Berlin Update

I was shortly in Berlin. Typical winter in Berlin. Cold, windy and wet. No one wants to leave the house. Except Cyprien Gaillard (who recently received the National Gallery Prize, and the public choice award after his Hamburger Bahnhof presentation as well as 50.000 Euros), everybody is complaining about the bad weather, rising rents, or German cops, who continuously stop you to check your winter tires. And, let´s not forget the next 7th Berlin Biennale! The polemic already started much eaerlier than the biennial. 

Maybe you have already heard of Martin Zet`s project as a sort of social campaign entitled “Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it) as part of the 7th Berlin Biennale. He asks people to donate their copies of Thilo Sarrazin’s bestseller book, “Deutschland schafft sich ab”, for his biennial project that aims to recycle without any note on how he would do it. Being based on the number of books donated, there will be an installation -with a discussion referring to what would happen to the books. For many people, the methodological aspects of the project, especially regarding the way that the books are collected, include connotations from Nazi history of collecting and burning books.

Since one cannot deny the number of copies sold, over 1.3 million in Germany, unfortunately the book has a provocatively key role in terms of bringing together some urgent questions on the migrant policies, integration issues, cultural identity. However, the way that the biennial project attempts to deal with the problematic discourse of the book is naively on the surface of its distribution, rather than its content, contextual references, and the mentality behind the book.

A Berlin based artist friend of mine commented on it as: "It is just not a good idea in a country that has a history of authorative book-collection  and recycling of objects of politically different opinionated people. You have to encounter Sarrazin´s ideas, not the paper he writes on..."

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