WAITING ROOM - WAITING TO BECOME GERMAN
A Project together with
Susanne Grebe (social educationalist), Agnes Khoo (sociologist)
and Elisabeth Strasser (ethnologist)
"...in the summer of 2000 an experiment took place in Hannover and a few other cities in Germany that not only brought together hundreds of women scholars from throughout the world, but turned the idea of exchange between scholarship and the arts wihtin the framework of an academic institution, the International Women's University ifu, into reallity, if "only" for the brief period of three months." (Leonie Baumann in Remote Sensing, Page 10)
Waiting Room – waiting to become German - was a project presented in the Project Area Migration at the International Women´s University in Hannover in the year 2000.
An installation on the issue of citizenship in the German context.
During the project group´s research, our meetings with people engaged in the work with migrant´s issues, during visits of several NGOs and migrant´s groups, we realised the big publicity made for the new regulations on naturalisation in Germany.
You could find information on the changes in Germany´s citizenship and naturalisation laws pretty much everywhere.
We wanted to find out if the changes in law really made it so much easier to become a German - as advertised. So two and two of us, a German and a "foreigner" respectively, went to the "Ordnungsamt", the Municipal Public Affairs Office, to get information on the procedure of "becoming a German".
Interestingly enough, both the women asking for information were confronted with similar answers and suggestions: marriage would make the whole process easier, besides, the non-German-speaking woman was reminded of the importance of knowing German in order to be integrated in Germany.
In our installation Waiting Room - waiting to become German - we visualised the situation of waiting in front of the officer´s door, who would be in charge of someone`s case.
Everyone who ever deals with bureaucracy experiences going through a waiting room. It is the fact of being dependent on an officer´s decision.
Headphones are placed on the chairs in the waiting room, where you hear the noises and sounds in the waiting room, mixed with short comments by the officers. Additionally, there is a little board with application forms on naturalisation, and a leaflet with information on the new regulations on naturalisation as of January 1, 2000. We designed this leaflet like the ones we could find in all the different offices and NGOs, added with recent racist and xenophobic statements of German politicians.
Farida Heuck, Boundary Crossings, Page 31 f
in Remote Sensing, Laboratories of Art and Science
eds: Leonie Baumann, Adrienne Göhler, Barbara Loreck
Vice Versa, Berlin 2002