Henrike Naumann, Die Monotonie des Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, 2021
Contemporary history deals with the recent past and its different versions of the same perceived time. An example of this is the Cold War divided Germany: same country, same chronological time, two different worlds. Henrike Naumann investigates the relics of these gone times. Or are they really gone? Die Monotonie des Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, 2021 is a site specific installation consisting of various scenographic elements creating an environment which catapults one into what seems to be a bizarre version of a past, someone’s past. The central piece is the eponymous video work which Henrike describes as a space for critical examination:
In my video work Die Monotonie des Yeah, Yeah, Yeah I am looking into marxist as well as neoliberal ideas of primitive society. Is human identity defined by labour or by consumption? What happens to workers when their labour is not needed anymore? (Henrike Naumann, June 2021)
Excerpts from GDR teaching materials merge with sequences from the animated series The Flintstones, scenes from a cartoon version of the Bremen Town Musicians and segments from Milton Friedman‘s television series Free to Choose, (also used as school material). The didactic reference in Naumann’s work prompts E-WERK’s own history as a GDR power plant shut down in 1989 and transformed shortly afterwards into an adult education school - ZAL, Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung Ludwigsfelde - Luckenwalde. As a consequence to the end of the Cold war many in Luckenwalde lost their employment in addition to their history and a new way of life needed to be learned. Testaments to those times lie in E-WERK’s century old archive.
A conversation between Henrike Naumann and contemporary historian Clemens Villinger held on site will further explore and expose Henrike’s artistic practice, its connections with German history and history making, reflections on what archives are and their relationship to the idea of the score: a video piece can be played many times and the image sequence will be the same, but the environment in which it is played will always vary, be it a physical or mental one.
Die Monotonie des Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Video, 8.48 min,
Montage: Nik Mantilla, Recherche: Lara Wehrs,
Musik: Bastian Hagedorn
Musik: Bastian Hagedorn
Henrike Naumann reflects socio-political problems on the level of interior design and domestic space and explores antagonistic political beliefs through the ambivalent aesthetics of personal taste. In her immersive installations she arranges furniture and home decor into scenographic spaces interspersed with video and sound work. Growing up in Eastern Germany, Naumann experienced extreme-right ideology as a predominant youth culture in the ’90s. Therefore, she is interested in the mechanisms of radicalisation and how they are linked to personal experience. Although rooted in her experiences in Germany, Naumann’s work has addressed the global connectivity of youth cultures and their role in the process of cultural othering.
Clemens Villinger is a research associate at the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. In his dissertation, submitted to the Max Weber College at the University of Erfurt, he investigates the role of everyday consumption in the lifeworlds of East Germans of before, during and after 1989/90. His main areas of work include the history of everyday life and consumption as well as research on the history of knowledge and capitalism. In addition to his work, he devotes himself to the relationship between contemporary art and historiography. Most recently published: Die lange Geschichte der »Wende«