Multimodality and Collaboration • Future Memory Work • Co-Creation

Multimodal Commentary: “Zentrum Aufarbeitung Gegenwart [Center for Reappraisal of the Present]”

Elements from “Zentrum Aufarbeitung Gegenwart [Center for Reappraisal of the Present]” by Anne Chahine, Multimodal Commentary Series, December 2023

“Zentrum Aufarbeitung Gegenwart [Center for Reappraisal of the Present]” from the Multimodal Commentary series

Every so often, I come across (visual) narratives that leave me puzzled. Multimodal Commentary is a series featuring pieces that help me think through these initial triggers and formulate a reply beyond words, using a variety of media and modalities.

Initial trigger (Left): Website/logo close-up of the “Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship)”, a German government-funded organisation established in 1998. “Its mandate is to assess the history (1949–1990) of the socialist regime of the German Democratic Republic GDR, commonly known as East Germany), and its impact on the now reunified Germany. As its logo, the foundation uses the former East German flag minus its coat of arms. In the final months of the GDR, many East German citizens cut out the flag’s emblem in this manner.” (Wikipedia 2023)

Multimodal Commentary (Right): Logo close-up of a fictional institution by the name “Zentrum Aufarbeitung Gegenwart (Center for Reappraisal of the Present)”. Fictional logo and name of the institution can be understood as an invitation to center present-day engagements, narratives, and representations of East German people, their histories, and their time of transition after reunification until now.

The logo is produced by Anne Chahine and consists of mixed material, combining different tools: white cloth (background of the logo), one 30x45cm GDR flag with the coat of arms cut out, one 150x90cm GDR flags that form the letters of the word Gegenwart (present), and black felt-tip pens for the word Zentrum Aufarbeitung. All single elements are hand-sewn on the background cloth, the outer rim is sewn by machine with the help of neighbor and friend A.N.

Documentation of Trigger

Process of making the logo for the fictional institution called “Zentrum Aufarbeitung Gegenwart [Center for Reappraisal of the Present]”