Embodying (invisible) stories with children and parents
Daniela Medina Poch and Pablo Santacana López
with contributions from Vitjitua Ndjiharine
Workshop, protest and exhibition
November 2021-February 2022
“Alternative to colonial monuments are monuments that communities have come together to put up, in the example of a commemoration site in a mountain or commemoration plaque, stones for the mass graves of the victims of German colonialism in Namibia and then also other commemoration practices, such as battle reenactments, rituals or embodied monuments that hold a collective memory and a collective value for the people in the community.” Vitjitua Ndjiharine
Becoming anti-monuments: Embodying (invisible) stories with children and parents is a workshop, protest and exhibition that took place from October 2021-February 2022 around the FHXB Museum in Berlin.
How do we remember things? How does the city remember its history? Who usually writes history? Through the participation of children and parents we examined complex historical topics in accessible and dynamic ways. From the difference of the function between a Denkmal and Mahnmal, and the range of commemorative strategies a person or a city can use to remember things, we learnt about the relevance of giving visibility to invisible histories and that we all have a role in shaping history together.
Taking as a reference the Anti Kolonial Denkmal in Bremen we spoke about the malleability of history and how through time and active processes of reclamation and protests, monuments have the possibility to be reframed. Along with the contributions from Vitjitua Ndjiharine we spoke about the German-Namibian colonial relationship, what the partition and subjugation of the African continent after the Berlin Conference in 1885 meant for the children and families living there. The children located Namibia in the map and agreed that this story should be remembered to avoid repetition. We learnt together about different commemorative practices and that a tree, a mountain or a garment can also be a monument.
Under the question, which story would you like to give visibility to children made monuments to reclaim causes and positions that for them were important. From Children’s rights to basic needs around the planet, to children’s need to be listened to in political participation, from endangered animals and animal extinction due to climate related causes to justice in acknowledging each person’s ideas, all these anti-monuments were worn and taken in the form of a protest to Oranienplatz where the causes they exposed were presented in public space.
The workshop is part of a series of artistic activations of the online archive Kolonialismus Begegnen, an archive initiated by the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum which collects traces and voices on the post/colonial history of the district and shows that colonialism is neither a historical event nor an academic concept, but rather a power structure that influences our present – a structure that we can change together.
We would like to thank the engagement of the participants and their parents, the role of translation and assistance of Rowan de Freitas, the photographic sensitivity of Pablo Hassan, the openness of Natalie Bayern and Jorinde Splettstößer and the support of Forderung Kulturelle Bildung.
Staying with the Wonder – geolistening shelter – What do Snails Think About Nuclear Power Plants? – ARDE – Fictions / Facts – Environmental Matrix – If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You – Das Zentrum von Gestern – Intersecting Mediterranean(s) – Cuerpo Colectivo – The Land of Thunder and Lightning – Aqualiteracies – Reset (Quimérico) – Babel Media Art – ERROR 14-92 – Who? Where? – Ciudad Anfibia – Beyond the Döner – How high? – 1m² Parque la Independencia – Papel Soberano – Unitedstater – A Picture with a Latina – Public Complaint Office – Wiping Out My National Identity
- Staying with the Wonder
- geolistening shelter
- What do Snails Think About Nuclear Power Plants?
- Fictions / Facts
- Environmental Matrix
- If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You
- Das Zentrum von Gestern
- Intersecting Mediterranean(s)
- Cuerpo Colectivo
- The Land of Thunder and Lightning
- Reset (Quimérico)
- Babel Media Art
- ERROR 14-92
- Who? Where?
- Ciudad Anfibia
- Beyond the Döner
- How high?
- 1m² Parque la Independencia
- Papel Soberano
- A Picture with a Latina
- Public Complaint Office
- Wiping Out My National Identity