towards memory

by: Katrin Winkler

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2016, two-channel video installation (HD), 32’00’’, sound, color, 16:9 | Courtesy: the artist

The title Towards Memory (2016) alludes to a distance, a gap, a split, but also desire, movement, and oscillation. The two-channel video installation traces both – the multiple erasures and ossifications of memory on the one hand and the ongoing desires, struggles, labors, and movements toward its recognition on the other.

Katrin Winkler created this video and research project in collaboration with Namibian women who, as children, were sent to the former GDR during the Namibian struggle for independence and against Apartheid that began in 1979. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, they were abruptly sent back to Namibia as teenagers.

The work is based on archival research, interviews, as well as footage of contemporary monuments and ceremonies commemorating 25 years of Namibian independence and the genocide of the Herero and Nama under German colonial rule. It interweaves the women’s voices with archival footage, with images of monuments and the before, after, and in-between of memorial events, interspersed with blank screens and silences.

“The project scrutinizes the entanglement of German and Namibian politics, dealing with the consequences and (in-)visibilities of colonialism, genocide, displacement, and Apartheid. How come some occurrences are edited out of history and some over-emphasized? Who is giving whom the right to speak and when? How is history visible and audible in the present? What is an anti-monument? What are ways in which an archive relates to the present?” (Katrin Winkler) And one might add: “How does it relate to the future?” The struggle against the German government for reparations and the repatriation of victims’ remains from the genocidal war against the Herero and Nama is still unresolved and ongoing.

Katrin Winkler works in the fields of expanded cinema, critical research, photography, and video. A recurring question in her artistic practice is how history is (in)visible and entangled with the contemporary moment. She holds a BFA in photography from the University of Applied Sciences, Munich. She studied media art / mass media research and art in public space, completing the Master Class Program at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig. She has also studied photography and media with a concentration in integrated media (MFA) at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA. Her works have been shown internationally.