Audiovisual Micro-Interventions for TRIBUNAL Unraveling the NSU Complex and beyond
How can we change the field of the visible so that racist structures can be called out? How can (post)migrant realities and perspectives become visible and audible loudly and clearly?
From May 17 to 21, 2017 the TRIBUNAL Unraveling the NSU Complex took place in Cologne-Mülheim. The Tribunal is dedicated to the many open questions surrounding the NSU Complex, aiming at indicting institutional and everyday racism in Germany. Its prime focus is the situated knowledge gained from immigrant people targeted by Nazi terror. This knowledge must become visible and audible clearly and loudly.
The term ‘NSU Complex’ seeks to describe the interdependence of Nazi terror, racism, and state involvement. Between 1999 and 2007 nine immigrants, all of them small businessmen, and one police officer were murdered in Germany. In three bomb attacks—including one at a shopping street in Cologne marked as an immigrant space—numerous people were seriously wounded. The facts of these cases remained unexplained until the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) exposed itself in 2011 and admitted to the crimes. To this day the series of murders and attacks has not been completely clarified. There are still open questions related to, for instance, the right-wing radical environment around the NSU, as well as to the role of the German domestic secret service (the ‘Verfassungsschutz’), which had numerous informants in the perpetrators’ world.
What has become clear, however, is how deeply racism is entrenched in German society. We see this very strongly in the willful ignorance of the police and security organs. For many years they have consistently investigated in wrong directions, allegedly failing to recognize racism as a motivation for the crimes. And they are still downplaying its centrality even now.
SPOTS are short audiovisual interventions into various facets of the NSU Complex. Some of them are meant to mobilize for the Tribunal. All of them address the blind spots in the process of working through the NSU Complex. They throw spotlights on the racist circumstances that make right-wing networks and their crimes possible in the first place. SPOTS regard aesthetics as political action. These aesthetics counter the dominant visual politics and their visual fixation on the perpetrators, and the media’s disinformation about the NSU complex. They reverse visibilities, represent gestures of resistance, formulate questions and accusations. And in doing so they look to initiate a wider debate in society.
SPOTS will be shown individually, in groups, and in complex series at various sites in Germany and beyond starting in spring 2017. They will be smuggled into commercial breaks, will run as full-evening programs in cinemas, will be disseminated on the internet, will join together as installations in exhibition spaces, or will contribute to the content of various events.