Ankersentrum. (surviving in the ruinous ruin)

11.03.2020 - 28.03.2020

Natascha Süder Happelmann
Temporary accommodation camp (surviving in the ruinous ruin), 2019

Mobile audio station – sound recordings, videos, texts
Germany Pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Collateral event:
Talk with curators Ludwig Sayfarth and Dorothee Albrecht
Moderated by Radostin Sedevchev
Friday, 27. March, 6.30 pm
in English

The artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian is known for accepting multiple identities. The official press releases about her and the biographies that one can find in the gallery contradict her home country, date of birth or place of residence. N.S. Haghighian was selected to represent Germany at the 2019 Venice Biennale. To that end, she created Natasha Süder Happelmann’s fictitious personality and wore a mask during the press conference to announce her.

The artist and her spokeswoman Helene Duldung announced in October 2018 that the German pavilion would be an Ankersentrum (temporary accommodation camp) for the duration of the biennial. In search of temporary solutions and opportunities for survival, resistance and solidarity, more and more ruins are being reclaimed, enlightened, remodelled, re-lived. However, the ruins themselves are not important, what is becoming more urgent is their absorption. The temporary accommodation campat the German Pavilion consisted of a space installation that, with its construction, sculptural and sound elements, opened up the space for an immediate somatic experience.

At the heart of the installation, entitled Ankersentrum (surviving in the ruinous ruin)was the sound composition Tribute to whistle. It refers to a widespread method used by migrants to warn each other by whistling when the police arrive to try to deport them.Natasha Süder Happelmann commissioned six musicians and composers of different musical traditions and genres to create compositions for a simple signal whistle. The new works were presented in an installation of 8 sound channels, which overlap in different ways and constantly create new audio impressions in the space of the German pavilion.

The composition of Tribute to whistle allows it to be easily moved and presented at any other place. From January 2020, the Goethe-Institute presents the composition and the German Pavilion in the form of a traveling mobile audio station, which now has its stop in Sofia.

The mobile station, which can be viewed at Structura Gallery between March 11 and March 28, includes the following items:

  • A turntable with Tribute to Whistle issued on a vinyl record. With the musical participation of Jessica Ekomane, Maurice Louca, DJ Marfox, Jako Maron, Tisha Mukarji und Elnaz Seyedi.
  • The videos, which were produced by Natasha Süder Happelmann before the 58th Venice Biennale, and which are part of her overall project at the German Pavilion. The video trilogy marks the way towards Ankersentrum (temporary accommodation camp). Without commenting on it, she silently testified and linked various places around the world, such as the Bavaria Temporary Accommodation Centre, the Apulia tomato plantation, or the Trapani Customs Rescue Ship.
  • Texts from the pavilion catalogue, which is an essential part of the overall artistic project. The designer is Maziyar Pahlevan and the publisher Archive Books. It contains poems, drawings, photographs and texts by Natascha Süder Happelmann, Nida Ghouse, Franciska Zólyom, Helene Duldung, Rheim Alkadhi, Aino Korvensyrjä, David Jassey, Rex Osa, Jasper Kettner, Fritz Lazlo Weber and Felix Meyer.

You can find more about Ankersentrum (surviving in the ruinous ruin)on the pavilion’s website:

Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s transmedia work deals with issues of visibility and collectivity – often in collaboration with other artists and collectives. Spatial installations are tied to site-specific performances, digital appearances or publications, and all of these together create an inter-species habitat for Haghighian ‘s artistic work. The fundamental question is “How” – or how something is formed and organized.