News: Harun Farocki, Hardselling

Our booklet HaFI 014: Harun Farocki: Hard Selling: Reframed by Elske Rosenfeld is out now. It contains the script and stills from Harun Farocki’s Hard Selling which I respond to in my text-image commentary “Das Fenster / The Window.” The film was supposed to be shown on East German TV – one month before its dissolution at the end of 1991. It was, however, never completed. In the film Farocki looks at a West German adidas salesman as he looks at the East through car and shop windows. In my commentary, I look back at both from a post-East perspective. You can buy the booklet at Motto.

Hugging Angela Davis

Hugging Angela Davis @ 1 Mio Rosen for Angela Davis

Very happy to announce that my new video installation is on show in Dresden at “1 Mio Rosen for Angela Davis”.

Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau
Georg-Treu-Platz 1
01067 Dresden


The exhibition takes its name, and thematic impetus from the large-scale and vastly popular state-organized solidarity campaign in the GDR calling for the release of the US philosopher, communist and Black Power activist Angela Davis. The show focusses on the issues that the now emeritus professor campaigned on at the time, which are still pressing today, and thereby initiates discussion about the background, flaws, and unfulfilled potential of this unusual relationship between Davis and the GDR.

I am showing the video installation “Hugging Angela Davis”. The new, commissioned work for the exhibition is a filmic, performative investigation of a spontaneous hug between Angela Davis and a young East German. The woman, Erika Berthold, was the daughter of communist functionaries and married to the son of the famous communist dissident Robert Havemann, and was herself active in oppositional circles. The work probes into the potentiality opened by this encounter between the two figures and their political struggles. It weaves the narrative questioning of this encounter with a filmic and performative examination of the motif of the embrace as a somatic, affective, political gesture. What can be made of the two women’s mutual recognition, their shared departure from protocol? How does their momentary complicity cross or complicate cultural and political differences and ascriptions? What might a – dissident – politics of the hug look like? “Hugging Angela Davis” is part of my long term project “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures” – which looks at the body as the site and archive of historical experiences.

Adretta in Moscow

Dear friends & colleagues,

I am happy to announce that the exhibition “Leninskiy 95” opens today at the Goethe Institute Moscow – in the impressive building of the former GDR embassy to the Soviet Union. I am showing a new text image collage developed within the long-term project “Adretta”, which I have been working on with Åsa Sonjasdotter for some years opens today at the Goethe Institute Moscow – in the impressive building of the former GDR embassy to the Soviet Union. I am showing a new text image collage developed within the long-term project “Adretta”, which I have been working on with Åsa Sonjasdotter for some years.

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Letzter Tag: Turnen

Foto: Chiara Faggionato

Turnen: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures
Eine ortspezifische Ausstellung zu widerständigen Körpern im ehemaligen Turnsaal der Stasi von Elske Rosenfeld, mit Arbeiten von Gabriele Stötzer, Wolfgang Scholz und Elske Rosenfeld in einer Installation von Andrea Pichl

ist morgen letzmalig zu sehen: 18.12. 15 – 18 Uhr

ADRESSE: Haus 7 (5. & 6. OG) Campus  für Demokratie, Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin-Lichtenberg

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Dissident Stories between GDR and pOstdeutschland #1 Book Launch wild recuperations. material from below

Everyone welcome the launch of our book

wildes widerholen. material von unten. Dissidente Geschichten in DDR und pOstdeutschland.

on 8 December 3 – 8 pm

Haus 7 (5th & 6th floor) Campus für Demokratie, Haus 7
Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin-Lichtenberg

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Turnen/Gymnastics: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures

My exhibition Turnen/Gymnastics: A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures

is on view

Gymastics Room, Haus 7 (5th & 6th floor)
former Stasi-Zentrale, Campus für Demokratie,
Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin-Lichtenberg

from 8 to 18 December 2019.            

