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Deutsch Fur Auslander


Solo video work by Karen Guthrie

This project was commissioned for 'Cymar', an international exhibition by emergent artists held as part of Weimar's year as European City of Culture. It took place at the Friedrich-Schiller Gymnasium (Weimar, Germany), installed in a classroom as a double video projection onto blackboards at the room's front.

After a bilingual spoken prologue, one screen depicts a scene from a house removal in progress - a slowly panning shot of an empty room with an occasional lone figure wandering into view. On the second screen, a conversation between three voices begins to unfold, to a silent backdrop of German urban and suburban landscapes.

I researched my heritage through two routes - one concentrating on the time spent by my parents in Germany in the 1960's (prior to my birth), and the second through a 'campaign' using newspaper advertising, the Web and genealogical data to locate people by the name of Guthrie who were currently living in Germany.

Dialogues conducted with my father, a family friend, and an unrelated Peter Guthrie (of Berlin) are interwoven in the final piece, to form a 'falsified' conversation which flows between personal and collective histories. As this meta-narrative unfolds, a visual travelogue accompanies it, depicting scenes from my journey across Germany in search of 'clues'.

KG, 2005

Film still

Film still

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