ENTANGLED: VERWOBEN & VERGESSEN
“In the zeitgeist of exhibitions, Völkerschauen and savage porn, now and then we can find a lot of pictures in archives, on eBay and more recent up-to-date on social media and dating platforms. Often these pictures seem harmless, mingling among friends. Curiosity in the name of anthropology. The white gaze feasts on our complexion. So much, that Black presence in Germany still is an attraction and maybe reminds them of their own inferiority, then we become “the Black Horror“, “die Schwarze Schmarch“. Desire and shame are close to each other, so is guilt and shame. Close your eyes and imagine a German. Close your eyes and imagine a European, Close your eyes and imagine a Tirailleurs Senegalais. Remember the massacre of 1940.“ (Transcript of video work of “Verwoben & Vergessen)
In her newly textile- and video installation Rebecca Pokua Korang pays attention to the relationship between necropolitics, the right to decide who has to die and who can live, and embodied resilience. Korang juxtaposes imagery of original photography she acquired on eBay, documentations of Black prisoners of war in camps and the Nazi propaganda film “Germanin - Die Geschichte diner kolonialen Tat“, with contemporary news reports, sonic epistemologies and an embodied movement research. This juxtaposition invites viewers to reconsider these images in other ways, breaking away from the limitations of conventional historical interpretations.
In this tapestry of media, Korang beckons viewers to reevaluate these images from a novel vantage point, highlighting the continuities of Germany’s colonial footprint and supremacy ideology. The collision of these diverse elements sparks reimagining, granting these images new life and relevancy, and ultimately challenging the status quo of our understanding of history and the past. Simultaneously, her movement research draws attention to the body as an archive, highlighting the significance of embodied memory and the multifaceted nature of historical narratives.
The textile installation is stretching forth in dimensions of 4 by 3 meters: A patchwork composition, fusing together a kaleidoscope of tactile materialities. Among these is the frumpy German curtain lace fabric—a fabric that once served as a veil, shrouding the eyes of those who chose to avert their gaze when their witness was most crucial. This fabric carries layers of implication, woven into it is the weight of history, where complicity was hidden behind a façade.
Intertwined with this is the intimate texture of a fisher's sponge—an emblem of Korang's Ghanaian heritage, rich in cultural significance. This seemingly mundane object, tied to her upbringing, resonates with the act of cleansing—a poignant metaphor for the vulnerable within the context of oppression. And at the core of this textile narrative, photographs materialise through the cyanotype technique, emerging like artefacts from the sun. These visual fragments, manipulated in part, reveal the poignant imagery of prisoners of war—conveying a blueprint of colonial practices imprinted within a curtain.