Odarodle – An imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017

Odarodle - An imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017

Exhibition 21 July 2017 – 16 October 2017
Odarodle – An imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017

Vernissage: July 20th 2017, 6 pm

Pre-Opening Manifestation Parade: July 20th, 4.30 pm (gathering in front of “Speisekammer im Eldorado” supermarket, corner of Motzstraße/Kalckreutstraße)

The artistic research exhibition Odarodle – an imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017 casts, for the first time, a postcolonial perspective on the collection and history of the Schwules Museum*. The exhibition proposes a thought-exercise: that there are problematic associations between the museum representation of homosexualities and the ethnological display formats developed over the course of European colonialism. Odarodle presents the work of 16 artists, mostly Berlin-based, including 10 newly commissioned pieces. These contemporary positions respond to the Museum, its archive, and its practices as both research material and aesthetic medium.

Odarodle specifically turns “Eldorado” backwards. As a site of multiple origins, it is a threefold reference: an historical exhibition, a legendary night club, and a colonial myth. Though the commitment of the Schwules Museum* to enable LGBTIQ cultural visibility bespeaks a greater political agenda of liberation, the contemporary relevance of such a (self-)representational undertaking requires revision and reflection. A more expansive, less obvious scale of critical engagement, as proposed by Odarodle, considers the deeper operations within Modernity that have attempted to exhibit forms of life, their bodies, and their habitats. This is where the desire to show the manners and mores of a kind of “people” and their “nature” confronts the postcolonial challenges of the ethnographic museum: a site that has historically sought to visualize the existence of the “Other” and, in doing so, maintains the “Other” as a normative construction.

The project’s primary point of departure is the seminal exhibition Eldorado: Homosexuelle Frauen und Männer in Berlin 1850-1950 – Geschichte, Alltag, und Kultur, which opened in 1984 at the Berlin Museum in West-Berlin and is considered by the Schwules Museum* as its institutional origin. Starting with a range of legal, medical, and literary discussions on the “nature” of sexuality and the “identity” of same-sex love, the exhibition Eldorado turned its focus onto the cultural and sociopolitical climate of the ‘20s and ‘30s in Berlin. Documents, photographs, prints, and paintings were displayed in vitrines and on thematically-arranged presentation boards, while specific “environments” were recreated with everyday objects to convey atmospheres – the gay boudoir, the lesbian café, the Tiergarten cruising area. Read more…

Schwules Museum*


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