• Thu 08 – Sun 11 04 2021 •
Ghosts, Traces, Echoes: Works in Shifts


As part of the exhibition Ghosts, Traces, Echoes: Works in Shifts, three research-based artistic projects will be displayed in the Academyspace, the exhibition space of the Akademie der Künste der Welt, in three parts and over a period of five months. The exhibition will thus become a dynamic collection of different layers and histories, similar to a palimpsest. When the next layer is added, the previous one will not disappear completely – new narratives will be added to it. In this way, different time periods and geographical contexts will overlap.

A permanent installation in the entrance area serves as a thematic introduction and as a bridge between the past and the present. It consists of two artistic examinations of contemporary phenomena in working environments during the corona lockdown of spring 2020. In Walking Away, Abeer Gupta works with photographic material from social media, showing Indian itinerant workers fleeing the metropolises and at the same time fleeing the system, the fiction of infrastructure and the symbols of a nation. Momentography of a failure, a collaborative photography and research project, looks at gig economy workers in the transport and delivery sectors on the streets of Cologne. The product of a workshop involving photographers, urban researchers, activists from the group Liefern am Limit, authors and delivery workers, it illustrates the ongoing transition from an industrial to a digital platform economy. This change of course has given rise to unprecedented controversies and new forms of precarity, both for workers on temporary contracts and for dynamics in the cities. Both projects deal with mobility and vulnerability, urban spaces and urban infrastructure, and the visibility and fluidity of images.

For Shift 1 Ghosts, the queer performance artist and activist Kathrin Ebmeier teams up with the historian Alicia Gorny and the artist Ale Bachlechner to explore the history of the Fraueninitiative Henrichshütte (Women’s Initiative Henrichshütte): in 1987, the group gathered in the town of Hattingen wearing ghost costumes to protest against the closure of the local steelworks. Women from different generations reflect on what unites them, what the legacy of the protest has been, and how we can learn from labor disputes of the past.

Shift 2 Traces focuses on Turkish-speaking writers who were active in Cologne and the Ruhr region, and looks at how they are remembered in our post-migrant present. For this project, literary and cultural scholar and author Nesrin Tanç will join forces with illustrator Irem Kurt to map texts and materials she has compiled outside of official archive structures. As a literary scholar, she proposes coining a new term – ‘Anatolpolitan’ – and brings the writers featured in the exhibition together under this umbrella.

Shift 3 Echoes is an artistic exploration of the history of Fasia Jansen. As a musician and political activist, Fasia Jansen fought for workers’ rights in various labor disputes from the 1970s to the 1990s. The artist Aline Benecke has been rehearsing some of Fasia Jansen’s songs with the newly founded Fasia Jansen Ensemble. The goal was to relate to Fasia Jansen in a new way and to enable her songs to be performed once again, this time by a majority Black-identifying choir.

The idea of the palimpsest is also reflected in the way the space is designed: new things are added, whilst others disappear. The permanent exhibition takes visitors back in time with historical research projects focusing on the Ruhr region. The miniature cinema room plays host to a film program curated by Madhusree Dutta. It features a variety of narratives on the theme of work from a wide range of different places, genres and times, spanning 125 years of film history.

We look forward to welcoming you soon as a visitor to the exhibition Ghosts, Traces, Echoes: Works in Shifts. Please note that, for your, our and other visitors' security, the compliance with the general rules of hygiene and in perticular the use of a medical mask covering mouth and nose are mandatory during a visit. If you have any questions, please contact us at +49 (0)221 337748 92.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Sun | 14:00–19:00
Venue: Academyspace, Herwarthstr. 3, 50672 Cologne
Free Admission

In cooperation with RVR/Interkultur Ruhr and the LWL-Industriemuseum – Westphalian State Museum of Industrial Heritage.