Gymnastics/ Turnen is a site-specific exhibition about dissident bodies in the former gymnastics hall of the Stasi with works of Gabriele Stötzer, Wolfgang Scholz and Elske Rosenfeld in an installation by Andrea Pichl

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Exhibition “Utopien” in Dresden

I contributed two videos from “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures”: “A bit of a Complex Situation” (2014) and “Versuche, Framed” (2018) to Utopien. Besetzung, Belegung, Bespielung, Bemächtigung, Besitzung und Verwendung at Motorenhalle e.V. and Technische Universität Dresden. The exhibition and accompanying event series are running till March 7 2020 and are highly recommended.

Statement for the Future

Sala Omnia, former venue of the Romanian Communist Party (foto:

Through a very lucky twist of fate I got to spend the days between the 102nd anniversary of the start of the Russian revolution and the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the end of the East German revolution – 7th to 9th of November – in Bucharest in the company of a bunch of artists and activists, young and old from Bucharest, Budapest, Cluj, Timisoara, Prague, Warsaw, Bratislava, St. Petersburg, Kyiv… I was invited to give a “statement for the future” as part of “Upon us all equally” , organised by the tranzit network, in the amazing Sala Omnia/ Former Communist Party assembly hall. You can watch documentation of my 15 min statement, assembled from manifestos, lists of demands, public statements of groups and individuals, dissidents, work collectives, women’s and lesbian and gay organisations from the autumn and winter of 1989/90 here:

Portable Landscapes: District

Happy to invite you all to the opening of Portable Landscapes: Unweaving the Iron Curtain, next Thursday, 20.6. at District Berlin.

Apart from my golden oldie “A bit of a Complex Situation” (which I already had the privilege of contributing to the Riga edition of Portable Landscapes last year), I am showing my poster-flyer “Letters to Gabi”. I initially made the poster based on an email conversation with East German feminist artist Gabriele Stötzer in 2013 (developed back then as an intervention into the archive of “Up till now!” an exhibition on performance art in the former East at GfzK Leipzig).

I am happy to dig it out for this occasion, because a) if fits really well with the exhibition’s premise of interrogating Eastern European dissident and artist perspectives and biographies from a present day political and artistic point of view, and b) because it picks up on a line of interest in my work (East art histories) that has been an important, if not super visible aspect of my work, and that I am looking forward to picking up on and intensifying in the coming year/s.

Would be great to see you there!

Corporeal Dis/Continuities, The Whole Life Academy

Impromptu archive on the ground

Suza Husse and I had the pleasure and privilege of working with a wonderful group of artists and researchers at “The Whole Life Academy” last week in Dresden in our workshop “Corporeal Dis/Continuities. What bodies know of state-socialism.”. Many thanks to Charlotte Eifler, Nour Hachem, Rita Hajj, Susanne Hopmann, and Ashoka Vardhan – and to the staff of the Palucca University of Dance (the incredibly helpful Marina Brandt!) and the German Hygiene Museum Dresden.

Palast der Republik

The detailed programme of Palast der Republik (8.3.-10.3) is now online. I have been dreaming of seeing a programme like this, that brings together international artists, activist, scholars with protagonists from 1989/90 into discussions, performances, art works, dedicated to the content and relevance of that revolution for, well… the last 30 years…

I am pretty overwhelmed and incredibly thankful to be part of this.

#susanbuckmorss #RunderTisch #annazett #gabrielestötzer #borisbuden#frauenstreik #revolution #biniadamzcak #berndgehrke #deutschewohnenenteignen#annastiede#rundertischfurniture#technosektehenrikenaumann#maxherztberg #berndgehrke #soapandskin etc. etc.

“wild recuperations. material from below. Artistic Research at the Archive of the GDR opposition.”

As some of you know, I have been spending a lot of time over the past months at the Archive of the GDR Opposition in Berlin-Lichtenberg, where together with Suza Husse, a group of fantastic artists and authors, and the wonderfully supportive team of the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft, and with much help from District Berlin, we collectively cooked up our project

“wild recuperations. material from below. Artistic Research at the Archive of the GDR opposition.”

