Past Present Tense – Examining Racism in Germany

photo: DryHundredFear

When is someone truly German? In “Past Present Tense,” filmmaker Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo creates a discourse on racism that provokes us to examine the question of German identity and its relationship to racism of the past and present. Through the years of social and political transitions, Germany’s identity has been shaped into the contemporary society we know. This film encourages the audience to analyze their perception of class, race and privilege on a national scale, though I couldn’t help but notice how prevalent the issue was in Berlin alone. Through the intimate stories told from the perspectives of Germans of minority descent, I found both solace and frustration in hearing about their experiences and opinions, much of which often go unheard and unseen in Berlin, as topics like racial discrimination may be too fragile for conversation when our society has been working to repress the past. So are we still infatuated with past ideals? Click on to examine the question of racism in contemporary Berlin and see some of the film highlights.

Feeling like a citizen of your land and being accepted as one has very little to do with what your passport, citizenship or birth certificate state. In a city like Berlin, minority races start to experience an unfortunately prevalent judgment when their appearance doesn’t match those of a native citizen, according to society’s ideals. With the third highest number of international migrants worldwide, why is it taking Germany’s inhabitants so long so look past gene pools? To implement multiculturalism and diversity? Could it be that the national mindset has yet to catch up with the level of immigration? In Past Present Tense, through telling interviews that give us insight into the struggle of dealing with identity politics, you will find the subjects’ answers to those questions. Christa’s film, along with the work of 7 other District Studio grant artists including Katharina von Dolffs, Hella Gerlach, and Klara Hobza, will be presented within the framework of International Sculpture day as Satellite Affects and Other Lines of Flight, on display from April 25th 2015 – June 6th 2015 at District Berlin. Don’t miss the opening tonight!

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