Sunday, 29 April 2018


Ira Hoffecker

History as Personal Memory


I am interested in how Germans realize our collective memory. Some strive to forget or suppress our historicized historical atrocities. Others remember events or acknowledge our collective memory, which perpetuates the realities of our history for the benefit of future generations. 

This new work scrutinizes German collective memory, investigates power structures and the overstepping of personal boundaries. I combine ideas pertaining to homeland and my own personal memory. The body of work consists of paintings, drawings and the video History as Personal Memory.

History as Personal Memory introduces work with my body to see if it can be a tool of investigation. My voice recites text by Nietzsche, Foucault and my own writings, included as a voice-over to the imagery. My hand is captured working on a painting. I pour tar onto the canvas and rub it into the surface. In one scene, I walk on train tracks. I project my grandfather's portrait onto my body. This highlights my interest in utilizing my body as a tool to reactivate memory. Video allows my body to implement the narrative of my story through performance. Exploration through body work gave immediacy to the questions posed. Would it be possible for my video and painting to work together as a tool of investigation into my memory? The experiences of my past shaped and formed me as the human being I am today, the experience that can be seen as living practice in the memory of my self-constructed identity. 

Investigating Foucault’s ideas concerning a variety of power structure models, contributed to the dialogue my work embodies. My interest lies in how people can usurp power and impose power over others and consequently this led to exploration of the rationale associated with people who are not necessarily in a position of power but who enable those in that role by assisting them. Power structures inherent in the church and the power certain individuals have over others were also of interest to me. My concerns addressed the psychological consequences of those who had been overpowered by others and what happens when a child’s boundaries are compromised, reflecting on my experience of childhood sexual abuse.

With my hands, I applied tar to the surfaces of canvas. The tar is dark and the viscosity of this medium attracts me. It was the first medium I used when I started painting many years ago. Tar was employed when I also melted lead and poured it on metal. Lead is of major importance in Germanic mythology[1]. I did not use lead in the new work, but its association with tar in my process development seemed to be enough. Working with tar also helped me reflect on what it means to be German.

It was important to me to take heed of the recommendation of my professors to ‘own’ my work. I interpreted their suggestions to mean that my work practice would benefit from the incorporation of personal aspects of my own life, creating greater vitality and validity to my process and project. These personal revelations, a critical examination of my understanding of the world, and my self-perception developed through formative experiences would advance my ideas and working processes. Following the videos created during the first year of my MFA, I was encouraged to tell the story that only I can tell. Time was needed to give myself the space for intense reflection and investigation through my art practise, to see if I could work through the torment of residual memories which persist in inflicting anguish upon me. Recurring hateful, rejected memories assert themselves at inexplicable times. 

Correlations between my childhood abuse which I endeavor to forget and the history of Germany, which many Germans are trying to erase from their memories, exist in the film. Within my experience of being German, there is an observation that Germans deal with our collective memory by censoring and ignoring the consequence of our complex warring past rather than being vigilant and continually committed to conceding our adverse history through knowledge, deliberation and recognition. 

In History as Personal Memory, I tore pages from a history book about the Third Reich, an era in history that many Germans would prefer to eradicate from memory. Many Germans of my generation would like to expunge this part of our history and to put a leaden blanket onto the past. Yet, it is important to face and to discuss this past, to show how it was possible for the Nazis to come to and consolidate power, in order to prevent its imposed trauma and desecration from ever happening again. Consistent dialogue will help prevent a repetition of their oppression and subsequent atrocities. 

This work references my childhood memories of trauma that I attempted to forget for so many years - without success. Through research and the making of History as Personal Memory, comes the learning that only by consciously working through memories, writing them down, finally articulating them in my work, can my healing begin. 

She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas
 8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm,

How does the impact of traumatic memories about child sexual abuse correlate to the collective memory of German Nazi atrocities? 
And is it possible to assess the misuse of power within the medium of film and painting? 
My German history and my personal history are not entirely parallel – they intersect. There is a correlation of power structures and dynamics, how power evolves and impacts. German Nazi mentality was committed to and succeeded by imposing doctrines through political advantage. The populace agreed to allow the Nazi perspective and the social upheaval to dominate their psyche, consenting to the Nazi role as nurturing caregivers of the German people. The dangerous and obscene became normalized. The familial custodian role was ruined by imposition of will and inaction against the violence of abuse, revoking responsibility for actions taken. Germans revoked their wills, subjugated themselves to complicit action and inaction. My grandparents in their complicity were not held accountable for their behavior. Immeasurable damage continues to impact many lives, including my own. 

To tell my story, reveal my identity, share a complete and deliberate depiction of what I am concerned with, there was a need to combine my German identity with childhood sexual abuse. The two are integral aspects of what only I can relate.

My previous work allowed me to situate my body work, my current owning of my story. My past work addressed what happened historically in Germany and discussed the different identities of German cities over time. Layers in previous work are reprocessed, advanced as a layering of mental states, as levels of intensity, as strata that inform the viewer of how each cognizance is interrelated and valued as cumulative experiences. 

Research began with the qualities and implications of power structures, how they evolved, their progressive influences and their consequences. I started my second-year MFA research with Michel Foucault’s publications (‘Wahnsinn und Gesellschaft’, ‘Der Wille zum Wissen’, ‘Discipline and Punish’). These books describe his thoughts with attention to various concepts of possible power structures. I explored writing pertaining to memory work, reading Frigga Haug’s books ‘Female Sexualisation’ and ‘Erinnerungsarbeit’ (Memory Work) and Simone Weils ‘Ueber die Ursachen von Freiheit und gesellschaftlicher Unterdrueckung’ (‘Reflexions sur les causes de la liberte et de l’oppression sociale’). Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recoverywas recommended to me. Herman’s writing is the result of extensive studies with people who have experienced trauma in their childhood. This book was especially supportive and reassuring whilst working through memories of childhood abuse. I was able to be authentic, be cogent, and strengthen my new work with this research. 
Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge. He showed how this association results in a form of social control. Foucault asked many questions and presented opportunities to understand concepts from distinct, exacting perspectives. 

In Foucault’s book Discipline and Punish, he described power as something exercised, implemented through action and relationships. Power is an active relationrather than a possession or static state of affairs. 

