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New Meetup: Short Films and Talk plus Exhibition Opening on Life in former East Germany

From: Elke
Sent on: Monday, November 29, 2010 10:53 AM
Announcing a new Meetup for The New York City German Language Meetup Group!

What: Short Films and Talk plus Exhibition Opening on Life in former East Germany

When: Thursday, December 9,[masked]:00 PM

Where: German Consulate General
871 United Nations Plaza First Avenue at 49th Street
New York, NY 10017

The German Consulate is hosting two events in one night, both of which deal with life in the former East Germany. I would be pleased to see some members of the German Meeup there! Free admission.

Important: I need your full name for the guest list no later than December 8, 5 p.m. Doors: 5.45 p.m. Begin: 6 p.m. There will be no late seating for the first part of the event, so if you are running late, you will only be able to stay for the exhibition opening which starts at 7 p.m.!

Stefan Roloff, a pioneer of digital imagery, will give a talk on the subject "Beyond The Berlin Wall" in the auditorium, framed by a series of unique short videos dealing with the phenomenon of the Wall.

Afterwards, curator Thomas G?nther will guide you through the exhibition opening "Pleased to Meet You - Poesie des Untergrunds" in the lobby.

"Beyond The Berlin Wall"

Stefan Roloff, a New York-based artist, visited his native West Berlin in 1984 to document "daily life in the death zone" - the brightly lit strip containing watch-towers, minefields and anything else that would keep Eastern citizens from crossing over to the Western side. The videos show the "nine to five jobs" of its border guards.

Against the backdrop of this footage, Mr. Roloff will take his audience to the other side of the Wall, which kept a population contained while it also hid the secret activities of its government.

Scrutinized by Western media and in need of economic help, the East had to stop torturing political prisoners in the 70s in order to claim respect for human rights. However, internally, the Stasi developed a secret technique called "Zersetzung," or "disintegration." Its goal was to force dissidents into inner isolation, driving many of them to voluntarily check into psychiatric hospitals or to commit suicide. The results looked like casualties that could happen in any free society. Nobody could fathom that they were the results of an orchestrated effort of psychological torture in daily life.

Mr. Roloff is currently preparing a feature film based on true events involving "Zersetzung." His dramatic, fictional work is based on extensive research. Part of it was drawn from fifty interviews he conducted with former dissidents about their experiences with the East German secret police, or Stasi.

In his talk, Mr. Roloff will speak about how he perceived the Wall, first as a child growing up in West Berlin, later regarding it from the distance of New York, and finally, as he plans to portray in his film.

"Pleased to Meet You - Poesie des Untergrunds"

Enticing Ephemera from the Literary and Art Scene in East Berlin, 1979 - 1989

With songs sung by Ekkehard Maa?

East Berlin in the Eighties: Alliances are forged between poetry and art, art and music, and music and poetry again, particularly in the down-and-out working-class district of Prenzlauer Berg. Beyond the officially-sponsored culture industry of the State, a new scene comes together in search of a language not hemmed in by ideological boundaries, a language its members sought and found in their own artistic creations. Tantamount to a declaration of independence, this search led to a poetry of the underground. Its vestiges and relicts - in the form of original posters, illegally distributed invitations, and rare cassette tapes of punk and underground bands - are on display in this exhibition, building bridges back to the stirring new departures of another time, from which artists and writers still draw nourishment today. In other words - back to our roots.

Participating artists:

Claus Bach, Micha Brendel, Kurt Buchwald, Anatol Erdmann, Flanzend?rfer, Thomas Florsch?tz, Rainer G?r?, Thomas G?nther, Harald Hauswald, Volker Henze, Sabine Hermann, Joseph W. Huber, Uta H?nniger, Sabine Jahn, Johannes Jansen, Ralf Kerbach, Klaus Killisch, Helge Leiberg, Via Lewandowsky, Ronald Lippok, Oskar Manigk, Erhard Monden, Helga Paris, A. R. Penck, Robert Rehfeldt, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Wolfram Adalbert Scheffler, Hans Scheib, Christine Schlegel, Cornelia Schleime, Petra Schramm, Gundula Schulze, Heike Stephan, Strawalde, Joerg Waehner, Veronika Wagner, Clemens Wallrot, Horst Wanski, Uwe Warnke, Trakia Wendisch, Karla Woisnitza, Michael W?rzberger, Reinhard Zabka, Klaus Zylla

Curators: Ingeborg Quaas, Uwe Warnke and Thomas G?nther

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