German lesson

Video 11:09 min, Full HD, 2016

link to vide

This video is inspired by meetings with Austrian volunteers who were teaching the German language to refugees from different countries. I assisted in several of their meetings, where I met a girl from Vienna who had been teaching German to a girl from Eritrea. The video focuses on a session where the teacher asks the Eritrean girl to read a text in German based on some questions I had posed: How was life in Eritrea and why did she leave?, What were her memories of her family and friends back home?, How does she feel in the new country?, etc.

In the video, as the Eritrean girl reads, the teacher corrects her pronunciation and words. The dynamics of the relationship between ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ in this video, are intended as a metaphor for how alterity is dealt within ‘developed’ Europe. The desire to integrate “the other” within the normative identity of “the self” — which in this video is displayed by the corrective voice of the invisible teacher — highlights the limits of multiculturalism in Europe today, where cultural borders i.e difference, are attempted to be effaced.


This video was realized with the support of KulturKontakt Austria AIR program.