...[power] is never appropriated in the way that wealth or a commodity can be appropriated. Power functions. Power is exercised through networks, and individuals do not simply circulate in those networks; they are in a position to both submit to and exercise this power. They are never the inert or consenting targets of power; they are always its relays. In other words, power passes through individuals. It is not applied to them.”  Foucault continued: “Power is relations; power is not a thing, it is a relationship between two individuals... such that one can direct the behavior of another or determine the behavior of another. Voluntarily determining it in terms of a number of objectives which are also one’s own”. Power is “the exercise of something that one could call governmentin a very wide sense of the term. One can govern a society, one can govern a group, a community, a family; one can govern a person. When I say ‘govern someone,’ it is simply in the sense that one can determine one’s behavior in terms of a strategy by resorting to a number of tactics.”[2]
My reading of Foucault did leave questions unanswered, but his inquiry into power dynamics and responses to his examination have helped me think about power structures in novel ways. He clarified how power evolves. When we think about the Nazis’ rise to power, for example, Foucault suggested that power relations do not operate only through repressions. He wrote,‘In defining the effects of power as repression, one adopts a purely juridical conception of such power, one identifies power with a law which says no, power is taken above all as carrying the force of a prohibition. If power were never anything but repressive, ... do you really think one would be brought to obey it? What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it doesn’t only weigh on us as a force that says no, but that it traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse.’  [3]

Was ich haette sagen sollen (What I should have said)
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel, soil and charcoal on canvas
 8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm,

If power was only perceived as a negative, then people would not allow themselves to yield to power. They would not allow themselves to be manipulated by those in power or hand their power over often to negate their own responsibility. Power has a strong fascination. With regard to the Nazis especially, propaganda fears generated by the regime perpetuated a deep hatred and racist mentality in all echelons of society. Many people were happy to look down on others and to be able to openly despise the members of the Jewish community. There are people who love the sensation of hate. Foucault’s texts and discussions about power allowed me to discuss German history and structures of power under the Nazis. His ideas created the perfect bridge and associatory relationship for me to my work. Simultaneously, the impetus of reading Foucault allowed me to scrutinize my personal history. 
Foucault texts are utilized in my paintings and my films ‘A la recherche de Michel Foucault’ and ‘History as Personal Memory’. Please find further descriptions in the later chapters. 

Since mid-18th century industrialization, society has devised rules that impact how our lives should appear to others and how we should conduct ourselves in public and in private. Why has it become so difficult to question immorality, the mendaciousness of society, and abusive power structures? The church has had a malicious influence on society. It set up rules about what is morally right and wrong, yet forgives or simply ignores pedophiles, if they are upstanding members of the church. Reading Foucault is a very helpful tool when one wants to investigate power constructs and form questions about ethics within society, especially pertaining to social groups like the church who justify their existence by espousing heightened levels of morality. 

Female Sexualisation by Frigga Haug explores the sexualization of women's bodies, charting the complex interplay of social, political and cultural forces which produce a normative 'femininity'. A series of projects which focus on concrete instances of sexualization led to a broader examination of the relationship between power and sexuality, the social and the psychological. 

In her book Erinnerungsarbeit(‘Memory Work’) Frigga Haug focusses on a social science methodology of using women's experiences to remove the blind spots in existing socialization theories. Her idea is that individuals build their personality during their life in a way that creates a coherent reality for them. 

Would memory work and the structuring of my emotions and painful memories help me analyze and mitigate my reactions to certain situations that trigger my present reactions to damaging memories? The work is not done by remembering the events of our past. When we ‘live historically’, we learn that we don't accept ourselves as we are now, but that we are ‘changeable’. [4]

It is fascinating to read concurrent thoughts about how we knit ourselves into or develop ourselves into societal constructs. For memory work, I learned that it is important and helpful to refer to myself in the third person. The distinguishable distance allows me to write and speak about what happened. Transporting myself into the third person allows me to ‘treat myself with more care’. [5]

I have learned that personal evolution forms a deposition of layers from the events which occurred in my life, my experiences. Revisiting the past is an archaeology. One finds little scraps or memory fragments of past events and interactions from which a new architecture can be created. Haug compared our childhood experiences to archeological layers. Every memory of experiences becomes layered and creates the person that I am today.[6] In my previous paintings I had often examined and incorporated layers, for example discussing the different identities Berlin had assumed over the course of time. 

We are used to maintaining our balance by suppressing bad memories as quickly as possible, by glossing over and forgetting the images of the past. When we consciously remember those images, we destabilize our being. At the same time, we can try to create a more ‘sustainable tissue’. [7]

Fear of conflict, anxiety, fearful vexation, inability to interfere, avoidances, anger, a paralyzing sadness, can all be related to traumatic events of my past that I have yet to process meaningfully. [8] What I remember has relevance for my social and my implicit personal identity that is fundamental to the identity I choose for myself. 

Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery, The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror was recommended reading. This book was very helpful in demonstrating how to configure the research to include my past. Judith Herman’s instructive book showed me how to approach my memories and work through them.

Studies show that in the climate of profoundly disrupted relationships the child faces a formidable developmental task. She must find a way to form primary attachments to caretakers who are either dangerous or, from her perspective, negligent. She must find a way to develop a sense of basic trust and safety with caretakers who are untrustworthy. Also, the child feels that she has been ‘abandoned to her fate. This abandonment is often resented more keenly than the abuse itself’.[9] This was important learning for me, having struggled with this resentment towards a close relation in my family whilst I was growing up. 

Survivors tend to lack the verbal and social skills for resolving conflict. The survivor must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness. She is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. The survivor is also at great risk of repeated victimization in adult life. Survivors of childhood abuse are far more likely to be victimized or to harm themselves than to victimize other people. Perhaps because of their deeply inculcated self-loathing, survivors seem most disposed to direct their aggression at themselves.[10]  Learning came through the understanding that when survivors recognize the origins of their psychological suffering in an abusive childhood environment, they no longer need attribute them to an inherent defect in the self. This shift in perception allows the creation of new meaning, regarding past experiences and a new, unstigmatized identity.

An invitation to show my work in an exhibition entitled History and Personal Memory curated by Wendy Welch at the Slide Room Gallery in Victoria (February 16to March 12, 2018) pushed me to use my memory and my own experience combined with a collective memory of the German past.

I question morals. When I was a child, I already wondered why it was possible for people to go to church and have their sins forgiven. People who sexually abuse children should be jailed. Charges must be pressed against perpetrators and they need to be put on trial and incarcerated. Growing up in Germany after the war meant living in a society where sexual child abuse was a bagatelle. My work relates to the current public debate that concerns sexual abuse and misconduct. Because public education of potential victims is their most viable defense, my story serves as pre-emptive protection. My work contributes to the end of stigmatisation of sexual abuse victims, demonstrates that severe penalisation/punishment for perpetrators in our justice systems is essential to impede future sexual abuse. 

Dissemination of this research is part of my process of ‘coming out’.  Open discussion of my abuse and the attendant relationship with the German social phenomena of forgetting and/or editing history forms a significant component in the public presentation of my work.


The size of my canvases is too big for my studio setting so I paint in the yard and use sticks from the forest instead of brushes. I respond to the tar with black oil and acrylic paint and charcoal. The focus is on the process of surface transformation and activation. Painting with black helped me to get to the essence of the themes that would occupy me. Black, the absence of color, black the color of tar, of the darkest dark, representing black dark memories. Tar is the blackened violation manifest, made obvious within the painting. Its viscosity gives the thickening of memories physical presence and weight. Stubborn memories as tar bonds to the painting surfaces. Thinking about my own past and personal memory was and is difficult and there is a reason why I have not talked about my past.

Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon, obtained from a wide variety of organic material. Tar is a primal material. It resembles, and is reminiscent of a viscous darkness, sticky, a vague, oppressive residue of tremendous overpowering despondency that replicates the mindfulness of being German, of the cognizance and response to childhood sexual abuse. Resurrecting the use of tar for a series of work established a poignant revelation that addressed conveying my own story in an abstracted environment. The paintings attest to my ability in addressing the challenges of my German identity in combination with my pain of sexual abuse. Non-verbally and without reference to any specific features, it has been possible to embody the essential attributes of my story whilst revealing new personal insights and public information in the process.
I also utilized black paint and charcoal in my paintings. My choice of using black acrylic and black oil paint and black charcoal, its distinguishing color with tar, was first to drain color from my palate. Pouring black tar, my manipulation by hand of that material was also important as a treatment. Black absorbs light, dominates with its absorption. Black covers over. Black assimilates light. Black has potent authoritative power as censure, of dominance because it minimizes any other color. 

