Europe at Home

22. May 2020

In the international art project “Europe at Home", cultural creators from European cities illuminate the current crisis. Photographer Anna-Lena Schotge and author Helene Bukowski have taken a look at Hildesheim’s cultural scene for the project office Hi2025.

A gaping abyss divides the photographs that Anna-Lena Schotge takes. On the one hand, one sees cultural workers in their crammed interiors. For instance, DJ Aaron Pohl behind his turntables in his room in the flatshare, or concert manager William Niese alone in his rehearsal room. On the other side, the empty places of activity of the Hildesheim cultural scene: the Loretta of the Kulturfabrik Löseke under reconstruction, the Thav chairs on the counter, wiped clean.

“Europe at Home" is an international art project initiated by the Portuguese city of Faro. Project partners all over Europe are invited to submit ten photographs and a page of literature. The theme: How do cultural workers experience this moment in history that all of Europe is spending at home.

“It is important to me to show places of people’ s longing," says Anna-Lena Schotge. The 35-year-old was responsible for the design of the first Hildesheim Bid Book in the HAWK team and received international praise for her work. When the call from Faro reached the project office Hi2025, it was obvious to Schotge immediately: “We ought to participate in this! After all, this was an exciting starting question: “What happens when you suddenly have to “mute" your passion?

Helene Bukowski has captured this silence in literature. “What do you see when you look out of your window? House-fronts, a piece of sky, blossoming trees and birds?" The young author studied at the Literature Institute in Hildesheim. Her text explores the abyss between Schotges’ photographs. “No one is moving chairs.  No one is filling the bar.” The only audience left is the own mirror image.

“The art project ‘Europe at Home’ proves that even in difficult times the cultural sector of Hildesheim is very active", emphasizes Max Balzer, Head of Communication of the project office. Within two days, seven cultural workers agreed to have their pictures taken at home. And the cultural institutions also took part. “So we suddenly had more motifs than we could send to Faro," says Balzer with a smile. “The region’s networks are apparently surviving the lockdown unscathed.

Photos and short texts from all participating European cities can be viewed at www.europeathome.eu; the contribution from Hildesheim will be published there on 25 May. All photo motifs from the Hildesheim region and excerpts from the text by Helene Bukowski will be shown at www.facebook.com/hi2025 in the coming weeks.

Short biographies of the artists:

Anna-Lena Schotge, born in 1984 in Hoya, completed an apprenticeship as a photographer and then studied design in Hildesheim. Among other things, she won the “Berliner Type" diploma in 2014 for the design of the book “A City on Photographic Paper" with Natalie Brychcy, as well as gold in 2017 in the young generation of the “Berliner Type" for a part of the master’s thesis “all we see is not all I am". In 2019 Schotge designed the first Bid Book for Hildesheim with a team from the HAWK, whose design received international attention.

Helene Bukowski, born in Berlin in 1993, studied at the Institute of Literature in Hildesheim. She was co-author of the documentary film “Ten Weeks of Summer", which received the Grimme Special Prize for Culture in 2015, co-editor of BELLA triste and part of the artistic direction of PROSANOVA 17 – Festival for Young Literature. In spring 2019 her debut novel “Milchzähne" (Milk Teeth) (Blumenbar/Aufbau Verlag) was published, for which she was nominated for the Mara-Cassens-Prize, the Rauriser Literature Prize and the Lit.cologne Debut Prize, among others.

The photographic concept of Anna-Lena Schotge juxtaposes the artists and their empty performance spaces. Here we see DJ Aaron Pohl behind the turntables in his room …

… and the empty buffo in the Kulturfabrik Löseke, which is currently being rebuilt. Photos: Schotge