In June 2017 HAU Hebbel am Ufer together with the curator Barbara Raes organised a project moving between artistic residence and research, focusing on the topics of loss and rituals. Under the title “Unacknowledged Loss”, Raes shared her knowledge as curator and ritual celebrant during three full weeks with a group of Berlin based artists from diverse fields (Nathalie Bikoro, Claudia Hill, Jassem Hindi, Jasmin İhraç, Ligia Lewis, Maria Scaroni, Mieko Suzuki, Oliver Zahn), invited by HAU to work with her. The feedback was very positive, both from the involved artists and from the audience taking part in the public presentations to close the project. A book with interviews, pictures and reports and a film about the project were published afterwards. The wish for a second edition was immediately born, so HAU scheduled a second edition for June 2020 with a new group of artists.
Since March we live in a different reality, also “Unacknowledged Loss” cannot take place in the form it was originally planned. However, the topics it addresses are even more present in our current lives and worth to create a space to reflect upon them. That’s why HAU and Barbara Raes decided to re-imagine this project in order to make it happen nevertheless. And the nine artists asked long time ago to participate were very engaged to go for it as well. During the whole month of June, they were working on the topic of mourning and farewell rituals today and how the zone where art, care and rituals meet can be an interesting place to explore formats for the future. They met with professionals and practicioners who have been working with these topics for a long time, like the architect Koen Van Synghel, the Naturopath Franziska Dieterich, the funeral directors Uller and Lea Gscheidel, and the artists Claudia Hill, Jorge Leon and Melih Gençboyaci.
The discomfort of not being able to truefully meet as a group was the starting point of this journey. Every artist knew that apart from themselves, 8 others were following the same path at the same time in Berlin. Only by the end of the project they are able to “see” each other through the films of their individual rituals.
During the process, several materials like photos, texts and films were generated that we share now with the public as part of the programme of #HAUonline. The videos filmed and created by the artist Liz Rosenfeld can be seen here and on the HAU Youtube channel. These experimental film portraits were made as a result of encountering the rituals by Rosenfeld, who was one of the few people that witness the rituals of all the artists. Similar to the last edition, a book that documents the whole project is going to be published by HAU at a later point next season. This will be a reason to celebrate, hopefully in a live celebration with all people involved and interested!