The painting’s title is ‘Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims’.
The text in stencils says: ‘To speak is to invite the stigma that attaches to victims’.
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas, 
54 by 108 inches, 137 cm x 274 cm, 

These qualities respond to dominance enacted on me as a child, as German political authorities dominated my social history, as being a sexual abuse survivor dominates my psyche. Black is the strange absence of the familiar, being separated from my homeland. It is the absence of innocence, its irrevocable death. Black is the death of millions by the Nazis that permeates my association with Germany. Black is the complex authority of my spirit as a survivor, the elegance of my grief. 
In this painting ‘Atrocities refuse to be buried’I had originally intended to paint a landscape with a grandfather and a child (bottom left quarter) walking towards the horizon. Once I drew this image, I had to let go of that representation, in preference to adding a big black cloud filled with words that I would cover with tar. I question morality. I quote Marx in my text in the painting: ‘Wo Moral auftaucht, haben die Menschen die Zustaendigkeit ueber den Zusammenhang ihrer Handlungen verloren’(Wherever morality emerges as the absolute societal ideal, it means people have lost touch with their inner conscience and have abdicated or lost a sense of personal responsibility for their actions; they become vulnerable to surrendering their volition to the ideological power that presents itself as the authority and arbiter of morality.)[11]

Wo Moral auftaucht, haben die Menschen die Zustaendigkeit ueber den Zusammenhang ihrer Handlungen verloren’
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas
 8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm,

The result of this painting process was the capture of emotional tenacity tempered with vulnerability. Abstraction allowed the evidence of the survival process, demonstrating how I exist as a German artist who thrives despite being a post-war German and a sexual abuse survivor. I was able to produce what I feel in paint, create abstracted feelings that are potent and universal, those of survival in adversity. It was possible to achieve this without the context of mapping place or time. My use of text on painted surfaces allows for the clutter of thoughts to be seen, show disorientation as I have felt perplexed in the overpowering throws of social injustice and abuse. 

My painting previously dealt with the cogent evidential aspects of urban transformation due to politics, ethical changes, war and my lived experiences in relation to German cities that have formed my identity. Painting presides as a directive force, allowing the deepest and most challenging feelings to become visual demonstrations of impenetrable sensations. 

I started to introduce text as a response to the content in some of the paintings. The red, hand-written text originates fromtexts in my childhood journal, my reflection of the non-existence of god. With stencils, I responded to my childhood writing with texts about power structures I selected from Foucault’s writing. Text seemed like the clearest means of response for me at the time I created this work. Any of the former shapes and elements in my previous painting work did not seem to correspond to my current concerns at all. There was a need to develop the essence that instigated my current approach to my work. My past maneuvered me in this direction and I needed to resolve those concerns. 

The more I thought about how I could possibly approach my work, the more it became clear that Foucault created the perfect connection for me. His texts and ideas about power allow me to discuss German history and structures of power under the Nazis. At the same time, utilizing Foucault allows me to reference my personal history. Die Macht als produktives Netz. Es ist eine intentionale Macht, sie schafft etwas anstatt etwas zu nehmen: Die Machtbeziehungen sind gleichzeitig intentional und nicht subjectiv.[12](Power as a productive net. It is an intentional power which creates something instead of taking away. The relations of power are intentional and non-subjective at the same time).

Allgegenwart der Macht(Omnipresence of power)
Tar, acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas
54 x 108 inches, 137 x 274 cm

I realized that I had allowed pink and skin toned oil sticks and pastel colors to enter the canvas. It was the only color that worked for me and I chose it unconsciously. Maybe, it stands for the loss of a secure childhood. 

The title of this painting is ‘The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable’

This is the text I wrote with pastel on top of the paint, to which I then responded with a text in stencils, ‘Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried’. Both are quotes from Judith Herman’s book Trauma and Recovery. This book was very helpful for me in my research about my past and for the creation of the film and paintings. It is challenging to put some of the experiences into my own words.

The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas 
54 by 108 inches, 137 x 274 cm

This painting is entitled ‘We need to understand the past in order to reclaim the present and the future. An understanding of psychological trauma begins with rediscovering history[13]This is in reference to Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery

This quotation was the response to the other text contained in the painting ‘Reiss Dich zusammen’(‘Pull yourself together’). A sentence I would hear from my mother when I said I did not want to go to my grandparents’ house. Why did she not protect me? Did she not wonder why I did not speak? Why did she not want to know my reasons for not wanting to go there? 

A whole life is altered and damaged by childhood abuse. My whole being is a consequence of what happened to me in my childhood. My readings really helped me to work through this theme. 

We need to understand the past in order to reclaim the present and the future. An understanding of psychological trauma begins with rediscovering history
8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm 
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel, soil and charcoal on canvas

Thus, even those children who manage to develop the semblance of a social life experience it as inauthentic. The abused child is isolated from other family members as well as from the wider social world. She perceives daily, not only that an adult in her intimate world is dangerous to her, but also that the other adults who are responsible for her care do not protect her. The reasons for this protective failure are in some sense immaterial to the child victim, who experiences it at best as a sign of indifference and at worst as complicit betrayal. From the child’s point of view, the parent disarmed by secrecy should have known; if she cared enough, she would have found out. The parent disarmed by intimidation should have intervened; if she cared enough, she would have fought. The child feels that she has been abandoned to her fate, and this abandonment is often resented more keenly than the abuse itself’. [14]

The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel, soil and charcoal on canvas 
8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm

The ‘Omnipresence of Power’ series contains two further paintings incorporating text. 

In correlation with the first painting of this series, I incorporated my own childhood journal texts into these three canvases with pastel crayons and oil sticks. Subsequently, I overlaid a text by Michel Foucault with stencils onto those words. 

‘Wo es Macht gibt, gibt es Widerstand. Und doch, oder vielmehr deswegen liegt der Wiederstand niemals ausserhalb der Macht.’[15](Where there is power, there is resistance. That is why resistance is never outside of power). 

Die Machtbeziehungen sind gleichzeitig intentional und nicht subjektiv
Tar, acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas
54 x 108 inches, 137 x 274 cm 

With this new work, I wanted to combine my film and painting work. The same elements of research were used in both video and the paintings. I also show the paintings and the actual paint application in the film. 

Die Frage lautet nicht, wie Macht sich manifestiert, sondern wie sie ausgeuebt wird’. (The Question is not how power manifests itself, but how power is exercised).[16]

Die Frage lautet nicht wie Macht sich manifestiert, sondern wie sie ausgeübt wird
Tar, acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas
54 x 108 inches, 137 x 274 cm 

Tar is the promise of slow and deliberate divergences from its intense blackness to grey smudges. Black tar is the peculiar exactness of substantial trouble. Tar is the consequence of oozing supposition, the dark residue of authoritative action, of power abuse that personifies the maker, suffocates the abuse. Tar is the symbol of residual pain embodied in the painting. Tar is the presence of silence, its disturbance. Applying tar is a performance of ambiguous, dangerous corporeal sensations made visible without sluggish reason to divert its capture. 

