In the short film Sommerspiele (Summer Games), the artist, choreographer and performer Eszter Salamon juxtaposes her speculative work surrounding the life and work of the German avant-garde artist Valeska Gert with the Nazi architecture of the 1936 Olympic Summer Games – which today serves as a site of tourism, professional sports, entertainment and recreation.
The film is set in various locations that were built to host the 1936 Berlin Olympics: a football stadium, an open-air theatre and a swimming pool. The architectural remnants transport memories of the diverse relationships that art and artists entered into with the National Socialist regime, while others – including Valeska Gert herself – were considered creators of “degenerate art”. The film addresses the failure of collective memory and imagines memory through fiction and embodiment, through film and performance. Salamon formulates a poetic resistance to the historical cinematographic, choreographic, sculptural and architectural gestures and their totalitarian ideologies of body representation that are still prevalent today. Her counter-narrative embodies the grotesque – a performative weapon that was employed by Valeska Gert.
Summer Games reflects on the presence and absence of bodies in public space and on the role of historical sites of collective trauma in today's social and political imagination.
Accompanying programme to the POWER SPACE VIOLENCE. Planning and Building under National Socialism exhibition
Dorothee Richter is a curator, writer and filmmaker. She is professor of contemporary curating at the Zurich University of the Arts (where she founded the CAS/MAS in Curating), director of the PHD in Practice in Curating at the University of Reading, and managing editor of OnCurating.org and the OnCurating Project Space in Zurich. She was artistic director of Künstlerhaus Bremen (1999-2004) and initiator of Curating Degree Zero Archive with Barnaby Drabble (2003-2008). With Ronald Kolb she develops the international workshop series Curating on the Move, often together with Small Projects for Coming Communities.
Eszter Salamon is an artist, choreographer, and performer. She lives and works between Berlin and Paris. Since 2001, she has created performances, lecture-performances, films, and installations that have been presented in performing arts venues and museums internationally. She is currently doing a Ph.D. in artistic research at the National Academy of the Arts, in Oslo. She uses choreography as an activating and organizing agency between various media, such as image, sound, music, text, voice, and bodily movements.