Memorabilia from The Wall, 1998/2018

Born in the 1960 in the GDR, a generation “without fatherland and without mother tongue”
Heiner Müller

I read this quote by German author Heiner Mueller some months ago and it has haunted me since, and might be the explanation for my constant obsession with the past in East Germany. My generation was brought up in one side of a divided Germany, without knowing the other; any creative pursuits were dictated by the restrictions of communism that the wall represented.
With the fall of the wall my roots planted in a totalitarian system became irrelevant. The system revealed itself as an economic and political failure constructed of lies, and mis information
I felt displaced spiritually and mentally and dislocated from the culture I was brought up and worked in, which has ended up behind glass, securely roped off with admission prices and visiting hours. These iconic sites once forbidden, filled with terror or dread are now only shells containing memorabilia. Our experiences of totalitarianism have been transformed into numbers and facts, printed on leaflets, picked up when entering museums in Berlin.
Today there is not only a worrying level of ignorance regarding basic historical facts, but also an overvaluing of GDR’s social system and a refusal to characterise the previous regime as a dictatorship
My work feels like it fixes and authenticates my own history and experience beyond a historical footnote in the pages of a report on a failed political experiment.
I took images of places in Berlin connected with power and repression (Disparate Memories), I made objects integrating statistics the government organisations held that were published after The Wall came down: numbers of deaths, employees and informers for the state security , minor incidents in no mans land in my neighbourhood etc. (Beyond Orwell).
I created images using files held on me by the secret police (Stolen Words).
I also placed copies from my notebooks into my familiar surroundings to relate again subjectively to my life in England to contrast with what I had experienced in the East (Connected Thoughts). I began the Berlin Wall project in 1997 for my photography degree course.