Sometimes the child is silenced by violence or by a direct threat of murder
Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas 
8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm

History as Personal Memory video

This video was created following an invitation from Wendy Welch, the curator of an exhibition with the same title. The exhibition was installed at the Slide Room Gallery in Victoria in February and March 2018. I connected work about my German identity, my personal memory and painting to a medium new to my practice – film, and learned that chronology is not necessary for developing a storyline. The notion that rhythm influences transition and delivery of visuals became apparent and that the impact of my own voice can connect disparate imagery. Combining memory with power constructs was possible through editing strategies, pace variances and juxtaposition of still and overlaid images. Video was a familiar and appropriate media to demonstrate the importance of utilizing my body, conduct body related experiments to relate narratives, give impact to the content. Video editing allowed moving images, referential editing, imagery juxtapositions which were conductive to telling my story. It became possible to orchestrate the convergence of imagery and sound to communicate my narrative. 

My video History as Personal Memoryis a self-portrait. Informed by my German heritage which entails my experience of and my insight into German collective memory. An investigation of power structures, the work attests to my experience of homeland, the overstepping of my personal boundaries, and relates to own personal memories. Importantly, the piece includes a portrayal of the trauma I carry because of the sexual abuse experienced in my childhood. 
The video begins with images of the destroyed city of Berlin following Germany’s capitulation in May 1945. I overlaid these images with images of my paintings. In my painting work, I often create layers and juxtapose images of the past with images of today, to discuss identities of then and now. The overlay rationale is extended in my film. 
I read a poem by Nietzsche about Heimat, homeland and question what homeland represents to me. I am German and live far away from my former home. Even though I would never want to deny my German identity, I chose to leave my home country. My German identity is part of my being. However, I chose to live abroad, in Canada. Living abroad allows me to deal effectually with events that happened to me in my past. In the video, I read from Nietzsche’s poem ‘Abschied’[17], where he has a conversation with himself. In the first part of the poem (which I am reading in the video), Nietzsche describes the view of the lonely wanderer in the winter who is without his homeland. The wanderer remembers his lost homeland. In Nietzsche’s answer to his desire, he denies that he might be longing for his home, in the ‘stupid happiness of the main room’, which he left as a free spirit. He asserts that it is far more important to always remain a free spirit, than to have a home land.  

Abschied or Die Kraehen schreien or Vereinsamt

Die Krähen schrein 
Und ziehen schwirren Flugs zur Stadt: 
Bald wird es schnein. - 
Wohl dem, der jetzt noch - Heimat hat! 
Nun stehst du starr,
Schaust rückwärts, ach! wie lange schon!
Was bist du Narr
Vor Winters in die Welt entflohn?
Die Welt - ein Tor
Zu tausend Wüsten stumm und kalt!
Wer das verlor,
Was du verlorst, macht nirgends halt.
Nun stehst du bleich,
Zur Winter-Wanderschaft verflucht,
Dem Rauche gleich,
Der stets nach kältern Himmeln sucht.
Flieg, Vogel, schnarr
Dein Lied im Wüstenvogel-Ton!
Versteck, du Narr,
Dein blutend Herz in Eis und Hohn!
Die Krähen schrein
Und ziehen schwirren Flugs zur Stadt:
Bald wird es schnein, -
Weh dem, der keine Heimat hat


The crows caw
and go with zipping wings to the city:
soon it will be snowing.
Happy is he who now yet has a homeland!

Now you stand numbly,
gazing backward, ah! for how long already?
Why, you fool,
did you flee into the world as Winter approached?

The world - a door
to a thousand wastelands silent and cold!
He who has lost
what you have lost, never stops anywhere.

Now you stand pallid,
cursed to wander in the winter,
like smoke
that is always seeking colder skies.

Fly, bird, rasp out
your song in the melody of a bird of the wastes!
Hide, you fool,
your bleeding heart in ice and sneers!

The crows caw
and go with zipping wings to the city:
soon it will be snowing.
Woe is he who has no homeland!

While I recite the poem in my video, I project images of my homeland, the German landscape. I question what my homeland now represents for me. 
My sister Regine was prepared to talk about our whole family on camera, discuss dozens of images of our family tree, on both sides of our heritage. The image of my grandfather, Karl Sattler, who was a member of the NSDAP and a Hauptmann in WWII and in charge of aerial bombardments was selected. His image is on screen while my sister’s voice speaks about him. This is the first time in my life that I am approaching this theme and, though it is extremely difficult, the process is somewhat healing because I am finally addressing something that has been tormenting me since my childhood. 

Karl Sattler war geboren in Lochhausen bei Muenchen. 
Seine Eltern waren der Schulrat Sattler und sein Frau, 
sie wiederum war eine geborene Lauterbach, sie war 
die Tochter eines Kunstmalers, die sind hier zu sehen, 
die haben irgendwo in Straubing gewohnt. Und dies 
hier ist ein Bild auf dem man sieht dass Carl Sattler 
was a Hauptmann during WWII und ein ueberzeugtes 
Parteimitglied gewesen ist.

Karl Sattler was born in Lochhausen near Munich. 
His parents were the school principals. His mother’s 
maiden name was Lauterbach and she was the 
daughter of an artist. You can see them here, they 
lived in Straubing. And in this photo, you can see 
that Carl Sattler was a Captain in WWII. He was a 
loyal member of the Nazi Party. 

I worked with texts by Michel Foucault as well in this piece. Foucault’s philosophy and his discussions about power encouraged me to discuss my own past, hint at what happened to me in my childhood, while simultaneously deliberating Germany’s Nazi past. 

My interest lies in the psychological consequences of those who had been overpowered by others and what happens if a child’s boundaries get transgressed. When you don’t learn how to protect yourself in your childhood, as an adult you constantly struggle with how to protect yourself. It is discomforting to find a respectful and effective way to reject those who come too close to me and do not respect my privacy and necessary mind space. 

Die Macht ist nicht eine Institution, ist nicht 
eine Struktur, ist nicht eine Maechtigkeit 
einiger Maechtiger, die Macht ist der Name 
den man einer komplexen strategischen 
Situation in einer Gesellschaft gibt.

Der strategische Feind is Faschismus…..der 
Faschismus in uns allen, in unseren Koepfen, 
der uns die Macht lieben laesst, und uns das 
ersehnen laesst, was uns domininiert und 
uns ausbeutet.

Die Frage lautet nicht, wie Macht sich mani- 
festiert, sondern wie sie ausgeuebt wird.

Wo es Macht gibt, gibt es Wiederstand. 
Und doch oder vielmehr deswegen liegt 
der Wiederstand niemals ausserhalb der Macht. 

Sobald die Machtbeziehungen erstarren, 
und sich als unveraenderlich erweisen, 
tritt der Zustand der Herrschaft ein.

Power is not an institution. It is not a structure. 
Power is the name that is given to a complex 
strategic situation in a society.

The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism 
in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, 
the fascism that causes us to love power, to 
desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us. 

The question is not, how power manifests itself, 
but how it is exerted. 

Where there is power, there is resistance. The 
resistance is never outside of power. 

