Independent map of shared ideas, languages & studios
Connecting filmic, performative, and curatorial discussions with contemporary literature and critical writing, Mutterzunge investigates autonomy, anonymity and authenticity. As an inquiry into unorthodox forms of exhibition-making, Mutterzunge is an independent program of research visits, studio residencies, invited table conversations, and mapping of installations and events in Berlin. Revisiting Berlin-based author Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s book of the same name—in her city—this proposal by Misal was one of three winners of the Curate Award, an international competition promoted by Fondazione Prada and the Qatar Museums. Launched in May 2013, the Curate Award aimed to find new curating talent and bring about original perspectives in exhibition-making. The international jury selected three winning projects in August 2014 out of a large number of submitted proposals from 63 different countries.
Participating singularities and contributing pluralities
For each story in Özdamar’s work of fiction, in four chapters, the project generates a staged act in a specific location. Each act will include attempts, concerns, and questions about translation, moderation, and editing between diverse languages, communities, and cultures. It aims to reconnect readers with users, increase listening skills with reading interest, and introduce individual writings to co-editing practices. It sometimes takes shape at a long table for shared conversations, or at a brainstorming session in a studio for new ideas, or at a bar, language class, or cinema—wherever we hear foreign languages. Circulating conversations, research, field surveys, and methodic thinking, Mutterzunge intends to rewrite those stories with an understanding of current questions on autonomy, anonymity and authenticity.
-acted, performed and reconstructed
Mutterzunge is a phrase which does not literally exist in standard German.
Özdamar’s Mutterzunge (1990: I. Bachmann prize) proposes not only a literal translation of “mother tongue,” but also an artistic gesture in German, since “mother tongue” exists in such other languages as English, French, and Turkish, but not German, which only uses the phrase Muttersprache—“mother language.” She departs from the deep connection with her own mother, and questions Arabic, German, and Turkish, the languages she deals with, as spaces of abstraction, conceptual thinking, composition, intimacy, and articulation. The book investigates the politics of migration through minor gestures of everyday life, from the narrative perspective of a young Turkish migrant woman living in Germany. Creating an open space for our imagination, it develops critical questions on language, state, the public, memory, and the sense of belonging among others. The narrator begins by explaining that in her language, Turkish, “tongue” also means “language”:
‘Zunge hat keine Knochen, wohin man sie dreht, dreht sie sich dorthin’ (p. 9); ‘The tongue has no bones; wherever you turn it, it turns’.
Connecting: Mutterzunge issues printed in Karaman’in Sesi editions are available at Neue Nachbarschaft & nbk