IMPORT EXPORT – Cultural Transfer between India, Germany, Austria

IMPORT EXPORT – Cultural Transfer between India, Germany, Austria

Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V. (Halle/Saale), House of World Cultures (Berlin), Majlis (Mumbai) and DeEgo (Vienna)
Haus der Kulturen
From - Until
11.08.2005 - 14.08.2005
Kröger, Merle

The project Import Export aims to explore the dynamics of mutual perception in the age of globalisation. Which individuals, cultural products, ideologies and consumer goods shape the knowledge of each other - or what is taken for knowledge? India and German-speaking Europe are connected through a long and complex – sometimes even contradictory – history of mutual attributions, images, clichés and phantasms.

For Import Export, we have put up an imaginary screen, which is used by both sides to project their reciprocal perception of the other as well as to reflect self-images and characterises the relationship between the two cultural areas.

Faced with an abundance of associations we have focused on the edges of the disciplines, academic schedules, art exhibitions and economy summits, that are largely underexposed. The choice of topics was lead by the intention to initiate a dialogue between a young generation of artists and scientists – a dialogue that adresses the political dimensions of cultural exchange between metropoles of the North and the South as well as the cultural implications of ecomomic relations and knowledge transfer.

The 26 single projects are all independent works in the form of lectures, film essays, photo exhibitions or performances and can be attributed to the following titles:

Moving People:
deals with the individual, incidential und uncontrollable forms of cultural transfer under the heading of migration and travel.

Moving Concepts:
examines the cirulation of philosophical and political ideas, concepts and theory, between India and German-speaking Europe.

Moving Goods:
is concerned with the strategic forms of import and export of material culture, both from economic and cultural viewpoints – im- and export in the original sense.

The involved artists, academics, filmmakers, journalists and activists of all three countries present their projects in the course of four chapters:
The Bombay Chapter will be openend up from March 25th to 27th, 2005 in the Mohile Parikh Center for Contemporary Culture (MPC3) in Mumbai, the Vienna Chapter from May 19th to 22nd, 2005 at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna and the Berlin Chapter from August 11th to 14th, 2005 at the House of World Cultures in Berlin.

Each chapter consists of the following project modules: A symposium introducing six independent research projects, an exhibition of commissioned photographs and installations and a film series entitled Moving Images containing exemplary historical and contemporary movies concerned with the ideas of Import Export.
As Chapter Four the publication Import Export: Cultural Transfer. India, Germany, Austria (release August 2005) will merge the basic threads and topics of the local events and summarize the results of the research. Three documentary film essays will be produced by the Import Export network. They will be issued on DVD as part of the publication.


Friday, 12.08.2005

10.00 am – 2.00 pm lectures:
- “Limits of Authenticity: Hindutva’s European entanglements”
Speaker: Sumit Sarkar, Professor of History, Delhi
Respondent: Erhard Haubold, journalist, Berlin
- “Multimedia lecture: An outsider’s inside view or an insider’s outside view – changing media perceptions of India 1957-2005"
Speaker: Navina Sundaram, TV correspondent, journalist and filmmaker, Delhi/Hamburg
Respondent: Harun Farocki, filmmaker, Berlin

3.00 pm – 6.00 pm Panel Discussion “The virtual second generation”
excerpts from a research project, talk with founders of “”; Participants: Urmila Goel, Mareile Paske, Navina Khatib and Thomas Steller from Viadrina; Bijon Chatterji, founder and chief editor of, Amit Dasgupta, Indian Embassy, Berlin

Saturday, 13.08.2005

11.00 am – 6.00 pm lectures:
- “Message in a Dabba: How India wards off the threat of globalization”
Speaker: Vinay Choudary, cultural observer, conspiracy theorist and screenwriter
Respondent: Britta Ohm, political scientist, Berlin
- “Star Biz – Multimedia Presentation of a documentary journey through globalized times”
Speakers: Merle Kröger and Dorothee Wenner, Berlin
Respondent: Vinzenz Hediger, film scientist, Ruhr-University, Bochum
- “Civil Society and Development Aid: The Politics of Responsible Engagement” Speaker: Shobha Raghuram, director of the India Regional Office of the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries, Bangalore
Respondent: Susanne Schultz, political scientist, Berlin

Sunday, 14.08.2005

4.00 pm Panel Discussion
“Cross Cultural Networking: Import Export”; Participants: Madhusree Dutta, Bombay; Angelika Fitz, Vienna; Merle Kröger and Dorothee Wenner, Berlin a.o.

August, 11th to 14th 2005
Opening: August 11th, 2005, 6.00 pm

Chosen Bits and Scattered Wholes
The Realities and Everyday lives of German-Indian women of the second generation by Anke Illing, photographer & Sunju Choi, curator, Germany 2005

Many people of Indian origin live in Germany. For many years, the second generation of migrants were considered by others to live between two cultures, not knowing where to belong. If you take a closer look, however, it becomes clear that many of them naturally and confidently relate to India without allowing themselves to be pigeon-holed. They cannot and do not want to deny their migrational back-ground but want to determine the parameters and grade of identification with India themselves. Many of them, therefore, engage with Indian culture, choose and focus on what aspects they’re interested in and discover their country of origin each in their own way. The exhibition is aimed at the German-Indian women of the second generation. What is the structure of their everyday life? Is their life different from that of ‘normal’ Germans?

