Three Questions for... Anne Kauhanen

Anne Kauhanen, cultural producer and project manager of "What Remains? Interactive Installation on West and East German Post-War Memories" at Moves gUG.

Ms. Kauhanen, your project refers to continuities and ruptures in West and East German post-war memories. How did you approach the family interviews?

We delved deeply into Nazi crimes and their impact on family memory in East and West Germany. The focus was on critically reflecting on the shared German history, both literally and symbolically understood. We were guided by the question of how to address, inclusively and respectfully, these issues especially for young people in a post-migrant society. Naturally, this also implies taking stock of current debates surrounding the so-called German memory culture, questions that arise anew after the events around October 7th. In our diverse team, we collectively developed a guideline for biographical interviews. Through various connections to the Nazi era, we were able to consider different perspectives. However, personal connections to GDR history were largely absent, so an inductive approach was crucial for our meaningful material.

We conducted interviews with up to three generations of a family. For each generation, there is a separate guideline aimed at bridging the generations. We gained access to our interviewees through professional and personal networks. Additionally, we utilized both digital and analog advertising methods. From the interviews conducted, we obtained a wealth of audio and, to some extent, video material.

On November 7th, the installation of your project with multi-perspective narratives on post-war memories will be opened in Bremen. What can visitors expect, and how do you incorporate the perspective of young people?

Visitors can expect a multimedia presentation of family stories spanning multiple generations and diverse social and cultural backgrounds related to the topic of Nazi injustice. There are thematic focuses, such as (family) memories of the end of World War II. Multigenerational stories are intertwined with historical excursions in plain language. In a space adorned with canvases, projections, and display cases, visitors can walk through MEMORY SPACES and find points of connection to their own lives. At the end of the exhibition, there will be a visitor gallery where they can share their thoughts. Our project is connected to current events surrounding October 7th both in content and through (family) biographical references from interviewees and staff. Initially, a social media campaign, co-created by students, will launch. Additionally, with the exhibition opening, a project week involving 200 students will commence, focusing on various thematic aspects of the exhibition through artistic work.

How do you ensure that the results of your project remain visible in the long term?

We aim to reach young people, especially those who may not necessarily come into contact with Nazi injustice and current issues otherwise. For example, we have concrete ideas about how a portion of the exhibition can be booked by schools and how our educational staff can offer discrimination-sensitive project days. Another related idea is to design "What Remains?" as a traveling exhibition. On the day of the opening, our Scrollytelling website will also go online, ensuring nationwide accessibility to our material.

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