As soon as the relations of power solidify and 
become unchangeable, the statues of a regime arise. [18]

Foucault's theories have a pervasive theme – the affiliation of power and knowledge and how these relate to social control. Foucault’s multifaceted questions open doors to look at concepts from different perspectives. 

In theory, people can only have power over others because at one point in time, the victims allowed the perpetrators to have power over them.In my case, as a helpless, vulnerable child, I was told that I would be killed if I told anyone about the sexual abuse. The abuse would not have been possible without the enabling help of my grandmother, who ‘disappeared’ for an hour every day while it happened and while my grandparents were in charge of looking after me.  I told my mother I did not want to go to the grandparents’ house, but I was told to pull myself together: ‘Reiss Dich zusammen’. 

During a scene with train tracks, the Foucault text is overlaid with my voice. Recently, I only travel by train when in Germany. Train travel allows contemplation about Germany and its landscape. There is an association between trains, train tracks and the Holocaust, which represents the darkest element of Germany’s history. Walking on train tracks, for me, is a means of meditation about how possibly to come to terms with addressing the German past. 
Elements of my short film, ‘Grenzueberschreitung’ are also included. This film is about what can happen when personal boundaries were not respected in childhood. My own writing about that subject is incorporated. I filmed the visuals at the former East/West border in Berlin between the former GDR and BDR, at the remnants of the Berlin Wall. 
Immer, wenn Eltern die Intigritaet des Kindes beschaedigen, 
dann haben sie die Grenzen des Kindes ueberschritten. 
Wenn das Kind satt ist und zum Aufessen genoetigt wird, 
ist das eine Grenzueberschreitung. Wer oft erlebt hat, 
dass die eigenen Grenzen ueberschritten wurden, dem 
faellt es oft schwer die eigenen Grenzen wahrzunehmen.
Wann habe ich genug davon?
Wann tritt mir jemand zu nahe?
Wann stellt mir jemand zu direkte Fragen?

Always, when parents hurt the integrity 
of a child, they have overstepped the 
boundaries of a child’s welfare. A child 
that often experiences that someone 
oversteps its boundaries has a hard time 
identifying its boundaries in later life. 
When is it enough? 
When is someone offending and 
hurting me? When is someone asking 
questions that are too direct?  

I projected the voice of Holocaust survivor, Dr. Peter Gary (whom I interviewed in Victoria, Canada in 2016) onto right wing populists’ and extremists’ marches that occurred weekly in Dresden, demonstrations against the acceptance of war refugees from Syria. Poems by Holocaust Survivor Primo Levi are read by me and projected onto images of burning refugee homes in Germany today. 

The film includes images of high ranking Nazis that I am showing together with my grandfather and, together withoriginal sounds of the bombardments of Berlin in 1945, with a speaker, on the radio, the Deutschlandfunk. The speaker announcing the bombardment proclaimed that there is a battalion of war planes over Hannover at that moment and that the bombardment of Berlin would happen shortly. The voice said he would come back later but all one hears are the sounds of sirens.  Then, the sound of the bombardment is heard. 

Without the actions of the Nazis and their politics of aggression, the war, the death of 65 million people as well as the destruction of Europe and many places outside of Europe would not have happened. 

My film addresses my history, my own childhood experiences and a history of Germany, that we try to forget, try to erase from our memory. I am tearing pages from a history book about the Third Reich, a time in Germany’s history that one would like to have never existed. Germans would have liked to erase this part of our history and to put a leaden blanket onto our past. Yet, it is important to face and to discuss this past, to discuss how it was possible for the Nazis to come to power, to prevent a scenario like this from ever happening again. 

My short film ‘Gott ist tot’ is also interwoven. The title refers to Nietzsche’s ‘Zarathustra’ and ‘Die froehliche Wissenschaft’ texts. I read and recorded my text about why I think there cannot be a God. I explored this idea in my childhood while I was counting the lines in the carpet during sermons in church on Sunday mornings. My grandfather went there every Sunday to have his sins forgiven. Due to my suffering because of his actions, I asked God to help me. There was never an answer for me. Just darkness. 

As a young adult, I discovered Hegel’s thoughts and discussion about the death of god. For me, at that time, it was important to find writers who would confirm for me that there was no god. Hegel wrote about the great pain of knowing that God is dead 'The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’[19]

Als ich klein war, hab ich die Rillen im Teppich gezaehlt, in der Kirche. 
Ich hab gehofft, die Predigt waere bald vorbei. Ich wusste schon, und 
ich war vielleicht 6 oder 7, dass es keinen Gott geben kann. Kann es 
gerecht sein, jemanden, der andere verletzt die Suenden zu vergeben? 
Kann es gerecht sein, dass einem als Kind so viel boeses angetan wird? 
Wo bist du Gott fuer mich? Bitte mach, dass ich nicht mehr im Bett des 
Grossvaters liegen muss, dass ich mich anfassen lassen muss, dass ich 
seinen alten Penis anfassen und in den Mund nehmen muss. Wo bist 
du Gott fuer mich? Ich hab gebetet und um Hilfe gebeten aber er hat 
mich nicht gehoert. Es kann keinen Gott geben. Ich weiss es ganz genau. 
Wenn es einen Gott gaebe, wuerde er nicht zulassen, dass Kinder leiden 
und sterben. Wohin treibt die Menschheit, die sich erklaeren moechte, 
dass Gott das fuer uns tut. Wie will e runs erloesen. Sieht niemand, 
dass wir auf den Abgrund hintreiben. Will niemand aufstehen und 
es anhalten. Wir, wir sind die alleinig Verantwortlichen fuer unser Tun. 

When I was little, I counted the lines in the carpet, in church. 
I was hoping the sermon would come to an end soon. 
I knew already, and I was maybe 6 or 7, that there cannot be a god. 
Can it be just that someone who hurts others, gets his sins forgiven? 
Can it be just that a child must endure such horrible things? 
Where are you god for me? Please change my life so that I do 
not have to be in the bed of the grandfather anymore, that I 
must be touched by him, that I must hold his penis and put 
it into my mouth. Where are you god for me? I have prayed 
and asked for help, but he did not hear me. There cannot be 
a god, I know that with certainty. If there was a god, he would 
not allow children to suffer and die. Where is mankind drifting? 
Who can explain that god is doing all that suffering for us? How 
does he want to redeem us? Does no one see that we are drifting
 towards the precipice? Does no one want to stand up and stop 
all this insanity? We, we are the only ones who are responsible 
for our actions and all insanity. 

While I am reading this text, images of that church carpet are shown. Images are included of my hands painting on one of my works and of a cross with several thousand nails that I built. 

At the end of my film, I leave Berlin. My departure is a way for me to dissolve my problems from the past and to cope with my memories. There is a pressing need to find space for myself to breathe and to feel safe. The ending of the film shows images of my departure from Berlin and going to a different place. In the video, travel is always from east to west, eventually leaving the city by plane in that direction. Ontologically a story unfolds from left to right and graphically I leave the city from right to left, against the grain of my written languages, against the grain how I read or enter a painting. This imagery is my metaphor for how I deal with all of this, which is to go away from my past to the present.

