Véra (&) Léon

In exchange with DIEresidenz (Drôme, France), the duo véra (&) léon will work in Lichtenberg Studios for three weeks in summer 2022. Their original project was to portray queer people in Lichtenberg. A more difficult goal than expected… which the duo transforms into a poetic diary about queerness, the artistic process and social representations.

The text JOURNAL OF AN IMPOSSIBLE INQUIRY was created as an echo of a visual narrative that questions the ever-changing urbanity of Berlin. The photographs from the Lichtenberg Archive (the archives of the Lichtenberg Museum) used as background create a parallel world to the mental images evoked by the poetic diary – past and present, but also the sensitive and political experiences of the city are put into relation. Better: an oscillation between past and present, but also between the sensitive and political experiences of the city.

The 16 photographic portraits, closely interwoven with the poetic diary, are also concerned with the intimate relationship between the queer body and its environment. These images, co-produced with their models, question the contradictions of our imaginary world: nature and city life, curiosity and voyeurism, otherness and identity.

October, 2022

Caro Krebietke

Even before arriving at the Lichtenberg studios, I see a blue banner on the side of the road:
“Rent your seal!” – Advertising for a well-known car rental company in the city.

The following day I visit the Lichtenberg polar bears in the zoo. Tonja and her four-year-old daughter Hertha.

“The Seal’s Dread – Horror of the Seals,” is what sailors used to call polar bears in earlier times.

When the pack ice still reached to the horizon.

Hertha plays in the murky water with a thick roller made of hard foam. Again and again she turns her toy, bites off small pieces of it, dives underneath. Tonja sits on an artificial rock on the shore and watches her daughter.

A white plastic ice floe rocks lazily in the pool, covered in algae, a piece of fake Arctic for the park visitors.

Polar bears are carnivores, seal eaters, and if need be they will also take fish or anything else, such as berries, honey or the contents of rubbish bins.

Rent a seal – for as little as 3.50 an hour, and all around the roaring traffic, Siegfriedstraße corner Herzbergstraße.

Here seals have four wheels and a lot of loading space.

Lichtenberg, the seal paradise, where the predator turns a plastic roller and sweats in the summer sun.

August, 2022