The exhibition presents eight women living in Berlin and Cologne. They are of different age, have different jobs and interests. They have diverse realities. What they have in common is a relationship with India, which they constantly seek and find – in different ways
Sun-ju Choi works as journalist and screenplay-editor. Since October 2003 she has been working for DOMiT (Center for documentation of the migration from Turkey) as a research associate on a freelance basis in the field of Korean migration in Germany. She is member of Kanak Attak and Kanak TV.

Anke Illing was born in 1971 in Germany. She studied hotel business management. Since 2002 she has been working as freelance photographer in Berlin. In her work she focuses on portraits, people and travelling. Over the last years she published several features on social and cultural issues.

August, 11th to 14th 2005

India and India as it is presented in film, Europe and Europe as it comes across in film: the Import Export film programme is set between these worlds, each influencing the other in the form of the real and the imaginary since the beginning of the 20th Century. As scenery, location and place of longing, India - in contrast to many other countries of the world - has inspired Western filmmakers from the time of the silent movies. Orientalist film images have shaped the collective psyche and perception of India in Europe. In Indian cinema, in turn, “the West“ has long played an important part: as romantic refuge for lovers, as cultural origin for moral decline and as source of inspiration for remakes à la Bollywood. The programme shows a choice of classics, cult films and an archeological excavation in the form of documentary film. In addition, the three film-essays produced in the context of Import Export will be premiered: “From here to here” by Madhusree Dutta and Philip Scheffner, “The Animal next to us” by Michael Woergoetter and “Star Biz” by Merle Kroeger and Dorothee Wenner.

Each film will be preceded by an introduction drawing on special aspects of mutual perception.

The programme has been curated by Dorothee Wenner, Merle Kroeger and Hansa Thapliyal.

Thursday, 11.08.2005
10.00 pm “Star Biz”
by Merle Kroeger and Dorothee Wenner, Germany 2005, 85 min
Discussion with the filmmakers

Friday, 12.08.2005
8.00 pm “The Eschnapur Heritage”
film lecture by Meenakshi Shedde, Bombay and Vinzenz Hediger, Berlin

Saturday, 13.08.2005
7.00 pm “Wanted! A Patriot”
by Navina Sundaram, Germany 1971, English subtitles, 44 min
Discussion with the filmmaker
“From Here to Here”
by Madhusree Dutta and Philip Scheffner, India / Germany 2005, Video, 45 min
Discussion with the filmmakers
10.00 pm “Nayakan / The Hero”
by Mani Ratnam, India 1987, 35mm, Hindi / Tamil with English subtitles, 155 min

Sunday, 14.08.2005
2.00 pm “Prem Sanyas / Die Leuchte Asiens”
by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai, India/Germany 1925, 35 mm, silent, b&w, English intertitles, 96 min
6.00 pm “The Animal Next to us”
by Michael Woergoetter, India/Europe 2005, 70 min
Discussion with the filmmaker
8.00 pm “Purab aur Pachhim / East and West”
by Manoj Kumar, India 1970, b/w + col, original format: 35mm (due to non-existence of a subtitled filmprint, this film will be shown as english subtitled DVD), 187 min

Thursday, 11.08.2005
8.00 pm: "Import Export: Cultural transfer between India and Germany, Austria"
Approx. 250 pages with DVD and booklet with German translation
Editors: Alexandra Schneider, Angelika Fitz, Merle Kröger and Dorothee Wenner

Which individuals, cultural products, ideologies and consumer articles shape the knowledge we have of each other – or believe we have? Import Export describes the dynamics of mutual awareness between India and German-speaking Europe from different perspectives.

These regions are connected through a long and complex history of two-way projections, attributions and phantasms. The book collects approx. 25 contributions by renowned authors from the fields of culture, science and politics, drawing the lines into the present.
Topics include how Sigmund Freud was perceived in India, the relation between the Bollywood film industry and Indian tourism to Europe, as well as a reflection on the “Bollywood-effect” from an Indian perspective. Political and cultural analysis range from “Citizenship as Identity in Post 9/11Nations”, the demands of Western funders on NGOs in India, the virtual identities formed by second-generation Indian Germans, “Global Marketing Strategys and Cultural Identity”, the historical aspect of German orientalism mirrored in translations of Indian philosophy, up to the representation of India on German TV over the last 40 years.

The elaborately illustrated publication accompanies a multimedia project of the same name, which will take place in Germany in the House of World Cultures in Berlin. A DVD with the three documentary film essays produced in the course of Import Export is part of the book.

Nancy Adajania, Flavia Agnes, Chetan Bhatt, Sun-ju Choi / Anke Illing, Vinay
Choudary, Helmut Dietrich, Madhusree Dutta, Madhusree Dutta / Philip
Scheffner, Angelika Fitz, Axel Fussi, Nayantara Ghosh / Bernhard Fuchs, Urmila Goel, Christiane Hartnack, Vinzenz Hediger / Meenakshi Shedde, Ranjit Hoskote, Anuradha Kapur, Merle Kröger / Dorothee Wenner, Shantanu Lodh / Michael Wörgötter, Wolfgang Müller-Funk, Mamta Murthy, Shoba Raghuram, Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Alexandra Schneider, Mishka Sinha, Navina Sundaram, Nicole Wolf, Michael Wörgötter

Contact (announcement)

Haus der Kulturen der Welt / House of World Cultures
project office: Import/Export
c/o pong Kröger Scheffner GbR
Skalitzer Straße 62
D-10997 Berlin
phone & fax: ++49/ (0)30/ 61076098
Merle Kröger:
Dorothee Wenner:
Marcie K. Jost:
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