Michael, 72 Minuten, Berlin, 2015, Kamera, Licht und Ton: Benjamin Krieg
...Der Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg ist einer von Berlins 14 Trümmerbergen, an jenen geschichtsträchtigen Orten recherchierte Schönberger auch für die Arbeit 641 objects without qualities. Zusammen mit dem Künstler Christof Zwiener sammelte Schönberger in den betreffenden Parks Fragmente und Scherben von Alltagsgegenständen, die ihren Weg durch die Berge von Schutt und Kriegstrümmern an die Oberfläche fanden. Im Rahmen der Ausstellung Scherben im Berliner Museum der Dinge (2013-2014) traf Sonya Schönberger den „Dingexperten“ Michael Engelke.
In der Videoarbeit Michael (2014) verortet Engelke ausgewählte Scherben und Objekte
und erläutert ihre ursprüngliche Funktion. Mithilfe spezifischer Merkmale stellt er eine
Verbindung der einzelnen Objekte zu ihrer Geschichte her und schreibt den Bruchstücken eine mögliche Provenienz zu. Sie werden zu Erinnerungsfragmenten, die den BetrachterInnen einen unmittelbaren Zugang zur jüngeren deutschen Kulturgeschichte ermöglichen. (Silke Wittig, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k., 2015)
... The Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg is one of Berlin's 14 piles of rubble. In those historic
sites Schönberger also researched for her work "641 objects without qualities". Together
with artist Christof Zwiener Schönberger collected fragments and shards of everyday objects which found their way through the mountains of rubble and debris of war to the surface in those parks. Within the exhibition "Scherben" in the Berlin Museum of Things (2013-2014) Sonya Schoenberger met the "thing expert" Michael Engelke. In the video Michael (2014), Engelke situates selected pieces and objects and explains their original function. He connects each object to its history and gives the fragments a possible provenance. They are to memory fragments that allow the viewer an immediate access to recent German cultural history. (Silke Wittig, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k., 2015)
Translated excerpt: ...Here we have a piece that is really typical of the time period. In particular, this is a filter, the upper part of a filter of a gas mask. More specifically, the people's gas mask. Here you have to imagine the screw thread that was screwed like this under the actual mask. From the bottom came the air inlet with the filter material. So it is a very time-typical piece because all nations went through the experience of the First World War, where poison gas had been used "quite successfully" en masse, so that all nations assumed, the next war would be again an air and also a gas war. This is why all nations equipped their people with gas masks supply. For the 80 million Germans or the People of the German Reich, as it was called at that time, there was a corresponding number of gas masks, that needed a corresponding amount of filter material, because the filters had only a limited storage time during which they were effective. Therefore the filter had to be replaced. This was the gas mask for the people, then they had little gas beds for babies. And for animals, especially horses, there were horses gas masks. Aluminum in itself is a relatively unstable material. You can see the deformation. It is easily corroded by salts in the soil, which is not so much the case in this example.
A similar piece, which may well document the expression of the circumstances of the
time, is this knife, or better this broken knife. It is a canteen knife. Here is the eagle of the Luftwaffe. This eagle is a design by Mr. Ludwig Gies, a relatively well-known artist, who is also a representative of modernity. In the twenties, thirties, he was put under an exhibition ban and other bans. But he has apparently and nevertheless supplied the Air Force with the design for this eagle. Incidentally, the federal eagle in Bonn, which hangs in the Bonn Chamber is also by Mr. Gies. So we see here the eagle of the Air Force and on the other side are the letters Fl.U.V. Fl. stands for aviators, U. for accommodation, V. I think is catering, so Aviators Accommodation Catering. Hence the explicit allocation to an Air Force canteen. In addition, there is also a manufacturer code, LMZ 41. 41 stands for 1941. All producers for the Wehrmacht had certain required abbreviations.
In the Museum of Transport and Technology, there's a list or a thick catalogue with the letter combinations that tells you which manufacturer made that originally. Here you can see the traces of salts from the soil. Aluminum is not a very stable metal, it is corroded rather quickly by the salts of the earth...