janet grau

Sag mir wo die Blumen sind

Sag mir wo die Blumen sind. A Curated Guided Tour

Participatory project, curated guided tour and video, 2014

In 2014, as part of an international symposium* at the Kunstverein Schwedt, I was invited to look at some of the ‘old pictures’ in the collection of the former East German state-owned oil refinery VEB PCK Schwedt (now PCK Raffinerie GmbH Schwedt). During the GDR era, the company collected and commissioned several hundred works of art, which were regularly exhibited. Since 1989, however, the art collection has not been open to the public.

I asked myself: Who should be able to see these ‘old pictures’? And I thought about the fact that some people, because of their disabilities, would never have seen the collected artworks – not even when the collection was on display.

With my project, Sag mir wo die Blumen sind (Where Have All the Flowers Gone), I came up with a way to give viewers who wouldn’t normally be able to see the collection an inside look at some of the works. I worked with young people in Schwedt to create a guided tour of selected works from the PCK art collection and an accompanying video, both specially designed for the blind and visually impaired.

“Imagine you’re standing in front of this work of art and you can’t see it. What would you like to know about it?”

Using the titles of the works as a starting point, we formulated questions for each work. Answering these questions was the task I set myself with my young team in Schwedt: Enrico Frontzek, Mirjam Bunn, and Angie Winkel worked with me to create vivid and thought-provoking descriptions of the selected artworks. Viola Brocker from Schwedt spoke both the questions and the answers for the video.

Later, the young team personally guided visually impaired visitors through a small selection of PCK’s art collection on site, giving them the opportunity to get to know the art through touch and spoken descriptions.

“Art does not reproduce the visible, but art makes visible.”

*Kunstverein Schwedt’s symposium was titled PCK-Kunst 2.0: Neue Sicht auf alte Bilder (PCK Art 2.0: A New Look at Old Pictures).

Thank you to Angie, Enrico, Mirjam and Viola for all the energy and time spent making this happen. It was a whirlwind and a lot of work, but you made it fun!

Sag mir wo die Blumen sind
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