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CAELIUS JUVENILIS – Episode III: The Aliens Time Travel to the GDR and its “Brother Countries”

The Shadow Museum, a collective of young people seeking alternative approaches to the museum institution for several years, is now exploring the history of former “contract workers” from the so-called “brother countries” of the GDR together with sideviews. From the perspective of aliens, the young people examine how the then “brother countries policy” affects current societal issues such as racism and discrimination, based on their life experiences and the exhibition Echos der Bruderländer at the House of World Cultures (HKW). The artistic research of the Shadow Museum is presented at the HKW as an interactive, playful, and extraterrestrial symposium.

Foto sideviews
Foto sideviews

By/with Laith Azimi, Anna Bartels, Lou Braun, Romy Drieschner, Mariama Juric, Sharon Morane Momo, Elis Nägele, Phanuel Nlend Nlend, Elijah Sagor, Elona Sagor, Anja Scheffer, Moritz Scheffer, Cem Yildiz and the contemporary witnesses Mavinga P. Petrasch, Wilma Florath, Monika Kegel, Anja Paetsch

Foto Jamila Grote

Foto Jamila Grote

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Caelius Juvenilis – The Return of the Aliens

Episode I: O Quilombismo

The aliens are back at the HKW: For the exhibition O Quilombismo, the Shadow Museum is staging a performative game in the HKW. From the perspective of aliens of the species Caelius Juvenilis, it juggles with different perspectives, takes biographies of artists, members of the Shadow Museum and their family archives, as well as from further interviews. The result is an interactive game in which visitors are invited to adopt different, new perspectives, to engage with “foreign” and fictitious biographies, and to move through the game in the process. Artistic framing is provided by a spoken chorus and interactive dialogues of the aliens, documenting the research results of the Shadow Museum as a collage of fragments from interviews, archival research, literary texts, contents of the Quilombismo exhibition, etc. 

PERFORMANCE Aliens (in German language)

Making Of – How to become a good Alien (in German Language):

Artistic Research:

Further information:

This project was funded by:

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Caelius Juvenilis

An Alien Encounter

As participants in the House of World Cultures (HKW-Berlin) program “All Life. An Archive Project”, in which topics such as collective memory and accessibility of knowledge were discussed, the Shadow Museum proposed an intervention that addressed the memory of the institution itself. The Youth Committee used science fiction as a framework in which new institutional questions could be discussed, with the intention of making HKW the focus. The members of the Shadow Museum regarded the HKW as a spaceship and reinvented themselves as aliens on planet Earth. In the position of the ultimate stranger, they examined life on Earth, for example on issues such as decolonization, equality and diversity, offering a critical perspective on the institution’s approach to these issues.

This interactive performance was performed five times at the House of World Cultures (HKW-Berlin), taking the film “Caelius Juvenilis – An Extraterrestrial Encounter” as its point of origin.

For more information:

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Silhouette – fashion, sustainability and archive

The Berlinische Galerie archive’s collection of fashion photos, clothing and accessories and also its works of art with and about fashion were taken as the jumping-off point for research by a 456 grade class on fashion, clothing, history, society and sustainability.

Design drafts were created in a five-day workshop and presented in a fashion show. The designs were then staged photographically. The photos are on permanent exhibition in the Nürtingen elementary school.

Parallel to the artistic-educational fashion project, the SILHOUETTE catalogue was designed by Moritz Scheffer (Schattenmuseum Youth Committee).

The curator Marcelo Rezende was invited to write an introductory text on the fashion designs created by the students for the catalogue.

The fashion project took place in May 2021 with the students Ritta, Enna, Pawel, Nilcan, Gustav, Bella, Milena, Lula, Noel, Emir, Lamia, Rüstem, Zümra, Hafsa, Semih and Emilia from class 456D, their teachers Claudia Merz and Isolde Binsteiner, as well as the artists Anja Scheffer and Daria Kornysheva with their creative assistant Zahraa Abdul-Hamid. 

All designs were designed and produced by the students from recycled material in a 5-day workshop. Zahraa Abdul-Hamid (Schattenmuseum Youth Committee) staged the photos of the models in collaboration with the artists Daria Kornysheva and Anja Scheffer. 

We thank our sponsors:

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In German Lands

Where do I come from and where do I belong? Which group do I belong to and which not? And why? What does power and dominance mean? Accompanied by an ethnologist, a musician and a director, students from Kreuzberg went in search of social, political and family contexts and their dissonances. Voices and moods were captured in their topicality and explosiveness and honed through performance as a panopticon of the most diverse social attitudes. The Jewish Museum Berlin has adopted some elements to accompany the exhibition “A for Jewish”.

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Circle of Life

Based on the Torah mappah, a Jewish ritual object, sideviews collaborated with schoolchildren to develop a performative exhibition in the Jewish Museum Berlin on the themes of identity, community, love, gender and migration. Prompted by the questions “Who am I?” and “What aspirations do my parents have for me and how do I want to live?” the children sought their own formats for a narrative in the museum. 

