Picture: Florian Keller

Picture: Florian Keller
Logo of the Hebbel am Ufer
Photo: Florian Keller

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall students from three Berlin neighbourhoods come together with artists who were themselves in school or formation in 1989 to deal with aspects of the fall of the Wall and the stories interwoven with it. They present their contemporary perspectives in dialogue with human, plant and object witnesses in works at the interface of performance and installation.

“Once you were there, now we’re here!” is part of the festival “Comrades, I Am Not Ashamed of My Communist Past” and is a collaboration with “Landesprogramm Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen Berlin,” Kurt Tucholsky Secondary School, Fritz Karsen School and Hector Peterson School.

Club Real & Elie Gregory with students from Fritz Karsen School:
Club of Real Existing Plants

Are plants communists? Or do they lead a struggle for survival of the fittest within capitalism? What did the GDR do for plants? Are they among the winners of the transition? From the wheat in the GDR emblem to the spider plants in the Plattenbau apartments and the oak of a Lichtenberg school altar for Stalin: 24 students develop an electro-acoustic environment with eight green witnesses to history. They transform the Houseclub into a luminous landscape with plant stories, from the living environment during the GDR to futuristic visions for the year 2089.

KGI with students from Hector Peterson School:
Grey Zone 89

Inspired by the large amount of grey in media representations of the GDR, KGI and students from Hector Peterson School enter the grey zone together, subjecting Berlin to an aesthetic reality check that ends in a documentary-fictional stage performance. What is a grey zone? How ungrey is it today at the places that once were presumably steeped in grey? How grey am I or how grey are you? And above all: What’s up with all this colour fetishism anyway? The grey light of dawn has always stood for rising up, as Nina Simone sang long ago in the song “Feeling Good:” “It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me!” What is grey for you?

Luise Meier & Maximilian Feldmann with students from Kurt Tucholsky School:
Filmklub 19:89

Filmklub 19:89 documents the meeting of young people from the year 1989 with young people from the year 2019. What’s it like to be a young person in the midst of a huge historical event? Do you notice it, or do you just look on? Great freedom or great demands? Students from Kurt Tucholsky Secondary School developed questions over a week, met with people who were young in ’89 and conducted interviews. A film mosaic of all the little stories, open questions, different impressions and personal memories: the things that want to be told and asked beyond big linear narratives and history books.

Annett Gröschner with the culture class at Fritz Karsen School:
Things with history(ies)

Every object that accompanies us through our lives has a value, but it can’t always be measured as a sum of money. Often it is precisely the defects that bind us to a thing, since they are associated with quite personal memories. The ear ripped off a plush toy, the chewed-up end of a pen, the key that no longer has a lock. Things tell us a lot about the time in which they were and are used. For the project “Things with history(ies)” Annett Gröschner and the culture class at Fritz Karsen School want to give voice to things produced before or around 1989 and that are bound to their owners through a quite particular history. At the same time they want to tell a piece of the history of the separation of Berlin, and to present the things and their histories in a small exhibition.

Florian Keller with the culture class at Fritz Karsen School:
Us through my lens

The photographer and teacher Florian Keller goes on a photographic excursion into the present with the culture class at Fritz Karsen School. As a young person Keller walked through the streets of the GDR, documenting his environment and exploring it through his lens. The students grapple with contemporary photography, documenting their lived reality with the camera. How does the city breathe? What does their Berlin look like? Together they present an exhibition of how they used photography to grapple with their city, then and now.

*Quote from the film “WR: Mysteries of the Organism” by Dušan Makavejev / Title of the production “Drugovi, ja se ni sada ne stidim svoje komunističke prošlosti / Comrades, I Am Not Ashamed of My Communist Past” by Sanja Mitrović.
An event series by HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Funded within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. In cooperation with the state programme “Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen.”