Many, many good memories connect me to Germany. I will not list them all here. Walks on Sundays under the grey autumn sky, the smell of spring on hikes in the Fichtelgebirge, the beautiful landscapes in the countryside, longing for my sister and wonderful dear friends, create a nostalgia and heaviness in my heart. Leaving for me is resolving my emotional weight from the past, but leaving is also very sad every time. I like the words written about leaving by the French poet and novelist Edmond Haraucourt (1856-1941), Partir c’est mourir un peu. ‘To leave is to die a little bit’. Leaving is to die for what one loves. One leaves behind a little of oneself at any hour – any place.

I wanted to use my film and painted work collectively as a tool of investigation into my memory work. The experiences of my past shaped and formed me as the being I am today, the experience that can be seen as a lived practise in the memory of a self-constructed identity. 

Erinnerungen, tragen uns durchs Leben, 
durch diese Erinnerungen und Erfahrungen, 
die wir sammeln auf dem Weg, werden wir 
als Menschen geformt. Nie werde ich in der 
Lage sein, die Erlebnisse meiner Kindheit 
von mir abzustreifen, ich glaube, dass sie 
mein ganzes Leben gepraegt haben. Meine 
Unsicherheit, mein Minderwertigkeitsgefuehl, 
mein Schuld- und Schamgefuehl, alles lag 
unter der Oberflaeche, bis ich endlich, erst 
vor wenigen Jahren, in der Lage war, diese 
Erfahrung in eine Erkenntnis umzuwandeln, 
dass ich meine Art zu sein als eine Tatsache, 
als ein Geschenk annehme.

Our memories carry us through our lives, 
those memories and our experiences that 
we encounter on the way, form us as beings. 
Never will I be able to shed the experiences 
in my childhood, I believe they have formed 
and shaped my whole life. My insecurity, my 
self-consciousness, my feeling of guilt and shame, 
all those lay under the surface until I was finally able, 
only several years ago to transform them into
the acceptance of my way of being 
as a given, a gift

The Vimeo link to my video in German:
And with English voice-over:
Length: 8:51 min

The film received Official Selection in Reservestatus at the German United Film Festival in Berlin in January 2018

A la recherche de Michel Foucault’ video
The impetus for this video came from searching to find a connection between my personal past and some of the writers and artists who had been of utmost importance to me in my life: Schopenhauer, Hesse, Proust, Foucault, Kiefer and Nietzsche. 
I knew the starting point for my film had to be Berlin and my connection to the city. My discovery of Michel Foucault happened during my studies of French and Economics in the early 1980’s through translation work. At that time, my interests concerned thoughts about power and how people impose power over others. This was linked to exploring the psychological consequences of those who had been overpowered by others and what happens when a child’s boundaries are compromised. 
When you are unable to learn how to protect yourself in your childhood then, as an adult you have a constant struggle determining how to protect yourself. This ongoing effort to find a respectful and effective way to reject those who come too close to me and do not respect my privacy and necessary mind space is disconcerting.

I collaborated with Farid Abdulbaki, an artist friend from Syria on this film. I discovered our common interest in Foucault, especially Foucault’s absorbing discussions about power. We have both experienced non-consensual domination by others in power. Farid is a Sufi and I admire his ability to forgive. 

Farid was interested in Foucault because he relates Foucault’s ideas to the situation in his country through the Assad dynasty responsible for his socialist father’s years of imprisonment. Farid’s father was killed at the beginning of the Civil War in 2012. 

This film is a singularly abstract approach to both our interpretations of Foucault. 

Inreading Foucault, I discovered that he asks a range of questions and formulates how questions should be asked differently to give alternative perspectives about provocative ideas.
I abstracted the video to be less literal, incorporating images that have meaning for me. The German words I speak are excerpts from Foucault passages and examples of my interpretation of power.  

The title A la recherche de Michel Foucault, refers to one of my favourite books, A la recherche du temps perduby Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922). In Proust’s novel, he recounts the experiences of someone talking about his memories of childhood and youth, learning about art, participating in society and falling in love. The most fascinating theme in Proust’s work are the stories of involuntary memory. 

Involuntary memory, also known as involuntary autobiographical memory, is a subcomponent of memory which occurs when cues encountered in everyday life evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort. One example of involuntary memory in this novel by Proust, is the ‘Episode of the Madeleine’. Eating a madeleine activated an otherwise forgotten memory of his childhood.Strong, comprehensive memories related to smells take me back to experiences of my childhood and youth. It was important to me to acknowledge Proust’s book as a source of inspiration for this work. 

The soundtrack refers to the fictional music in Proust’s Novel, the Vinteuil Sonatawhich also triggered involuntary memory. The Chilean composer Jorge Arriagada recreated Vinteuil’s violin sonata for the film Le Temps Retrouve(Time Regained) for Raoul Ruiz’s film from 1999. 

A la recherche de Michel Foucaultis a 7:56 min short film:
by Ira Hoffecker in collaboration with Regine Forster, Farid Abdulbaki and Lara Hoffecker


The process of experimenting with memory and coming to terms with my past is the central tenet of this body of work. I have achieved a degree of self-confidence through creating this work. I learned to trust the value of telling my own story and how to show the qualities of my story that best achieve a significance that is of universal merit, that is relatable to others. My confidence exists because I have produced an explicit public disclosure of my abuse.

I gained the knowledge inherent in using media to incorporate aspects of my story that are specific to those media and learned that I can utilize my body to encompass a range of ideas, concerns that would otherwise be minimized or deficiently addressed. Recording acts of personal consequence was cathartic.  Research and exploration, creation of this new work and incorporated transgression of boundaries, are new territories within my creative practice. My research enabled a comparative understanding of the challenges many Germans wrestle with regarding confrontation of their past. I learned that power abuse and its effects can be examined within the context of personal stories. 

As Frigga Haug suggested, once we publicly acknowledge the events of our lives, ‘wriggling free of the constraints of purely private and individual experiences, from a state of modest insignificance we enter a space in which we can take ourselves seriously.’  [20]I vehemently agree with Frigga Haug when she said: ‘Thus writing itself became a practice of active chance, the initial step away from an attitude of suffering and resignation, the first attempt to acquire knowledge by bringing to light our memories and displaying them to others. Writing forced us to develop a more consistent approach to our perception of ourselves’.[21]By articulating my memories in my work, by stating the facts aloud in my films and by inscribing the words that describe my trauma directly onto my paintings, I discover different means of interpreting myself in the world. 

It has not been possible to censor my childhood memories of the experiences of sexual abuse that have so severely impacted my life. As with German history, we need to confront, challenge complacency to prevent a repetition of historical atrocities. It was important to face my past personal pain. In grappling with my dire living memories, healing must include mindful restatement. The healing process underpins my written, painted, verbalized experiences in conjunction with the use of my body in film.

I was always frightened to talk about what happened to me, but now that I am making it public, I feel liberated and more confident. In the recent exhibition, History as Personal Memory,there was an opportunity to bring this work to the public and discuss it. While I was creating this new body of work, I did not have a viewer in mind. I did not think about how the work could possibly be perceived. When I started to show my video to my co-students I said that I hope my work would not disturb anyone. After the experience of the exhibition now, I am very happy about all the feedback I received. Only the viewer owns the interpretation of the work, but of course I would hope to engage the viewer and leave enough space for everyone’s own perception and interpretation. 


