Zandile Darko, Serge Fouha & Jelka Plate, Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo, Anna Kryczyńska-Pham, Christine Lemke, Katrin Mayer, Karolin Meunier, Karen Michelsen Castañón mit Pedro Abreu Tejera, Daniela Carrasco, Katty Moreno Bravo & Mauricio Pereyra, Kınay Olcaytu Okzidentalismus-Institut, Anton Stuckardt, Romy Rüegger, Eran Schaerf, Sandra Schäfer, Jan Timme.
Initiated by Christine Lemke in collaboration with Scriptings / Achim Lengerer.
Production by Heiko Karn
With the introduction of a new national immigration law in 2005, the Federal Republic of Germany defined itself as an immigration country for the first time, moving to reform its immigration policy around the concept of “integration.” In cases where there is an “identified need for integration,” individuals can be required by immigration authorities and job centers to attend so-called “integration courses,” which since 2005 have formed the core of the federal integration program.
In contemporary debates over a “leading culture,” often invoked as an indispensable instrument of the state, the purpose of integration courses – besides teaching the German language – is to provide an opportunity for the targeted transmission of values.
The title of our project, Man schenkt keinen Hund (You don’t give a dog as a present), comes from an exercise on the generic pronoun man. The object of the exercise is to discuss what gifts might be appropriate for a housewarming party in Germany. The structure of the exercise, its linking of language-learning content with a representation of seemingly universally valid behaviors, reflects an ambivalent pedagogical gesture.
Conceived as an open-ended research project, Man schenkt keinen Hund adopts various approaches and artistic/theoretical strategies in an attempt to interrogate the identitarian discourses around the concept of “integration” and to investigate the ways these discourses are manifested in the thematic, iconographic, and pedagogical presentation of teaching materials for integration courses.
How, for example, are the characters and individuals that appear in the photographs, drawings, and texts distinguished and made visible as either “immigrants” or “natives”? Which definitions of the “familiar” and the “other” are inscribed in the images, texts, and audio material? What concept of culture is operative and used to produce cultural difference? Or: How is language put in relation to identity?
An “apparatus” of materials assembled from workbooks, audio files, test materials, etc., as well as a collection of images and illustrations from German textbooks used in integration courses, forms the complex starting point for this project. All participants were asked to contribute a piece responding to the apparatus or based on the materials. The artistic, filmic, performative, and textual results will be presented by Scriptings over the space of several months, in various exhibition and event formats as well as within a publication.
“Concept for a Nationwide Integration Course” / Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Kindly supported by: Hauptstadtkulturfonds and Bezirkskulturfondsmitte
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