Die Beschreibund des Zirkels (2023)

participatory writing circle @ Festival OSTEN
exhibition at Grassi Museum Leipzig curated by Kulturen des Kuratorischen

Arbeiter:innenliteratur, 2022 cartographic collage, digital print

Die Beschreibund des Zirkels (2023)

Describing the circle (2023)

As a result of the cultural workers' movement from the bottom up and the cultural policy of the "Bitterfelder Weg", writing circles emerged in dozens of VEB (publicly owned companies) in the GDR in the 1960s and beyond. Here, workers gathered to educate themselves on literature, acquired journalistic and writing skills and exchanged political and social views. This literary working class movement was unique in the socialist states and remained active until the post-reunification period. In this way, workers were able to exchange ideas about their life in a socialist society and describe and discuss the actual experiences of the new Soviet person. They published their work in anthologies, read at events and taught other workers writing.
The workshop
From July-September 2022 I organized a writing circle in the tradition of the writing workers movement in Bitterfeld and online. In 5 sessions we discussed our working experiences and writing practices. We read texts by Brigitte Reimann, brigade diaries form the archive of the writing workers. We extensively discussed our own texts about work and its post-socialist implications.
The publication
Texts that were produced during the circle are the second part of a two book publication. The first presents a selection of writing workers text from the GDR, sourced at the Archive of the Writing Workers - Schreibart e.V.. This part includes brigade diaries, portraits, poems and experimental fiction from 3 decade of anthologies published by various circles. As much as it contextualizes the texts produced at Die Beschreibund des Zirkels, it also attempts to be a source book for anyone curious about the movement of writing workers in the GDR.

Planned publication is March 2023

A reading of the cirlce texts @ Grassi Museum on the 24th of March 2023
Die Brigade hat immer recht, 2022, archive collage, digital print
pieces in the exhibition

Die Brigade hat immer recht, 2022
archive collage, digital print

Persönlich-schöpferischer Plan, 2022
archive collage, digital print

Arbeiter:innenliteratur, 2022
cartographic collage, digital print

the cartography of Arbeiter:innenliteratur was produced referring to the publications of Anne Sokoll, Rüdiger Bernahrd and William J. Waltz.

installation shots by Maximilian Koppernock
The exhibition is on view at the group exhibition ERMENTIEREN-PERSPEKTIVEN AUF OSTEN at Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde, Leipzig from 9th December 2022 – 1st April 2023
Die Beschreibung des Zirkels is part of my research on subject production through labour during socialism and post-socialism. The project is part of the Magical Materialism series.

Thank you to the participants of the writing circle William Karg, Ilija Matusko, marika, Ada Fuchs, Uwe Hermmann, Rosi Topf, Alexandra Zysset

Proof reading by Friederike Schneider
Thank you for the invitation and support to curator Sandy Becker.

The project is funded by Initial 2: Akademie der Künste and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.