Ola Stahl, Kajsa Thelin: SPOOLS

  • ©, Ola Stahl and Kajsa Thelin, SPOOLS



Artist(s) and People Involved:




    Digital sound installation

Artist Statement:

    In 2007 in Erfurt in what was formerly East-Germany, the artist collective C.CRED carried out a series of interviews centred around the archives of personal files left behind by the Stasi at time of the German unification. These interviews set out to explore the complex intersection of political engagement and biographical body that characterise participants’ relationships with their personal files specifically and with the GDR period in general. Set within a politically charged post-unification context, this interview project became an attempt to map out political dissention both historically and, by means of these histories and the politics of how and by whom they are told, also within the contemporary context of a Europe now purportedly united.

    Revisiting the project in 2009, Ola Stahl and Kajsa Thelin, two former members of the artist collective, isolate and extract the questions that were asked from transcripts of the interviews. In a recorded process, they then carefully rehearse the asking of the questions, trying to get as close as possible in their delivery to the way in which the questions were originally posed. Returning at times to the interview recordings for a point of reference, commentary, citations and reflection are continuously allowed to interfere with the rehearsal process. SPOOLS is an edit of the resulting sound recording. It is an attempt to explore not the issues raised in the original interviews themselves, but rather the ways in which questions are asked, what could perhaps be called the question of the question, and what resides at its very core: the politics and contexts of testimony and witnessing as an access point to history.