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Other Homelands:
Origins and
Migration Routes
of Berlin Park
Drug Sellers


Museum Exhibit and Presentations
November 2017 – January 2018

Other Homelands: Origins and Migration Routes of Berlin Park Drug Sellers


Museum Exhibit and Presentations
November 2017 – January 2018

"Drug dealers count among the most hated people in our society. No other group garners such uniform condemnation across all party lines. Scarcely anyone else has to live so demonized by racist and criminal stereotypes.”

Bettina Paul & Henning Schmidt‑Semisch,
Drogendealer: Ansichten eines verrufenen Gewerbes.
(1998)

"Drug dealers count among the most hated people in our society. No other group garners such uniform condemnation across all party lines. Scarcely anyone else has to live so demonized by racist and criminal stereotypes.”

Bettina Paul & Henning Schmidt‑Semisch,
Drogendealer: Ansichten eines verrufenen Gewerbes.
(1998)

A Scott Holmquist Studio project
with the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Museum, Berlin

Setting

African-origin immigrants have become the public face of park drug dealers in Berlin as well as in other cities across Germany and Europe.

Installation

Thirteen standing human silhouettes will function as flat displays, each containing maps, texts and illustrations that describe individual origins and migration routes. Texts will be in the mother tongue of the individual represented, with German and English translations available. The descriptions will concentrate on the physical landscapes of interviewees’ origins as well as their movement as bodies through space, while avoiding matters of private concern. Interventions, presentations and discussions of racism, postcoloniality and drug prejudices will accompany the exhibit.

A Scott Holmquist Studio project
with the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Museum, Berlin

Setting

African-origin immigrants have become the public face of park drug dealers in Berlin as well as in other cities across Germany and Europe.

Installation

Thirteen standing human silhouettes will function as flat displays, each containing maps, texts and illustrations that describe individual origins and migration routes. Texts will be in the mother tongue of the individual represented, with German and English translations available. The descriptions will concentrate on the physical landscapes of interviewees’ origins as well as their movement as bodies through space, while avoiding matters of private concern. Interventions, presentations and discussions of racism, postcoloniality and drug prejudices will accompany the exhibit.

Thirteen figures will contain texts, photos and maps depicting origins and migration routes.

Thirteen figures will contain texts, photos and maps depicting origins and migration routes.

Selection

The exhibit’s profiles represent the first thirteen dealers surveyed who were willing to reveal their mother tongue, place of origin, and route to Europe, during a series of 2017 summer afternoons in Hasenheide and Görlitzer Parks. All who signified as dealer were approached. Scott Holmquist compiled the survey using German, French and English, both working alone and with Gambian refugee-activist Moro Yapha, who made it possible to interview in Bambara and Mandinke. Preliminary interviews with dealers began in 2015.

For the exhibit profiles, 159 were asked directly. About 100 declined contact from a distance.

Project by Scott Holmquist in cooperation with:

Moro Yapha – refugee activist and radio presenter, Philipp Muras-Krasznahorkai – artist, Sara Stenczer – art historian, Sophie Perl – public historian and curator, Jost Neumann – consultant

Selection

The exhibit’s profiles represent the first thirteen dealers surveyed who were willing to reveal their mother tongue, place of origin, and route to Europe, during a series of 2017 summer afternoons in Hasenheide and Görlitzer Parks. All who signified as dealer were approached. Scott Holmquist compiled the survey using German, French and English, both working alone and with Gambian refugee-activist Moro Yapha, who made it possible to interview in Bambara and Mandinke. Preliminary interviews with dealers began in 2015.

For the exhibit profiles, 159 were asked directly. About 100 declined contact from a distance.

Goals

By focusing on the places of origin and migration routes of park drug sellers, all from Africa, the exhibition attempts to break up the "Africa" that is rarely ever more than a post-colonial abstraction. “Africa,” as a single idea, immediately calls up the usual specters of famine, war, corruption and poverty, or a romanticized place of exotic and authentic cultures and traditions. Together or apart these undermine any sense of individuals coming from an actual place, like everyone else, with a hometown and its ordinary surroundings. The exhibit also seeks to disrupt the peculiar hatred for drug dealers described twenty years ago by Bettina Paul, a hatred that has grown since to become among the most tolerated forms of bigotry worldwide, a hatred that blends with, and often hides, everyday forms of racism. As a result, a large group of park drug sellers are not only openly – and with permission – hated as “dealers,” or pitied as victims of racism, but are in addition denied the basic humanity of being from a real place – from another homeland.

Project by Scott Holmquist in cooperation with:

Moro Yapha – refugee activist and radio presenter, Philipp Muras-Krasznahorkai – artist, Sara Stenczer – art historian, Sophie Perl – public historian and curator, Jost Neumann – consultant

Partners and supporters

© 2017 Scott Holmquist