conducted research in the Richard-Wossidlo Archives of the Institute of Ethnology at the University of Rostock and in the archival source register at the Seminar for European Ethnology at the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel.

Right: Some examples of my efforts to acquire North German culture

With my Low German teacher during a lesson

Membership card for the Eckernförde Historical Society

Folk dress from Schleswig-Holstein
Folk dress from Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

Presentation of the appropriated memory material and documentation

- The staging of a biographical exhibition and a book about the project: I presented the project in a workshop and exhibition at the Neue Kunsthaus Ahrenshoop as well as at the Schleswig-Holstein Künstlerhaus in 2008, and took advantage of the opportunity to borrow further memory fragments for the project. In 2009, I worked on the production and financing of the book.

More information: Book >>

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