Spaces of Inconsolability
How do the German politics of remembrance manifest themselves within the urban space? From the Berlin Palace to the Garrison Church in Potsdam, from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community to the Stiftung Orte der Demokratiegeschichte (“Foundation for the Sites of the History of Democracy”) – Max Czollek, in his new collection of essays entitled Versöhnungstheater (Theatre of Reconciliation), looks at how the architecture of remembrance now seems to revolve around a re-discovery of positive German history as a blueprint for identification in the pluralist present day. In the process, the narratives that speak of violence, destruction, theft, deportation or murder recede into the background. What does this mean for a concept of institutionalized memory of German colonial history, as Ibou Diop has been commissioned to develop by the city of Berlin? How can such a concept be given spatial manifestation?
Max Czollek and Ibou Diop advocate considering places of remembrance as places of inconsolation – because this history has happened and, as they make clear, no memorial or day of remembrance can undo it. Memory as inconsolability could remind us to organise the present in such a way that the violent past does not repeat itself.
Accompanying programme to the POWER SPACE VIOLENCE. Planning and Building under National Socialism exhibition.
Max Czollek is an author and lives in Berlin. He is part of the poetry collective G13 and co-editor of the magazine Jalta - Positionen zur jüdischen Gegenwart. With Sasha Marianna Salzmann he initiated the Disintegration Congress 2016,the Radical Jewish Culture Days 2017 and the Days of Jewish-Muslim Guiding Culture 2020 at the Maxim Gorki Theater. In 2022 he curated the exhibition Revenge - History and Fantasy (2022) at the Jewish Museum Frankfurt a. M.. In 2023, his third volume of essays, Versöhnungstheater, a critique of the German culture of remembrance, was published.
Ibou Coulibaly Diop is a literary scholar and curator. He is currently working on a remembrance concept of colonialism for the Berlin Senate and, together with Lorraine Bluche, he works for the Stiftung Berliner Stadtmuseum in the competence center for decolonization. In his work, he is interested in the question of how it is possible to grow together despite differences and what approaches towards this can be found in literature.