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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.