You are Mary, but in real you are Lynda, so if you want to marry as Lynda…, 2014
installation: 3 channel video ( color, 38’28’’, HD, 16:9), 7 loudspeakers standing in a semicircle.
– a video still
A white actress is performing six different characters; she plays three refugee women from Africa, a Polish and a German activist as well as a German lawyer. Constantly shifting between these roles (changing wigs, her voice and gesticulation), she stages stages a legal workshop in front of the camera on the asylum procedure and juridical situation of refugees in Germany.
The refugee women, who take part in that meeting are already after submitting their first application for asylum. During this procedure, they had to participate in an interview, in which they were supposed to explain the reasons, why they decided to leave their countries of origin. Now - taking part in the workshop - they have a chance to ask the lawyer, how they should have conducted their first asylum application. The refugees in Germany give an interview just after their registration. Before hand they have no chance to get a consultation with a lawyer in order to prepare for the procedure and its formal requirements. They are giving the first interview, unaware of the fact, that they should be delivering a coherent and detailed self-performance, describing their personal story. This performance seems to be crucial for their application to be successful. Still, one might pose a question: How it is possible to give a convincing, consistent interview, being forced to describe personal trauma, in a situation of disorientation and fear, intensified by the cultural differences, conventions and taboos or confrontation with incomprehensible bureaucratic speech and translation problems?
The audio track of the video transmits the atmosphere of mistranslation and confusion and imperfections in the communication between women. Moreover, the actress' eccentric, exaggeratedand artificial performance reads as plural and her characters don't stand for singular, concrete people, whose privacy and personal stories are being exposed to the public judgment. By introduction of the carnivalesque, the whole situation seems to be half-real and half-staged, shifting between a documentary record and a fictitious scenario.