We Are Family

ONLINE: Screening Chapter #5,

I got all my sisters with me // We are family // Get up everybody and sing. Sister Sledge sang this cheerful disco pop song in 1979. It was the moment when the tipping point of social optimism, where family and community still played a central role in society, had already begun to wane. Living life is fun and we’ve just begun // To get our share of this world’s delights // High, high hopes we have for the future. Oh, no – what a completely false promise, Sister Sledge! We – no – we don’t get depressed. Oh yes, we will, Sister Sledge.

Lyrics released by another group in 1977 put forward a more realistic scenario. There’s no future // There’s no future // There’s no future for you, the Sex Pistols sang in a forlorn cry, announcing the outcome we’re facing today on a mass scale… When there’s no future // How can there be sin // We’re the flowers // In the dustbin // We’re the poison // In your human machine… Yes, we are, dear Sex Pistols … post-human, family-less, society-free. This is the second decade of the new millennium.

Entwining autobiographical, historical, and fictional narratives, We Are Family speaks about generational, personal, and political frictions, about rifts and entanglements unfolding in the dystopian context post-1989. The notion of family appears as an extended signifier. It overlaps with differentiated fields: social, communal, intimate, personal, and political. The relationship between four figures maintain this tension – that of the Guest, the Mother, Love, and the Other.

We Are Family is about our experience of non/motherhood in the broken domains of the art world and communal life. It is about thinking through historical and generational care and non-care, which have led to the present moment of the deregulation of everything. We Are Family is about the contemporary life of our generation: about the children of former generations of socialism-builders and welfare state beneficiaries. It reflects on the specific social and intimate care that once looked to the future, which could see us as the future at a time when the future began to dissipate.


  • In 1957, Roland Barthes stated that in “Western” mythology the USSR would be a world halfway between the Earth and Mars to exemplify that the communist world was considered as foreign as another planet. Similar to Barthes’ literary method in his Mythologies book, curator, filmmaker and artist Xandra Popescu scripted three semi-fictional short stories to introduce major paradigms of her screening program O’ Mystical East and West.

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  • EVENT: Screening Chapter #1 Preview


  • The curatorial selection The Suspension and Excess of Time explores the role of time within a period of radical political, social, and economical change. The selected video works focus on the changes different societies were going through during the Perestroika era, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the soviet empire. Paying tribute to speculative temporalities, curators Becker and Seehusen will trace people’s everyday experiences in the former “East” and “West” before and after 1989 / 1991.

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  • The changing role and function of language before and after the “transition” cannot be discussed without considering the dimension of authoritarian speech acts in the last phase of socialism. Anthropologist Alexei Yurchak shares the observation that during the authoritarian speech act, sign and reference, language and gesture, word and action merge into each other. This thesis is the foundation for an understanding of the variety of linguistic and performative experiments in post-socialist video art. The curators will focus on video works that reflect upon shifts in language and meaning and employ diverse silent, verbal, performative, activist, and other strategies to discuss collective and personal memory, identity, power relations, gender roles, and socio-political change.

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  • Political protocol tends to dispossess, overwrite, and refurbish unwanted narratives. Parallel to this, there are new agencies that enhance the intersections, reciprocities, and movements between bodies, spaces, objects, and memories. The video art and experimental film works of COSMOS COSMETICS: Unresting Memoryscapes and Corpofictions are concerned with architectural, corporeal, and phantasmatic materializations of internalized mnemonic, and bio-political regimes. Meanwhile they address surface porosities and subcutaneous layers of post-socialist cities. Hence this chapter of screenings in D’EST brings together artistic strategies and methods for unsettling, decontaminating, and queering artificial mono-histories, which stem from the urge to untag and distance the subject from the constraints of conformity, imposed belonging to a certain ethnic group or community, and identitarian politics in general.

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  • The chapter examines the body as a collective, as a singular entity, as a social choreography of an alliance of states, as an organless, cognitive-capitalist, cerebral network, as a corporeal reading instrument of past, former socialist indices, as a place of textual and discursive inscription, but also as a genuine place of affective encounters and material practices. The curators focus on video works and films that flare up the affective, somaesthetic, relational and transformative potentials of the body after 1989 / 1991.

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  • Entwining autobiographical, historical, and fictional narratives, this screening program examines generational, personal, and political frictions, breaks and entanglements, taking place in the dystopian context of post-1989. The tension bears down on the sphere of the personal and the political maintained through the relationship of the four figures: the figure of Neighbor, the figure of Mother, the figure of Lover and the figure of Other.

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  • Screening Chapter #6 | Release Date: Dec. 16, 2018


    The screening chapter ReTopia acknowledges “post-socialism” not only as a continental but also as a global phenomenon, though with palpable regional specificity and intensity. It looks at transitional shifts and modes of remembrance of historical processes that evoke forms – rejected, outmoded, disposed from power, gender political, architectural, and even full of potential. Without being afraid of utopian ideology, it looks back and forth and sideways in search of radically different futures. Both curators, Bettina Knaup and Katja Kobolt ask these questions against the backdrop of their individual and collective endeavors to create “temporary archives”: re.act.feminism (2009-2013), a travelling performing archive Bettina Knaup initiated with Beatrice E. Stammer; and Perpetuum Mobile. The Artotheque, a collection of videos and other digitized works initiated by feminist curatorial collective Red Mined within the Living Archive (2011-2015) through the simple act of giving.

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