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Yours, KOW

Open Group, 2013

found footage photographs

GermanEnglish

The first time I entered one of the portrayed Open Groups was when I looked up old classmates from my preschool years in a middle-sized East German town on Facebook. Today I have no more contact with them. The last time I saw them in the 90s they were all wearing Bomberjacken.
I wanted to see through their Facebook profiles and photo albums how they are living today and whether their ideology had changed. What I discovered is something that I am still trying to process.
Most of my old colleagues are still living there, have families and became bricklayers or roofers, that are firmly rooted in the local right extremist scene. Their Open Groups on Facebook were the gates to their neofascist white-bread lifestyle that expelled all my imaginations.
For the next months I worked my way through thousands of pictures. Viking tattoos, flats decorated in the colors of the Deutsches Reich flag and racist „fun“ pictures were posted on many profiles. Between the meanest pictures were always baby pictures that made the research even more disturbing. The images combined with comments formed a portrait of their narrow-minded, hateful and racist every-day ideology.
I started collecting these pictures in a private archive, categorizing them along their content, style, codes and personal connection. I focussed on the area around my hometown, but national and international networks quickly became apparent.
This archive is the starting point for my new project. It will be incorporated into a spacial video installation about todayʻs right wing lifestyle in Germany. The featured interiors, codes and signs are being translated into an actual 3D space.
The installation aims to decode the signs and symbols of the right wing scene which are getting more and more sophisticated. It aims to show the hideouts of fascism. Because they are closer to us than we might know.
For some time I wanted to figure out whether my fears that the people from my childhood are still in the right extremist scene were right or not. Now I know itʻs even worse.

Open Group (2013)
The first time I entered one of the portrayed Open Groups was when I looked up old classmates from my preschool years in a middle-sized East German town on Facebook. Today I have no more contact with them. The last time I saw them in the 90s they were all wearing Bomberjacken.
I wanted to see through their Facebook profiles and photo albums how they are living today and whether their ideology had changed. What I discovered is something that I am still trying to process.
Most of my old colleagues are still living there, have families and became bricklayers or roofers, that are firmly rooted in the local right extremist scene. Their Open Groups on Facebook were the gates to their neofascist white-bread lifestyle that expelled all my imaginations.
For the next months I worked my way through thousands of pictures. Viking tattoos, flats decorated in the colors of the Deutsches Reich flag and racist „fun“ pictures were posted on many profiles. Between the meanest pictures were always baby pictures that made the research even more disturbing. The images combined with comments formed a portrait of their narrow-minded, hateful and racist every-day ideology.
I started collecting these pictures in a private archive, categorizing them along their content, style, codes and personal connection. I focussed on the area around my hometown, but national and international networks quickly became apparent.
This archive is the starting point for my new project. It will be incorporated into a spacial video installation about todayʻs right wing lifestyle in Germany. The featured interiors, codes and signs are being translated into an actual 3D space.
The installation aims to decode the signs and symbols of the right wing scene which are getting more and more sophisticated. It aims to show the hideouts of fascism. Because they are closer to us than we might know.
For some time I wanted to figure out whether my fears that the people from my childhood are still in the right extremist scene were right or not. Now I know itʻs even worse.

Henrike Naumann, Open Group, 2013, found footage social media photographs
Henrike Naumann, Open Group, 2013, found footage social media photographs
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Henrike Naumann

Henrike Naumann was born 1984 in Zwickau (GDR). Growing up in Eastern Germany, Naumann experienced extreme-right ideology as a predominant youth culture in the 90s. Her work reflects on the history of the right-wing terrorism in Germany as well as on today‘s broad acceptance of racist ideas. She looks at the mechanisms of radicalization and how they are linked to personal experience and youth culture. Nauman explores the friction of contrary political opinion through the ambivalence of personal aesthetic taste. In her immersive installations she combines video and sound with scenographic spaces. In recent years she widened her focus to the global connectivity of youth cultures and the reversion of cultural othering. Notable exhibitions include solo shows at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach and Galerie Wedding, Berlin, as well as participations at the Busan Biennale (2018), Riga Biennial (2018), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2018), 4th Ghetto Biennale at Port-Au-Prince (2015), and the 3rd Herbsalon at Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin (2017).

Henrike Naumann lives and works in Berlin.



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