A visual journey into East Germany

DEUTSCHE DEMOKRATISCHE Republik, the German Democratic Republic, the DDR, GDR, or more simply, East Germany, although no longer existent, continues to fascinate.

The Communist state existed from 1949 to 1990, but 21 years after it was absorbed by West Germany, its culture, politics, emblems, automobiles, ideology, its secret police, and even its kitsch constantly draw the attention of writers, academics, artistes, historians, kitsch collectors, tourists, and Germans who like to differentiate themselves from the ‘Wessis’.

East Germany will be the subject of a new film by the Berlin artist Amie Siegel at this year’s TULCA festival of visual art. Her film DDR/DDR, will be screened in the Nuns Island Theatre at 11am, 1.15pm, and 3.30pm every day, up to and including November 20. The film lasts for two hours and 15 minutes.

DDR/DDR is a mosaic of interviews and incidents which examine issues of history, state control, personal identity, and memory.

The camera moves through derelict East German buildings and records a man throwing Stasi-style electronic equipment from a moving truck; and an East German mother reminisces about her family’s more comfortable life before reunification, all of which illustrates that there is no one interoperation of what East Germany was or meant.

Amie Siegel works in 16mm and 35mm film, video, sound, and writing. Her work uses the voyeuristic gaze, direct address, and interview to look at how these things shape cultural memory. She has exhibited widely throughout the world; has been artist in residence of the DAAD Berliner-Künstlerprogramm, and received the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Admission to DDR/DDR is free. No booking is required. Amie Siegel will give a public talk about her film with Katherine Waugh on Friday November 18 at 6pm in the Nuns Island Theatre. All are welcome.

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