Our baby is now ready to see the light of day! We would love to see you at our opening on Nov 4th or on one of the many other occasions until December 16th.

More info here:

(Photo: Emma Haugh / Performance Big Bang Backwards by Nadia Tsulukidze)

Unterbrechungen: Skripte, Proben, Gesten

Unterbrechungen: Skripte, Proben, Gesten
(Interruptions: Scripts, Rehearsals, Gestures)

Elske Rosenfeld and Achim Lengerer
in collaboration with Bakri Bakhit and Anna Voswinckel

Contributors/Participants: Jane Beran, Judith Braband, Bernd Gehrke, Sigrid Lange, Matias Mieth, Carsten Möller, Carsten Saeger, Leopold Tax, Ina Weisser

KV — Verein für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig e.V.
Kolonnadenstraße 6, 04109 Leipzig

Eröffnung: 21. Juni 2018, 19:00 Uhr
22. Juni – 15. Juli 2018

The exhibition “Interruptions: Scripts, Rehearsals, Gestures” combines new iterations of two respective bodies of research of Achim Lengerer and Elske Rosenfeld. Both practices look at leftist/dissident histories of the pre-1990 East / West Germany, working with and from historical documents in which institutions, groups, and individuals come to be articulated within and beyond language. Physical gestures are conceived in both practices as instances of rupture and openness within historical narratives – in other words, moments where specific configurations of possibility and failure coincide.

For the exhibition, each has produced a new work in a shared work process that involved students of the Leipzig Art Academy as well as protagonists from both historical instances: participants of the Central Round Table of the GDR in 1989 and members of a mid-1980s Jena based Peter Weiss reading group. In this process, Achim has developed a collective performative rehearsal based on text material and transcriptions from his research into the reception of Peter Weiss’s play “Trotsky in Exile” and from his “Aesthetics of Resistance”. Elske has worked out a new format of her project “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures”: a collective exercise in notating and reembodying the physical movements in which the urgency of a revolutionary decision making process manifests as physical excess.

(Photo: Caspar Sänger)

“1990 freilegen” at f/stop festival 2018, Leipzig

Very pleased to be contributing to f/stop festival Leipzig ( with a new site-specific collaboration and by participating in the symposium:

f/stop In Situ: Das Jahr 1990 freilegen / Exposing The Year 1990; Public Display

Opening: 19.6., 7 pm, Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz, Leipzig


With photographs by Andreas Rost, text collages by Elske Rosenfeld, notes by Christian Borchert on the year 1990, and texts by Jan Wenzel. Layout: Wolfgang Schwärzler. Architecture: Diana Felber.

f/stop In Situ looks back at the year 1990. In comparing the years 1989 and 1990 it is remarkable that they have been recorded so differently in the collective memory. Virtually everyone in Germany can recall the events of the fall of 1989, while the year 1990—the lines of development of which were continually being disrupted—often remains unintelligible and incommunicable. Like children who can remember nothing before their third birthday, for many East Germans 1990 seems to be buried. Yet just as the first years of life shape a person’s emotional character, the experiences of 1990—all the hopes, fears, promises of happiness and disappointments – have left their mark on people’s deepest feelings and attitudes.

Free entrance, more information:

f/stop Symposium:

Vom Nachwirken der Bilder. Plenum zu politischen Debatten und Praxen visueller Teilhabe

Sa, 23. 6. 2018, from 2 pm, Halle 14, Leipzig Plagwitz


14:15 – 16:15 Plenum (in German) with Falk Haberkorn, Eva Pluhařová-Grigienė (Moderation), Elske Rosenfeld, Andreas Rost

More info on the festival:

Current and recent writings and publications can be found on my blog

Dissidencies is space for short-form textual observations, for making connections and shared thinking around the politics of 1989/90, its before, and after.

