The Sea Remembers
Landscape and History
“Where was I supposed to go, out there in the middle of nowhere?”
My frequent trips to the place where I was born, Bad Polzin/ Połczyn Zdrój were prompted by the recollections of my mother. In 1989 shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall she recorded the escape from her homeland in March 1945 as a young mother with her baby. I had decided to retrace these steps. After several journeys the significant obstacles emerge in their geographic, cultural and metaphorical iterations. The foreign language as well as the burden of history brought about tensions that appear to be constitutive: we remain strangers, we get closer.
What is the significance of the place we come from?
This question motivated me to set off in search of first and formative memories. What do images look like that stem from very early impressions, from memories that rise up from deep within, from that place that is at once forming and at the same time giving rise to the well of memories, that were long forgotten? Why do I avoid certain places or look beyond them, while other places call out to me? The snow, the trees and meadows, the horizon, the dilapidated and destroyed houses. The colors, the musty smell of damp wood in the bog. The silence and the background noises; the cold and drafts especially, the whistling of the wind. Images of longing push to the forefront, concealing something incomprehensible, trying to superimpose themselves over a mother’s grief, something the child has always experienced as a void, as a feeling occupied by something unspoken. Could images provide a place to this longing?
Grids and Reflections
With my camera I captured whatever caught my eye. At dawn and dusk the bands of fog rose and sank again. In broad daylight the wide expanse of meadows, the paths leading off into the unknown. The impressions of freedom, standstill and forlornness.
On closer inspection, I recognized something I had initially overlooked: how a sense of violence breaks through, how readily the images take on a menacing look. Suddenly, there were the deep colors of the night, the silhouettes of shadows, the empty window holes, objects of decay in thickets and underbrush…
(Excerpt from the book The Sea Remembers. Landscape and History,
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, June 2014)