The result is an interactive game of life accompanying a jointly devised pop-up exhibition. Visitors were invited to grapple with changes in perspective and anomalous biographies.

In November 2018, the game was integrated into the program accompanying the exhibition “A as in Jewish” in the Jewish Museum Berlin and also invited to the Children’s Biennale in Dresden in February 2019.

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A for Jewish

An artistic research at the Jewish Museum Berlin, 2017-2019.

The goal is to develop an exhibition format together with young people. In a dialogue with people from different backgrounds, experiences and points of view, the Jewish Museum Berlin is both investigated in an open, dialogical process and simultaneously included in the curatorial work of the museum in order to create a dialogue with them. The “Schattenmuseum” takes its lead from the structures, needs and goals of the museum, looks for alternative approaches and designs an experimental set-up. Content, formats and methods are developed and implemented creatively in cooperation with schoolchildren, residents and museum employees.

First, ethnographic-aesthetic investigations in urban space (Measuring Jewish Berlin) as well as in archives and collections are carried out with the participants. At the same time, a blog is being created for workshops, campaigns, documentation and as a communication tool and project archive.

From mid-2017, sideviews have been involved in a collaborative exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Schattenmuseum / Growing – Jewish Life Today is a dynamic exhibition that focuses on the question: How can Jewish life today be portrayed vividly?

In the second step, workshops are conducted on the artistic realization of the research in various disciplines such as film, theatre, visual arts, model making, music, design and museum work.

On the basis of the resulting collection of materials, ideas and objects, a third workshop series will take place to realize the exhibition concept and architecture. Participants of the Schattenmuseum select exhibits together with the curators and the workshop results are processed through performance and installation. Various positions and stories on the topic “Growing – Jewish Life Today” as well as the process of dialogical discussion are depicted, brought to life and presented from November 2018 at the Ross Gallery in the Jewish Museum Berlin.

The exhibition “A for Jewish” poses questions, opens up space for dialogue and will continue to develop in a dialogical and dynamic way until the end of 2019: In workshops, participants can introduce perspectives and put down new layers of interpretation and design on the exhibition. Visitors are involved in activities, the performative design suspends any clear boundary between object and person, between narrator and story and invites you to participate in discussions, experiments, creative workshops, theatrical processes and film shoots. The participants of the shadow museum act as experts and present their specific forms of examination and presentation.

Begleitprogramm zu “A wie Jüdisch”/ JMB, Februar 2019

In September 2018, together with sideviews ten young people founded the Jugendgremium Schattenmuseum, in order to reflect on the work and to advise further museums and exhibition centres from their perspective. They also developed the accompanying program

Article by Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, Miriam Goldmann, Christiane Lindner and Fabian Schnedler: What happens when many people make an exhibition together? About the development process and focal points of the exhibition “A for Jewish”.

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The Arrival

As part of the five-year program “Cultural Agents for Creative Schools” established at the Refik Veseli School in Kreuzberg, Berlin, this project looked at the interface between the students, their own form of theatre and the museum as both a field of work and storage location for memory and identity. The starting point for this staging of space and action were two three-hour workshops in the Jewish Museum Berlin, attended by the class. The students then developed a theatrical, interactive tour of the school’s stage space, which was developed as part of the theatre project and opened to visitors at the end. The basis was the graphic novel “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan (published in German as “Ein neues Land”). A specially developed form of theatre was created in the classrooms, in which themes such as immigration, exile and foreignness were enacted collaboratively.

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LivingTOgether was commissioned by the German Consulate General in Toronto.

The starting point was the fall of the Berlin Wall as an unfinished historical event. sideviews initiated a communication process between two groups of students in the cities of Toronto and Berlin. Separated by geography, language, and cultural experience, they shared issues of interaction and isolation. An internet platform was developed in advance on which the children from both cities could play a virtual game together. At the same time, they worked in theatre workshops on dealing with real and imaginary borders. The students developed strategies with regard to conflicts, obstacles and different levels of meaning that arise from the realities of living together. The Berlin Wall was treated simultaneously as fact, metaphor and current reality. The students were able to look at their own social situation and examine their certainties and prejudices through the contexts of others.

The working process culminated in an exhibition of personal objects in Toronto, which the students had chosen according to their emotional significance and to which they could tell a personal story. The narratives performed live formed the conclusion of the project.

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WORLDwide… New

Is the world reality or is the world just what we imagine? 60 children from the Nürtingen elementary school in Berlin-Kreuzberg spent more than a year looking for possible answers. In this urban ethnographic experiment, students examined the social diversity in their environment on the basis of video interviews. They were confronted with a wide variety of topics: asylum seekers, politics, drug dealers, immigration and government. 

Using dramatic methods and video documentation, the research was made visible and tangible. The information on a wide variety of life plans and identities acquired in the interview workshop was then staged: in a three-week game, acting, directing, storytelling, costume design, visual arts and music were the motor that set a major negotiation process in motion. It turned out that identities and realities can be reconstructed. And that the rituals, self-images and attitudes can be changed, as can the world.