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PUSZCZ IMPERATORY(2022)

Helen Weber: Puszcz imperatory
insight Stuttgart, 30.03.22 – 23.04.22, open Mon- Sat, 8- 19pm

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Białowieża Primeval Forest — also referred to as „Europe’s last primeval forest“ — stretches from eastern Poland across the border into western Belarus. Today, the population of Białowieża mainly lives from primeval forest tourism, the main attraction of which is the reintroduced European bison. As the animal symbolic to the area, the żubr gives its name to alcohol brands, sports clubs and hotels. Since early modern times, myths, fantasies and desires of various rulers have revolved around the hunt for the bison, which was depicted by Adam Mickiewicz in the Polish national epic Pan Tadeusz (1851) as one of the rulers of the primeval forest (puszcz imperatory). In National Socialist Germany, the passionate hunter „Reichsjagdmeister“ Göring planned a so-called „nature reserve“ there, in which an archaic, Germanic primeval nature was to be resurrected according to the model of Germanic myths. In the bison, he saw the aurochs, which he wanted to „re-cross“ by means of an elaborate breeding program. In 2016, after illegal logging operations in the protected Polish part of the forest, a broad alliance of scientists and activists formed to draw attention to the actions of the Polish forest authorities through petitions and forest occupations — despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the logging operations continued in 2022. In 2017, largely unnoticed by the German media, a free-ranging Polish bison („nasz żubr“, our bison) in Lebus on the Oder becomes a political issue after being shot by a German hunter.

In early September 2021, Helen Weber hitchhikes to Białowieża with a hunter’s camera. In search of images of the complex history of the forest between as territory, nation, nature conservation and wilderness(-fiction), she unexpectedly finds herself confronted with contemporary events. As a reaction to EU sanctions, the Belarusian regime is luring refugees — most of whom from Iran, Irak, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen — with relaxed visa rules into the country. After getting escorted across the Polish border, they were and still are illegally pushed back and detained by Polish authorities without any chance of seeking legal asylum in the EU. As part of today’s EU external border, Puszcza Białowieska becomes the scene of deadly European border policies. On September 2nd, Poland declares a state of emergency. In the protective thicket of the forest, a militarised, restricted area is created. Neither humanitarian aid nor legal advice are permitted to enter, no reports or images are allowed to leak out of the area.

The 7-channel video installation „PUSZCZ IMPERATORY“ documents a fragmented story that seems to write itself based on chance encounters. It revolves around Białowieża and its surroundings at that point in time.

The voices of various of those chance encounters (German tourists, local residents, a female soldier and a war-traumatized survival trainer), some of which were recorded covertly, are arranged with the images and sounds of the hunter’s camera, turning them into narrators and protagonists of an unclear moment from each of their own perspectives. The index embedded in the image of the hunter’s camera allows the chronological sequence of the recordings to be traced. The actual event remains hidden in the forest.

Text auf Deutsch here

Two- sided A1 exhibition poster for donation.
All proceeds go to Grupa Granica, a group of locals and volunteers that give vital assistance to refugees who are denied humanitarian aid, trapped in the polish- belarusian border strip. Available at the exhibition or via mail to: helen.weber26@yahoo.com

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I WILL SURVIVE (2021)

Emil Walde and Helen Weber: I WILL SURVIVE
22.10.2021 – 17.11.2021 K34 Stuttgart

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RAMBO (2020)

Group shows (G), Readings (L), Radio Play (H), Catalogue/ Publication (K), Collective work (CW), Screenings (S)

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2022 nature.exe(2), Städtische Galerie Villingen Schwenningen, mit SOAV (CW)

2022 PUSZCZ IMPERATORY, insight Stuttgart (solo)

2022 a shop is a shop is a shop Kunsthalle Wien shop (G)

