Black Land, Objects

Performing Memory: Performances and Installations at the James-Simon-Galerie and Neues Museum on 21 and 23 July 2022

Panels from de-inking sludge was used as a scenographic objects for performances in the Egyptian galleries in the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany, called ‘Black Land’. The series of performances and installations reference the texts and images found on plant based Papyri ‘papers’ from Elephantine (an island on the Nile). The developed panels were used as a modern metaphor in reference to the alluvium rich sludge found on the banks of the river Nile. This sludge was as vital to the ancient Egyptians as “sustainable materials [are] to the survival of the planet today.”

In collaboration with Zelfo Technology and paper company Leipa, created panels were made as a form of ‘deep recycling’.

Black Land is a series of performances and installations representing an attempt to remember records and artefacts from ancient Egypt and to make the knowledge they store fruitful for our present time. Papyri from Elephantine (an island on the Nile), text fragments and objects of various origins become witnesses and protagonists in equal measure. What stories do the ancient texts tell us? Who is speaking to whom? Who is remembering? Can we collectively remember something for which there is no language, and what do the texts’ knowledge mean today?

“Performing [a] Memory” is an endeavour to draw lines of tradition back into a past that remains largely untapped. Do we share common ground when remembering, while viewing the past from multiple perspectives? What do we understand in Europe today about ancient Egypt? Dismember Remember.

Photos: Inga Aleknavičiūtė / Lutz Knospe