Why does the fascination with Nazi ideology keep resurfacing today? How easily is an ideological vision (re)constructed? Why are hateful messages so often disguised as images of hope? Are buildings with violent histories forever contaminated, or can they still serve as living or work spaces? These are some of the questions raised by the video installation Poetry is out of Place.
Following up on his long-term engagement with former extremists and Germany’s fragmentary attempts of denazification, here Jakob Ganslmeier turns his attention to the online world where a large part of today’s radicalisation happens, making use of images, symbolism, appropriation of memes and music. Poetry is out of Place compiles a variety of visual material, with formats ranging from classic documentary, commercial real-estate video, to high-paced video collages interrogating the sources of today’s far-right extremist ideas.
Public Enlightenment can be considered as the central piece of the installation that, essentially, is investigating the perpetrator’s perspective. Its three channels respectively deal with Hollywood’s cliché representation of villains (I), innocent looking fragments from Nazi propaganda (II), and Youtube posts with images ranging from re-enactments of WWII atrocities to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Quran burnings by Norwegian nationalists (III). More meditative pieces such as In the Blue, A New Beginning, and Where Dreams Come Home counter these loud scenes of a youth culture hijacked by present day far-right extremists.
Poetry Is Out of Place was originally developed for, and in response to a former Nazi commander’s house in Falstad, Norway. The project, focusing on the perpetrator’s perspective, was part of Houses of Darkness (2020-2023), a cooperation of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial (DE), Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre (NL), Falstad Centre (NO) and Paradox (NL).