2021 nature.exe(1) Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, mit SOAV (CW)
2021 I WILL SURVIVE mit Emil Walde. Kunstraum 34 Stuttgart
2021 KONZIL Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (CW)
2021 WARP FACTOR III Planet Dance Tour /ua. Böblingen, Asphalt Sessions E-Werk Freiburg, Waldbühne Saarbrücken (CW)
2021 – MANUFACTUM- STRUNK mit Sophia Sadzakov und Fabian Widukind Penzkofer, Automat Offspace Saarbrücken (G)
2021 -RAMBO 2020- NATÜRLICH! Gruppenausstellung BdK , Regierungspräsidium Karlsruhe (G)
2021 – YOYO/ YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN – KUNST IM SETZKASTEN, E- Werk Freiburg video (G) (K)
2021 – VEREINSHEIM OBERWELT – Oberwelt e.V Stuttgart, mit SOAV (CW)
2021 –Painting eyes on cattle– mit Vincent Mayr. Filmwinter Stuttgart Festival for expanded Media (online) (S)

2020 – Lava und Düsen -mit Jasmin Schädler, Julian Siffert, Ui- Kjung Lee. Klangraumfestival K34, Stuttgart (H)(CW)
2020 – RAMBO 2020long time no see, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (G) (K)
2020 – YOYO/YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN – KUNST IM SETZKASTEN, Forum Kunst Rottweil (G) (K)
2020 – MANNHEIM MASSIV barac/ Einraumhaus C/O, Franklin Barracks Mannheim mit SOAV (CW)
2020 – YOK – The sun will shine on mercury on sunday; Kunstverein Gästezimmer, Stuttgart (G)
2020 HARZ. Eine Lesereise mit Fabian Widukind Penzkofer (R)
NaHeRaum, Bad Kreuznach // NUR, Leipzig // Tennis Bar, Berlin // Künstlerhaus Wendenstraße, Hamburg // SPARTA Kunstakademie Düsseldorf // Automat Offspace, Saarbrücken // Hauptbahnhof, Ludwigshafen // Villa Nix,Stuttgart

2019 – tags – Various Small Fires; Villa Nix and HuM Base, Stuttgart (G)
2019 – HIYAR YÜZÜNDEN – amarok friends of anorak; HuM Base, Stuttgart (G) 2019 – OFF THE GRID – GOOD SPACE/ Villa Merkel, Esslingen mit SOAV (CW)
2019 – DAS STÜCK – Landschaft mit Burg; Burg Bad Bentheim (G) (K)
2019 – LOOKING FOR HYALOMMA LOOKING FOR MEPHLOX; AKKU Stuttgart (G)
2019 NSU in Futur 2, Freies Radio Stuttgart mit mitteperformance (H)
2019EXPEDITIONEN – E-Werk Freiburg (solo)
2019 Alpha Centauri; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (G) 

2018 – KOMPLEX – NSU Tribunal Mannheim; Romno Kher mit mitteperformance (CW)
2018 – DAS AUFBRECHEN – Lowland;Theater Rampe Stuttgart (R)
2018 – YOGI – hi, definition; Kunstverein Schorndorf (G)
2018 – KOMPLEX – New narratives 2; Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart mit mitteperformance (CW)
2018 About blank; LAF Pforzheim (G)
2018 – DIE SONNE HATTE DAS LICHT VERLOREN UND KEINER WUSSTE, WAS ZU TUN WAR- Hardly working; Steinwerkstatt Freiburg (R)

2017 – DIE WANDERUNGSquare Dance; öffentlicher Raum Tuttlingen (G)
2017 – tags – Shuffle; Galerie Inter Art Stuttgart (G) (L)

2016 Das Zebra streifen; SEEN THROUGH Stuttgart
2015 Live in our house. When form becomes attitude; Galerie 44, Stuttgart

Schwäbischer Online- Albverein // planet dance ensemble // ROSANNAWIDUKIND // Pleroma Festival // KEŞKE

I prefer not to be part of Instagram, so please feel free to write to helen.weber26@yahoo.com if you want to know more

©Helen Weber 2022