In a Light Reading event in October 2007 the Berlin-based curator Marcel Schwierin conversed publicly with Tate Modern curator Stuart Comer on the image of the United States of America after the Iraq war. One outcome of this fruitful discussion was the Werkleitz Festival AMERIKA which happened in 2008 in Halle in East Germany.
In this coming Light Reading Marcel Schwierin and Stuart Comer will reconvene this discussion focusing on the immense cultural influence of the United States on East and West Germany after 1945, presenting excerpts from the work of artists Bill Meyers and Bjørn Melhus who approached the matter from completely different perspectives.
Bill Meyers was an American German teacher who made a huge video project in the 1980s about everyday life in the GDR, funded by the Rockefeller foundation and carefully ministered by the East-German secret service. Within these unedited tapes are unique filmic views on the GDR, including the only portrait of the founder of the East-German "Indianer" (Native Americans) movement, chief Powderface. This material has never been shown before outside of Germany and the U.S.
Bjørn Melhus is a German video artist who works nearly exclusively on the influence of American media in a very personal way. In 2007 Marcel Schwierin showed excerpts of Auto Center Drive, part of a now finished trilogy 'Beyond the Rainbow', this will also be presented at this Light Reading in excerpts.
Excerpts of films:
Powder Face und die Kulturgruppe für Indianistik (Powder Face and the Cultural Group for Indianistik), Bill Meyers, GDR/USA 1986
The Meadow, Bjørn Melhus, Germany 2008
On Monday, September 28, 18:30 a program of the Werkleitz Festival AMERIKA will be presented in the Tate Modern entitled: 'If You Ever Have the Blues ...'Curated by Marcel Schwierin this programme investigates the complex role of the United States as a dominant culture through a montage of Black music films from the US and the former GDR.