Assmann, Aleida.Erinnerungsräume, Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses. C.H. Beck Publishing, oHG, München, Germany, 2010. ISBN: 978-3-406-58532-6.

Aleida Assmann explained that bothindividuals and cultures can build a memory to create identities, to gain legitimacy and to determinegoals. Sheconsidered a range of aspects relevant tocultural memory. She reflected on how the characteristics and significance of cultural memory is portrayed through media such as writing, pictures, monuments. Historical and technical changes as they pertain to cultural memory are analyzed. Stored knowledge methodology, in which art has an increasing importance, was evaluated.

Aufderheide, Patricia.Documentary Film. Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-19-518270-5. (pbk.)

In this concise documentary guide, the author disclosed diverse paths of documentary history, illustrated through charts. The book discussed a recurring and often fierce debate among filmmakers and scholars about the best ways to represent reality and to tell the truths worth telling.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. Penguin Books Publishing, London, England,1972, ISBN: 978-0-141-03579-6.

This book consisted of seven numbered essays. Four essays are about the use of words and images in art. Three essays are dedicated to the use of only images. Berger contributed to public awareness of feminism.  He included feministreadings of popular culture, in essays focused on how women are portrayed in advertisements and oil paintings. Ways of Seeing is considered a seminal text for current studies of visual cultureand art history. Berger applied elements of Walter Benjamin’s essay, ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’. Particularly, Benjamin’s idea of the aura of an original piece of art is dominant in Berger’s essays. 

Berger, John. APainter of Our Time. Verso Publishing, London, England, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1-84467-639-2.

In 1956, when Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, an expatriated Hungarian painter named Janos Lavin disappeared following a triumphant one-man show at a fashionable gallery in London. Berger wrote about the intrigue of Lavin’s disappearance. Where did he go and why did he leave? Apparently, the only clues may lie in the diary, written in Hungarian, that Lavin left behind in his studio. 

Berger showed how an artist analyzing and describing the work of another artist is a valuable practice. Detailed descriptions of art works and little anecdotes of experiences common to many artists make this book a very valuable addition to my selection of research material. 

Bernard, Sheila Curran. Documentary Storytelling. Focal Press Publishing, Abingdon, England - New York, USA, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-138-12341-0 (hbk).
A practical guide to documentary filmmaking, Bernard revealed how contemporary, influential filmmakers bring their tools of narrative cinema to the world of nonfiction film and video without sacrificing the rigor and truthfulness that give documentaries their power. The book offered practical advice for producers, directors, editors, cinematographers, writers on how to make ethical and effective films based on storytelling.

Buse, Gunhild. Macht-Moral-Weiblichkeit, (Original title: Eine feministisch-theologische Auseinandersetzung mit Carol Gilligan und Frigga Haug. Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag Publishing, Mainz, Germany, 1993. ISBN: 3-7867-1723-0.

In her book, Buse asked: “Is morality ‘two-sexed’? Do we have to distinguish a female morality of care from a male morality of justice?” Buse confronts Gilligan's thesis with one of her most brilliant opponents, the psychologist and sociologist, Frigga Haug. For her, Gilligan's assertion of a ’two-sexed’ morality means the continuation of outdated gender roles. Buse measured each theory and their contribution or effect on the liberation from sexism and patriarchy.

Deins, Stefan Liptow, Jasper and Seel, Martin. Kunst und Erfahrung Beiträge zu einer philosophischen Kontroverse. Suhrkamp Verlag Publishing House, Berlin, Germany, 2013. ISBN: 978-3-518-29645-5.

This book questions the roles of perception and experience in our approach to art. Specific aesthetic experience is queried.  The authors examined how an aesthetic experience can be determined conceptually. The volume included contributions by prominent authors of ‘continental’ and ‘analytical’ aesthetics who illuminated the connection between art and experience from a systematic perspective. Some contributors were: Georg W. Bertram, Noel Carroll, Jerrold Levinson, Martin Seel, Eva Schürmann and James Shelley.

Ecker, Gisela. Feminist Aesthetics. Beacon Press, Boston, USA, 1986, ISBN: 0-8070-6728-8.

Feminist Aestheticsfocussed on how German scholars and artists and their thoughts about feminist aesthetics 30 years ago, related how the historical past could be relevant in current practices. For example, novelist Christa Wolf probed and explained the pre-Homeric significance to contemporary feminist aesthetics of Cassandra, prophetess of Troy.

Foucault, Michel. Analytik der Macht, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. Germany, 2005. ISBN: 978-3-518-29359-1.

Foucault's key concepts are introduced. Drawing on his Collège de France lectures, this book is concerned with Foucault’s engagement with the 'psy-disciplines' and in the practical application of his critical research methods.

Foucault, Michel. Wahnsinn und Gesellschaft (Original title: Historie de la Folie, History of Madness). Suhrkamp Verlag Publishing House, 1961, ISBN: 978-3-518-27639-6.

A history of insanity from the 16th to the 18th century, Foucault concurrently tells the story of his self-determined opponent, his reason. He sees insanity and reason as a pair which cannot be separated. Delusion, for him, is another kind of knowledge, a counter-rationality that has its own language.

The "polymorphic techniques of power" is Foucault’s focus in this book. He explored forms, channels and the means by which power is created. He questioned how power penetrates the tiniest and most individual modes of behavior. He investigated the means power attains the rare and inconspicuous forms of pleasure. Foucault examined how power permeates and controls everyday pleasure.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison), Vintage Books, 1977, ISBN 0-394-49942-5,

Foucault suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.Foucault describes the world we live in from the perspective of power and control. Rather than ask why prisons are such a failure, he asks what their dysfunction accomplishes (as well as who benefits).

Foucault, Michel. Die Ordnung der Dinge (original title Les mots et les choses, Words and). Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1974. ISBN: 978-3-518-27696-9.

Michel Foucault revealed elements of knowledge,synchronously. -He connected the knowledge of living beings, the knowledge of the laws of language and the knowledge of economic facts-with the philosophical discourse which extended between the 17thand 19thcentury.

Freyd, Jennifer. Betrayal Trauma. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts USA - London England, 1996. ISBN: 0-674-06805-6 (pbk.).

Within Betrayal Trauma, Freyd asked, “How can someone forget an event as traumatic as sexual abuse in childhood?” She concluded that people who don't know abuse firsthand may not know how to approach this matter at all. This book lays bare the logic of forgotten abuse. She explained how psychogenic amnesia not only happens but, if the abuse occurred at the hands of a parent or caregiver, is often necessary for survival. Freyd called this phenomenon, "betrayal trauma", a blockage of information that would otherwise interfere with one's ability to function within an essential relationship.

Fromm, Erich. Sigmund Freuds Psychoanalyse Grösse und Grenzen. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, Germany, 2006. ISBN:978-3-89806-497-2.

Fromm interpreted Freud's significant discoveries. Fromm showed how Freud's characteristic bourgeois thinking was limited and sometimes obscured his discoveries. Fromm’s scholarly and explosive examination demonstrated the significance of Freud’s psychoanalytic discoveries. He paid tribute to Freud’s psychoanalysis. Although well explained by Fromm, from a feminist perspective and with the experience of a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is often challenging to understand Freud

Haug, Frigga. Female Sexualization. Verso Publishing, London, England, 1987. ISBN: 0-86091-875-0 Pbk.

