House is at once my family album and an attempt to interrogate the boundary constructions between the public and the private, between outside and inside and to trace how these delimitations are kept in place, enacting and enveloping the familial and domestic spaces within societal structures.
As an actual site, it is my mother’s childhood home, which became an empty house after her father died in early 2015. In June 2015 a fortnight in the village and with House to retrace some of my own encounters with the house, its basement, its inhabitants, its unblemished curtains as well as to engage both with family members, notably my mother and father as well as friends who came to visit me at House in a piece of memory work and retelling of traces, ghosts and shadows.
This work is ongoing.
appr0ach.net is a depository of my first encounters with the empty house and a seeking of form that can make visible family matters in (non-)ficitional forms.
House (stories) presents a performative retelling of the mutability of characters, roles and potential storylines.
House was built by my great-grandfather in 1935 in West Germany following the death of his young wife. It was home to two sons who joined the SS and Wehrmacht enthusiastically, one of them survived the other did not. It was the home of my grandmother who moved in not only as fiancee but also home-help to her father-in-law, and later, post-war to my mother and her seven-year younger sister. From 1944 to 1964 it also housed several families of refugees from East-Prussia and elsewhere. House has a basement that I have been afraid of all my life. Thus, part of these boundary negotiations is also the place of violence within public and private within a society of perpetrators, unacknowledged guilt and the role the children and grandchildren generation play for negotiating these.