wild recuperations. material from below

Dissident practices and sociabilities of the late GDR unfolded in a present that was largely detached from any utopian future. Their traces are alive in the memory of those involved in the cultural and political underground at the time and in numerous materials and documents held in archives and collections. This book is the result of a transdisciplinary research process that brought artists, researchers, writers, curators, archivists, activists, and multiple interlocutors together at the Archive of the GDR Opposition in Berlin. The materials gathered there draw a complex picture of individual and collective life worlds that deviated from repressive social norms and of the environmental, feminist, and grass-roots democratic practices and radical proposals that took shape in response to the promise and failures of state socialism.

wild recuperations follows a shared desire to bring these experiences and environments from below into a meaningful dialogue with the present. Drawing on current artistic and political forms of working with archives and memory, the book gathers a plurality of approaches from and across critical post-socialist, queer*feminist, Black, post-migrant, and intersectional perspectives. The positions from which histories are experienced, desired, and told – their situatedness in bodies, languages, and ecologies – are part of each story.

Dissident Stories from the GDR and pOstdeutschland #1

Edited by Elske Rosenfeld
and Suza Husse

With contributions by Alex Gerbaulet + Mareike Bernien, Anna Zett, Elsa Westreicher, Elske Rosenfeld, Ernest Ah + Sabrina Saase + Lee Stevens of the Raumerweiterungshalle collective Ina Röder Sissoko + Suza Husse, Irena Kukutz, Nadia Tsulukidze, Peggy Piesche, Samirah Kenawi, Technosekte + Henrike Naumann and Katalin Cseh­Varga, Maria Josephina Bengan Making Rebecca Hernandez García Redi Koobak, Sebastian Pflugbeil, Tim Eisenlohr.

in collaboration with the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft / Archive of the GDR Opposition

Published by District*School without center and Archive Books

Design by Elsa Westreicher

This non-existence – not finding oneself reflected back anywhere, having no counterpart, no scale, no representation – in itself can lead to insanity in a different way. To living toward nothingness.

Samirah Kenawi

District * School without Center is a queer feminist art space and cultural center in Berlin. Since 2009 we have been working as a place for development and reflection for artistic research and practice, critical educational work, trans*disciplinary cultural work and discrimination-critical knowledge and theory production. Grounded in intersectional, queer, discrimination-critical and decolonial approaches, District explores the curatorial as a performative and analytical practice and probes new kinds of community. With a focus on locating artistic practice in the tensions between body and urban space, infrastructure and desire, ecology and performance, history and imagination, District develops collaborative and research-oriented formats.