Assembly of Sleepless Matter
On fragmented tombstones of haunted Jewish and Refugee cemeteries in Greece.
This project investigates collective memory, mourning and the border crisis in post-austerity Greece. Departing from the vanished Jewish cemetery in Thessaloniki and the recent Refugee cemetery in Lesbos, both contested sites animate the past as absence in the present. Fragmented tombstones as cultural material become informants, while new cemeteries spread out along migration routes. By questioning necropolitical theoretical fields in combination with politics of migration and materialist theory, Yara Haskiel rethinks: How does post-austerity shape transcultural memory?
The destroyed old Jewish Cemetery in Thessaloniki and present site of the Aristotle University as well as the so called ‘refugee cemetery’ near the village Kato Tritos in Lesbos are haunted territories – they are sites of the vulnerable relation between the dead and the living.
In Kato Tritos the graves bare the mark of being recycled tombstones, some just have numbers or wooden crosses. These burial grounds have become disputed subjects within public discourses in Greece, since ethical and political responsibility is obviously missing. Associated with discomfort, these cemeteries challenge normative constructions of nation and identity within official narratives. Simultaneously, the border as well as difference and belonging are inevitable aspects of migratory and diasporic histories.
Assembly of Sleepless Matter traces a dialogical interaction between reminders of barbarism and its temporal, material and affective continuities and discontinuities. Multiple voices on and across these differently instituted spaces, point to the urgency to counter map struggles for mourning in times of post-austerity, hard borders and continuous permutations of structural racism.
Building on her video practice, Yara Haskiel plans to generate an audio-visual cartography with fictional elements that will inform both a multi-channel video essay and her PhD in practice thesis.
(Text source: Yara Haskiel)
Yara HASKIEL is a video artist and researcher. She studied Experimental Film and Art and Media at the University of Arts in Berlin and Hamburg with Hito Steyerl, Heinz Emigholz and Gerd Roscher. She holds a Master in Museology and Critical Theory from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2014-15 she took part in the Independent Studies Program (PEI) at the Museum for Contemporary Art (MACBA) in Barcelona. Her collaborative exhibition project Personal Geographies was realized in Berlin and Belgrade (2016-2018). In 2019, her research project Assembly of Sleepless Matter was granted with the Artist Research Fellowship by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin. Currently, she is a PhD scholar of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation and at the Visual Culture Department at Goldsmiths, London.
Central themes of her work are the connections between memory and (dis-) placement of minor and forgotten narratives and their trans-generational affective constellations. Further, she focuses on micro politics and its precarities. Yara Haskiel generates video essays and multi-screen installations that embrace reflexivity by experimenting with video diary, found footage and new media.