© 2018 Photographs and video
This is a true story about Alzheimer’s Disease, memory, belief, loss of belief and The Berlin Wall…
After she was taken to the hospital, we found a plastic shopping bag full of concrete rubble in the bottom of the wardrobe. Alzheimer’s Disease had left her with no memory of The Berlin Wall, let alone an explanation of why she had collected pieces of it as a memento. She wasn’t German.
In a cupboard, there were what looked like three chocolate boxes (they were actually packaging for sets of souvenir matchboxes). Inside were tickets, identification cards, timetables, guides, postcards – all written using the Cyrillic alphabet – They were mementos of a trip from England to the Soviet Union taken 60 years before, in the period after Stalin’s death but before the Cuban Missile Crisis. She met her future husband on this trip.
The rubble was photographed as if it were a forensic study. Progressively pieces were removed. The progression of Alzheimer’s Disease has been described as seeing a person disappear piece-by-piece, just as 30 years ago people had watched The Wall disappear block-by-block. And now that there has been a generation who cannot remember the wall, the generation that can remember it, feel “Ostalgia” – nostalgia for the East. For some, their identity was buried under the rubble. The video, which uses archive sound recordings turns these same photographs into a comment on the politics of the Cold War, in which the Berlin Wall marked the front line. When the Cold War ended, so did many of the certainties people in the East and West had lived by. Some knew what they had lost but were less sure of what they had gained.