Künstlerische Forschung im Archiv der DDR Opposition

Artistic Research at the Archive of the GDR Opposition

Very happy to announce that Suza Husse and I will begin work on our year-long collaboration with the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Archiv der DDR-Opposition and a group of wonderful artists and writers to work together towards an exhibition, publication, and events programme hosted by District Berlin.

More info is HERE.

Launching my blog

This has been in the works for a while, now ready to see the light of the webosphere:

My blog

DISSIDENCIES is space for short-form textual observations, for making connections and shared thinking around the history of, before, and after 1989.

I have put a few recent texts and postings up there and will be using this as a space for regular writings for beyond the much loved bubble. At least that is the hope, so do spread the word. This is a work in progress, so any feedback, criticism, or suggestions are welcome. Texts in English are here:

Gorki Herbstsalon

I am very pleased to announce that I will be showing new edits of two works,

A bit of a Complex Situation and Reading the Constitution, at:

3. Berliner Herbstsalon
11th-26th November 2017
Opening: 11 November 2017, from 7 pm

Unter den Linden 3
10117 Berlin

More info here:

On Nov 25 2017 at 6 pm Kerstin Meyer, Joerg Franzbecker and I will be launching our publication Berliner Hefte #5: Zur Verfassung as part of the exhibition’s events programme:

Savvy Funk/ Documenta 14 Radio

Today at 15:10 on SAVVY FUNK: Das Radio der Documenta 14 on Deutschlandfunk Achim Lengerer and I talk about my research into the footage from the East German Central Round Table. Looking forward to this!
You can tune in here:
And listen later here:

Adretta: An East German Potato travels to Russia

Just back from the Divnogorie Museum Reserve, in Voronesh Oblast in Russia, where Åsa Sonjasdotter and I presented our research into the photographic archive of the former Institute for Plant Breeding in Groß Lüsewitz and the potato Adretta in the context of Mikhail Lylov’s carefully and lovingly put together mini-festival and book launch “Новые вопросы краеведения”. The book “Parallel Diagonals: artistic inquiry into a landscape” contains an image/text contribution by Åsa and myself, including images from the archive, interviews with the breeders of Adretta and a commentary on the Soviet/Russian afterlife of the potato by Misha Lylov. Available on request.

Capture of Speech: Dialogues with the Militant Film Archive

I presented my performance “She turns her head, …” at THE CAPTURE OF SPEECH, DIALOGUES WITH THE MILITANT FILM ARCHIVE, at Tabakalera, San Sebastian/Donostia last week: An extremely exciting and generous context, bringing together various researchers and artists that are beginning to organise and theorise, and get into conversation about a potential future archive/s of the dispersed and often little known militant films made under and against the Franco regime. It was an amazing priviledge to be able to bear witness and contribute in a very small way to this timely and important effort.


“A bit of a Complex Situation” will be screened at LE RENCONTRES INTERNATIONALES, at Gaîté Lyrique Lyrique, on Friday January 15 – 4PM. There is a trailer on this site (if you go to 16h00):

and at the Berlin edition of Rencontres, on Thu, 17th March, at 3 pm at HKW:

Some pictures from a busy autumn

Better late than never… here are some pictures form the many nice ventures this past autumn:

Talk with Mareike Bernien und Sandra Schäfer at Scriptings/ Berlin Art Week:

(Photo: Emma Haugh)

Opening PhD-in-Practice Final Presentation, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna:

Talk with Margareta Kern and Karen Mirza, at On Fictions and Gestures in the Contemporary: Art and Moving Image (organised by Mihaela Brebenel/ Radical Media Forum, Goldsmiths College London):

(Photo: Mihaela Brebenel)

Talk with Judith Braband and Sebastian Pflugbeil, former participants of the Central Round Table of the GDR, on December 7th 2015 (the 25th anniversary of its first meeting) in the exhibition at Galerie im Turm:

(Photo: Naomi Henning)