Thursday, 1 October 2009

Tate Britain Symposia - 28th Sate: European Borders in an Age of Anxiety

I will be taking part in the forthcoming symposium at the Tate Britain.

28th State: European Borders in an Age of Anxiety
Tate Britain, Saturday 24 October 2009, 10.00–18.00

This symposium questions how artists and curators in Europe are currently engaging with ideas around borders, nationhood, social organisation and collaboration. What is role of art within this context, particularly in relation to the current state of European politics and increasing social unease within many rapidly changing populations? Invited international speakers include Shaheen Merali, Elvira Dyangani, and Margareta Kern.
Part of Borderline project, curated by Sonya Dyer.
Supported by Chelsea Programme, Chelsea College of Art and Design and City Inn Westminster

image: Guestworkers at AEG Telefunken, c 1973.
From the personal album of the 'guestworker' who wished to remain anonymous, 2009

Margareta Kern: On being a guest (or when histories become stories and stories histories)

As part of my recent art residency in Berlin, I researched an organised mass labour migration from the socialist Yugoslavia to the capitalist West Germany, which took place in the late 1960s. The labour migrants were called ‘Gastarbeiter’ or ‘guest workers’, alluding to their temporary stay. Many of these temporary workers never returned home. Through personal interviews with those who stayed in Berlin, and research into the specific historical and political contexts of the time, a narrative began to emerge, filled with tension between a yearning for home, an aspiration for material and social wellbeing and precarious immigration laws and policies, all connected by the ever-changing needs of the labour market. As well as drawing out this tension through images and narration, I also intend to explore the position of artist in re-creating and re-covering (hi)stories and memories (and in turn the relationship of those to contemporary collective historical and political narratives and myths).