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A playful deconstruction and cataloguing of traditions in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) and connecting them to events in the German history of the past decades. Currently in development, see mock-up renderings.

Abstract of full project description
Since 2014 I have been travelling together with the artist Lars Preisser to the Ore Mountains almost every year, sometimes several times, to film and take photos of the local nature, architecture and traditional wood craft productions. My premier interest stemmed from my childhood. My mother, an Armenian naturalized in Bulgaria, had admired the expensive wood craft when she was a child and later a student in Halle/Saale and later Leipzig in Saxony. My grandmother had been a guest singer at the Halle opera house, and my mother stayed in the country when her engagement ended. As a child, I also had small wooden figures, nutcrackers as well as toy soldiers, children with sleds and other figurines. I learned they were all of Chinese descent bought on vietnamese markets. My first nutcracker of genuine Ore Mountain origin was a miniature bought at Kaufhof at Berlin-Alxanderplatz. Since then I had wanted to travel to the toy manufacturers in Seiffen/Ore Mountains, but we were always too low on funds.

In 2014, news began making the rounds of a revitalization of the political right in the East part of Germany, especially Saxony, after the 2013 'Lichtellauf' in Schneeberg/Ore Mountains, an anti-immigrant rally organized by the extremist NPD. Other displays of extremist right-wing politics followed each other in quick succession, from which eventually the movement PEGIDA was grown, that gained lots of media attention. My longstanding interest in the region only deepened with these developments. I visited the museums about local mining and woodworking culture in Seiffen, Olbernhau, Annaberg-Buchholz, and and began collecting literature about the region, both buying them off the internet and making copies in libraries.

Historically, German nationalism is partly rooted in the republican movement propelled by the Grimm Brothers' interest in the early 19th Century in researching, collecting and circulating German folklore, which culminated in a magazine called 'Altdeutsche Waelder'. The themes of 'German Woods' and 'Heimat' are momentarily experiencing a renaissance in right wing and liberal art institutional narratives alike.

A strike of silver in the 15th Century rang in an era of extraordinary prosperity in the Ore Mountains, a narrow strip of wooded area that closes Saxony to the Eastern border. When profits in the mining business began to dry up, families took up woodworking crafts. The combination of mining and woodcraft has produced a unique ensemble of christmas decorations and traditions that center around darkness and light. One characteristic shape is the Schwibbogen, an illuminated arch symbolizing the dark adit opening into the mine. Another is an orientalist figure called 'Turk'. The relationship between shadows and light plays an important role in the self-portrayal of the region.

Artistically I engaged with the region for the first time in 2015 where I curated an exhibition: Erzgebirgisches LaserAtomKraftwerk mit Pigmentfenster
It featured the work 'made by us' by Saori Kaneko and Richard Welz that deals with nuclear radiation in the Ore Mountains, Japan and elsewhere.