„livingrooms“ - June 2020
What connects us in this time?
Exactly, our home - in times of Covid-19 we inevitably spent many hours at home. Even though we had no choice, we were able to rest a little. For me, the living room is the metaphor for a cosy home. In „livingrooms“ I portray various people in their living rooms on their seating furniture. Finding peace, living together, relaxing or even arguing - all this we do within our home. For this work I have searched within Hanover and the surrounding area and sometimes rang the doorbell of strangers. I was often refused but sometimes I was also refused entry. Some people told me their life story.
Within the small village „Sorsum“I met Klaus. I rang his doorbell because I noticed his light-flooded and bauhaus-imposing house. Klaus is a doctor and he had a very neat and minimalistically furnished livingroom.
This is Kefah he came 17 years ago from Iraq to Germany, since then he lives in the same multi-family house in Hannover where my best friend lives. Kefah owned two optician branches in Iraq, but due to the complicated situation he was forced to go to war, he was a soldier for eight years. But he survived this time, Kefah lost his cars and his prosperity, but he lives here very happily with his wife and children, who are living in another apartment due to lack of space. Now he has a jewelry shop, his German citizenship, and a new nickname: Amir. His son wants to become a soldier, he has already talked to generals for this purpose - Amir doesn‘t know why his son wants to go to war.
In the driveway of an ordinary residential area in Hannover there was a colourful bus with the inscription "Murmiland".
I went to the front door and rang the bell, Ortwin invited me in. He has been building his own marble run for thirty years, and in his apartment alone there are over sixty marble castles, marble runways and marble pinball machines.
Murmiland is the only mobile marble run exhibition worldwide. But due to the corona pandemic, no public exhibitions can take place at the moment. Murmiland is also Ortwin's self-created fictional world, which he captures in his colourful paintings.
many years ago Steffi was the neighbour of my mother and me. Even then she was a few years older, but now she is 91 years old, but still mentally and mentally fit. Even back then my mother liked to talk to her about special jam recipes, and nothing changed when we visited her in June 2020. This time last year she was still standing on the television tower in Berlin to enjoy the panoramic view of the capital. But she overcame her fear and went up 368 meters, since then she uses the elevator again.
I have known Ibs all my life, at that time he sonicated the whole village with his African drum. Today he lives in Göttingen with his pregnant wife Sassi and his son Basiru. Ibs was born in Gambia, his passion for drumming and his native language Wolof he now passes on to his children. Soon he will be able to start organizing his drum workshops again. Sassi works as a doctor in a small practice, but due to her pregnancy she will take parental leave after the birth.
(my thoughts from 30. june 2020) Jana is my stepmother, she will be 50 years old on second July. On her birthday she wishes to go pedal boating together with the family. She doesn‘t want to toast and celebrate this year - because her husband (my father) Georg has died one year ago at this time because of a burst aneurysm. Since his death she has to pull herself together and cope with the situation. She still lives in the apartment she and my father moved into when they first moved in. She is currently unable to find a suitable alternative on the Göttingen housing market. With her full-time job as an office clerk in an optician‘s shop, she can barely afford the apartment. A new beginning is needed - but her cat Melu will be annoyed as she has just got used to the neighbours‘ garden.
This is Toni and Mizael, they both live together in a small apartment in Davenstedt Hannover. Toni works as a scout for OutdoorHannover and gives guided tours at naturevents. Mizael worked as a cook at Vapiano - but since Vapiano had to fight with the bankruptcy, he was fired. The two like to play video games together and ride their bikes together. Toni also does archery and sword fighting. Mizael Adam is a transgender -female-to-male - person. He first had to achieve a stable housing situation to start his transition. For this you need a psychologist, psychiatrist and endocrinologist and a lot of patience and nerves, because the health insurance companies need long processing times. Without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, you cannot get a transition paid by the health insurance in Germany. However, the diagnosis is easier to get for someone his age, because he is no longer a teenager and therefore his hormone level can be assessed more neutrally.
I was visiting the oldest fraternity in Hannover. The men-fraternity Hansea exists since 1848 according to the motto „One for all - all for one“. When I sat together with the „lads“ at the beer tent set I asked them how they are politically inclined. A resident of the student fraternity told me that there was no fixed political attitude - from NPD to Die Linke everything was there. They also insisted that the clichés are not fulfilled but one thing would be true: they all drink a lot of alcohol. Only two of the residents studied law - so this cliché was not completely confirmed. The picture shows from left to right: Finn, Andre, Joel, Joost, Finn and Lucas. For the most part they are studying teaching, but also mechanical engineering, sports and law. My interview was accompanied musically by rapper Kay One - and they sang:
I got style, I got money
I‘m wearing Louis, Louis, Louis
Your wife takes her clothes off
For a Louis, Louis, Louis
She‘s rich, I like her.
Her Louis, Louis, Louis
We visited my mother‘s babysitting family, the two orchestral musicians Hannes and Lisa are currently unable to pursue their vocation due to the Corona pandemic. The orchestra has been on short-time work since the middle of March and therefore the two are only allowed to play in small formations in old people‘s homes. In the very protected area from a distance in the inner courtyard, the seniors are allowed to listen to the two making music. That‘s all they can do musically right now, that and present some video clips to amuse the people. For that they have a lot of time for their children, but unfortunately my mother in reverse has no side job as a babysitter. Lisa comes from Finland. She misses her home country very much, but due to the corona-conditioned entry conditions she would have to go into quarantine in Finland for two weeks. Hannes comes from Austria, he could return to his home country after the current situation. But from the middle of July it is also possible for Lisa to return, even without isolation measures. The children have made a bet with their parents: If I win a prize with my work, they‘ll get Lego as a gift.
I studied art together with Thea, she lives in Hanover in a student dormitory.Her room is all too similar: studio, kitchen, bedroom and living room - that‘s why her bed is also her sofa. At the moment she is also studying from her room. As for most students*, there are no face-to-face meetings, but meetings via zoom or Google Meet - in virtual video chat rooms. Unfortunately Thea mobile has limitations and needs a wheelchair for long distances. As a child, she had a spinal cord tumor, which caused spasticity in her legs. However, in my experimental design course at the time, we all stuck together and helped her to work as independently as possible, for example on excursions.
Xaver lives in Arpke and works as a freelance artist and tattooist. Next semester he will start studying media design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover. Xaver is a transman, he is currently waiting for the approval for a gender-equivalent hormone therapy. His roommates* are named Ben and Sissi, they didn‘t want to appear on the photo.
I took the train for a few stops and got on it
spontaneously in a place called „Sorsum“.
In this small village five kilometers west of
Hildesheim I rang at various front doors to ask the people who live there if I could photograph them in their living rooms. This is the first picture of my series „
Livingrooms“. Ann-marie is a lawyer at the JVA,
she asked me if I would like to come back later when her husband is also there - to photograph them together on the couch. But I captured the situation as it was when I met her.