Caressing the Phantom Limb.
'Heimat' –Progression, Regression, Stagnation?

In the framework of  WHOSE LAND HAVE I LIT ON NOW? Contemplations on the Notions of Hostipitality  and as part of the Long Night of Ideas, SAVVY Contemporary is organizing lectures, spoken-word performances, artistic interventions and screenings as an invitation to reflect, question and challenge the paradox of ‘Heimat‘ and its connotations within Germany, Europe and beyond.

We weep at the sound of the anthem and worship the flag. We descend to the habit of kissing the earth. There is no love more blind than the love of country.

Olu Oguibe

One of the stunning things about the current blatant and worldwide shift to the extreme right is that it has not really provoked a significant wave of agitation within the so-called left, it hasn't substantially called for indignation within the masses and the so-called middle, but it has merely been met with mostly blaming and apologetic justifications. Instead of a mobilization from the left, most parties throughout the spectrum have adopted nationalist, chauvinistic, xenophobic and identitarian concepts and rhetorics propagated by the far right parties, in what one might call a 'rightening' of the political arena. Though the debate about the 'Heimat' in Germany is in no way a new one, it must, today, be considered be seen as either an effort to sooth the sentiments of the right-wing, an effort to cajole right-wing voters or appease the so-called 'besorgte Bürger'.

How do we respond to a rise in right wing popularism and political, social and cultural attitudes that fuel radical nationalist sentiments? How do we, today, understand Germany and Europe’s deep right-wing logic? What is behind the Heimat phenomenon?

'Heimat' could be the sum of our singular beings, cultures, religions and philosophies. 'Heimat' could be more sophisticated than the banalities of blood and soil. 'Heimat' could be inclusive and unifying, and sensitive to the historical, political and economical realities that have made people move forcefully or willingly. Any 'Heimat' that is antithetic to the aforementioned is chasing the wind of a myth of a city, nation or home that belongs to you and your 'kind' exclusively. Any concept of 'Heimat' that doesn't comply with the aforementioned is rather regressive and a mere caressing of a phantom limb.

This reflection will be continued during the INVOCATIONS of the project  WHOSE LAND HAVE I LIT ON NOW? Contemplations on the Notions of Hostipitality, which will take place from 08.–10.06.2018 (see below). 

[Quote in the visual is taken from Olu Oguibe. 1996. ‘Imaginary Homes, Imagined Loyalties: A Brief Reflection on the Uncertainty of Geographies’ in Interzones: A Work in Progresseds. O. Zaya and A. Michelsen, Tabapress, Copenhagen. ]