This book explored the sexualisation of women's bodies, charting the complex interplay of social, political and cultural forces which produce a normative 'femininity'. Haug wrote about a series of projects, which focused on concrete instances of sexualisation that led to a broader examination of the relationship between power and sexuality, the social and the psychological aspects of sexualisation. 

Haug, Frigga.Erinnerungsarbeit.-Argument-Verlag Publishing, Hamburg, Germany,1990.ISBN: 3-88619-383-7.

Haug focussed on the social science method of using women's experiences to remove the ignorance and prejudice in existing socialization theories. She proposed that individuals build their personality during their life in a way that creates a coherent reality for them.

Haug, Frigga. Sexualisierung Der KoerperFrauenformen, Reihe: Sexualisierung Der Körper. Argument-Verlag Publishing house, Berlin, Germany, 1983. ISBN: 3-88619-90-0.

Haug focussed on questions regarding sexual socialization.  Haug explored how insight and comprehension that results from possibly too much or too little information, compounded by the impact of technology affects sexual practices. 

Hewitt, John and Vazquez, Gustavo. Documentary Film Making. Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-19-930086-0.

The authors developeda step-by-step guide for the creation of documentary films.  Concepts were expanded from the initial idea stage through to film production and included the distribution phase for film release. Effects of technological advances and social media are highlighted. This compact handbook offered a general overview of the documentary process.

Herman, Judith, M.D.: Trauma and Recovery. Basic Books Publishing, New York, USA, 1992. ISBN: 978-0-465-06171-6.

Herman created a fundamental guide to understanding trauma survivors. By placing individual experience in a broader political frame, Herman argued that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context. Drawing on her own research on incest, she showed surprising parallels between private atrocities like child abuse and public horrors like war. 

Kuhn, Annette. Women’s Picture Feminism and Cinema.Routledge & Kegan Paul PLC, London, UK, 1982.ISBN: 0-7100-90447-7.

This work of feminist theory described changes in feminist film theory and practice of the 80’s and 90’s from previous decades. Kuhn discussed and demystified the era’s methods of analysis, including semiotic and psychoanalytical approaches.

Meyer, Elard Hugo, Trübner, Karl J., Deutsche Volkskunde (Germanic Mythology), Straßburg 1898 (Reprint). Reprint-Verlag Leipzig, Holzminden, Germany, 1997, ISBN 3-8262-1304-1, pg. 100.
Written more than a hundred years ago, Meyer’s book describes mythical thought and customs and traditions of Germanic people. He describes, for example, that Germanic tribesmen used a ‘magic sign’ made with lead, called Aegishalmr, on their fighters’ foerheads to give them magic power for an upcoming battle. 

Probyn, Elspeth. Blush, Faces of Shame. University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota, USA, 2005. ISBN: 0-8166-2720-7.

Probyn explains in her work that in times of rising pride, such as national pride, black pride, gay pride, fat pride, shame, on the other hand, has gotten a bad reputation. She contends that the emotion of ‘social shame’ is a powerful resource in rethinking who we are and who we want to be.

Robertson, Jean and McDaniel, Craig. Themes of Contemporary Art. Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-19-536757-7.

Explaining themes of contemporary art practices, this bookfeatureda huge ensemble of illustrations, which exemplify a wide variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches. Artists of diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds were presented. A timeline situated art within the its cultural contexts. Focus was on Seven important themes in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, place, language, science, and spirituality.

Siegelaub, Seth. Beyond Conceptual Art. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König Publishing House, Cologne, 2016. ISBN: 978-3-86335-824-2.

Seth Siegelaub, a curator, writer and art dealer, is legendary for his promotion of conceptual art in New York in the 1960s and ‘70s. The book explored the facets of Siegelaub’s work. Ground breaking projects with conceptual artists were described. Siegelaub’s research and publications on mass media and communications theories were expounded. His interest in hand woven textiles and non-Western fabrics were noted. Connections were made between his interests.

Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Idea. Orion Publishing Group, London, England, 1995. ISBN: 978-0-4608-7505-9.

Schopenhauer explained his theory that nature in general, which includes humans (the binary description of people as men and women is utilized) is the expression of an insatiable ‘will to life’.; Schopenhauer theorised that the truest understanding of the world comes through art. He thought the only lasting good could exist through ascetic renunciation. Unique in Western philosophy for his affinity with Eastern philosophies, Schopenhauer influenced philosophers, writers, and composers including Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Wagner, Tolstoy, Thomas Mann, and Samuel Beckett.

Weedon, Chris. Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Basil Blackwell Ltd., UK, 1987. ISBN: 0-631-15069-2

This bookoffered an accessible and clear introduction to poststructuralist theory, focused on questions of language, subjectivity and power.

Weil, Simone. Über die Ursachen von Freiheit und gesellschaftlicher Unterdrückung. diaphanes Publishing, Zürich, Switzerland, 2012. ISBN: 978-3-03734-236-7.

In 1934, due to radicalization of political systems in Europe, Simone Weil reflected on the causes of the widespread unease. She wrote to understand why people live in an unjust society in which the individual could not be free and content. She concluded that German society became willing instruments of the domination they produce themselves. The price of freedom and personal responsibility, according to Weil, is a price no one should be willing to pay.

[1]Meyer, Elard Hugo, Trübner, Karl J., Deutsche Volkskunde (Germanic Mythology), pg. 101.
[2]Foucault, Michel: Discipline and Punish, page 26
[3]Foucault, Michel: Discipline and Punish, Page 27-28
[4]Haug, Frigga: Erinnerungsarbeit, page 64
[5]Haug, Frigga, Female Sexualization, page 45
[6]Haug, Frigga: Erinnererungsarbeit,page 62
[7]Haug, Frigga: Erinnererungsarbeit, page 35
[8]Haug, Frigga, Female Sexualization, page 51
[9]Herman, Judith: Trauma and Recovery, Page 104
[10]Herman, Judith: Trauma and Recovery, page 114
[11]Buse, Gunhild: Macht, Moral und Weiblichkeit, page 74. Buse quotes Haug, whose views on moral are based on Marx’s question of moral. Haug is quoting from Marx/Engels Werke, Bd 1, Berlin, DDR, 1956
[12]Foucault, Michel: Der Wille zum Wissen, Sexualitaet und WahrheitI, page 95.

[13]Herman, Judith: Trauma and Recovery, page 107
[14]Herman, Judith L.: Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terrorpage 109

[15]Foucault, Michel: Der Wille zum Wissen, Sexualitaet und Wahrheit I, page 96

[16]Foucault, Michel, Subjekt der Macht in Foucault, Michel, Analytik der Macht, page 251, 
[17]also: ‘Die Kraehen schreien’ and ‘Vereinsamt’ from 1883. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche– Anti-Ethik und Uebermensch. Ein kleiner Blick in die Grundprinzipien des ethischen Denkens von Nietzsche
[18]From ‘Method’ in ‘History of Sexuality Volume I,’ pp. 92-102
[19]Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1845). Philosophische Abhandlungen. p. 153 

[20]Haug, Frigga, Female Sexualization, Page 36
[21]Haug, Frigga, Female Sexualization, Page 52

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