GUESTures | GOSTIkulacije
Two-channel synchronized HD video, 33 minutes, English subtitles.
Margareta Kern, 2011.
GUESTures | GOSTIkulacije video is part of Margareta Kern’s long-term project on the women who migrated from Yugoslavia to West-Berlin in the late 1960s to work in the factories producing video and television equipment. The official term for those workers was Gastarbeiter or ‘guest worker’. Women made up a large proportion of migrant workers, yet their stories seem to be largely absent from the official histories and archives as well as from the collective imaginary.
The double-channel video posits two actions alongside each other. It is at once a re-enactment by actress Adna Sablych of edited interviews with the women Kern met in Berlin: Bosiljka, Jana and Gordana, who recall their experiences of migration, work and life in the factory. At the same time, the video subverts the impulse of verbatim theatre and the documentary film genre for 'authenticity' by employing a range of tactics, from the subtle interferences and pauses in actress' speech, to staging re-enactments within a minimalist film-set in artist’s studio in London. On the second screen we therefore see Kern hand-drawing an object that belongs to each woman on a blackboard: a cat, a Gobelin tapestry and a lamp. Archive footage of television circuit boards assembled in a Siemens factory and a news broadcast of Tito's visit to Germany in 1978, splices through the performances, inviting a multiple ways of entry into that history of labour migration, re-configuring the relationship of document/ary, testimony and historical imaginary.
margaretakern.com | guestworkerberlin.blogspot.com