Lichtenberg Diary

Explorations and readings of social-ist amnesia
December 2019 & January 2020
as lecture notes via Lichtenberg studios Berlin

S-bahn 75. Act 1

 

I came to Lichtenberg to continue work on themes began at funkhaus, the monumental former GDR broadcasting building, a relic from the heroic socialist realism times now in private hands. In the so-called "peaceful revolution" of the German unification or Die Wende, the transfer from system to system, whether of People's Palaces or vast housing complexes or even political parties, has selective processes of de- and re-memorialisation.

 

Against these transfers (of resources and heritage) within instituted memorialisation, the subject of my project is social-ist amnesia.
The word socialist is split because I am trying to say both social and socialist at the same time. The gap, break is filled by the word Ideology. But that word brings negative connotations because of the scale of suffering it (Ideology) is accused of inflicting. That, for instance, the legacy of the last century left us all as "victims of ideology". So as part of de- and re-memorialisation, Ideological symbols become emptied of Ideology, to be ceremonial, or diluted or neutralised; whilst some symbols are exorcised or become social taboos.

 

But to re-think Ideology as symbol, it is worth remembering that Marx also saw Ideology through the negative – as the false consciousness that sustains the contradictions of our existing political order. Ideology by its inversion is the sedative that puts our political consciousness to sleep. The word amnesia refers to the collective sedation. It runs parallel to what Walter Benjamin wrote in his Passagenwerk or the Arcades project that we in modernity exist in a dream state from which we have yet to awaken.

 

Neu Hohenschönhausen. Act 2

social-ist amnesia is an exploration of that terrain of amnesia or dream state below the surface of instituted memory and its processes. The exploration is not of the space of official memorials and ceremonies but something else scattered in the corners of the everyday, in the gaps between the visible and invisible. What we see but do not see. A political unconscious that connects social, historial and cultural memory in fluid ways outside any narrative of the Wende.

 

Using only the project’s tools, the exploration of social-ist amnesia has been broken up into multiple parts, or Acts (as each requires an interventionist act). Each Act brings into play its conflicts and partitions. The images obtained through the two Acts completed are not about any aesthetic merit or political value or revolutionary potential. They are in the ganzfeld of our shared lives. Only from there, as Benjamin suggested in the way he saw the world of images, will we awaken from the dream state to find that all images, the seen and the unseen, are equal and that without exception each has its salvation. In the political unconscious the dust doesn’t settle by the laws of gravity.

 

Project tools:

1. Vinyl Red Star 10mm radius. 
2. Digital Cameras Lumix GF2, Sony Experia 10 cellphone

 

Act 1 The Real
Sites: Berlin public transport S-bahn S75, S5, S7, Tram M17, M4, Bus 256, 197 covering Lichtenberg and adjoining areas of Weißensee, Marzahn and Hellersdorf.

 

Act 2 The Real and the Imaginary
Sites: housing complexes in Hohenschönhausen, Wartenberg, Falkenberg, Ahrensfelde and adjoining areas.

All work left on sites of exploration.
Documentation and Submissions: 2×24 Digital stills 4000x3000px 

 

Interregnum (Dornröschen)

January 12th 2020 Rosa & Karl Gedenkveranstaltung (Memorial service)
at the Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten (Socialist memorial), Gudrunstraße Lichtenberg Berlin

 

Unsubmitted work:

Act 3 The Imaginary and the Symbolic
(work in progress)

Act 4 The Symbolic
(not undertaken)
Postscript