Project Description

NACH BERLIN (“To Berlin”) is a 4-channel installation work. It is based on Erich Kästner’s book “Emil and the detectives” (pub. 1929). The book tells the story of Emil, a 12-year-old boy from a small provincial town, who is sent by his mother to Berlin to deliver money to his dependent grandmother. Emil has never been to Berlin before and he’s excited to take on the role of an adult. But something goes wrong on the way. Sharing the same train car, Emil is approached by Max Grundeis who takes advantage of his naivety, tells him lies and exaggerations about the city, steals his money, and disappears.

In NACH BERLIN I chose to focus on this specific scene in the train car. In his “speech”, Grundeis uses lies and exaggerations to spread confusion in the young boy’s mind in order to steal his money. Following Grundies’ strategy, I wrote four original “speeches” with the intention of filming four different actors reciting them. The concept for the installation is to play all four speeches simultaneously on four different walls. There will be four different Grundeises – Grundeises that look different, act differently, Grundeises that say different things, and Grundeises that speak simultaneously. With this, I’m creating a mega-Grundeis. This blows up the sense of confusion, which is the essence of Kästner’s original scene.