Reading Group Liebe Lony
Reading group, varying duration, 2018
This open format is built around a collection of letters written by my great-grandfather to his wife and daughter during World War II. A socialist and already considered a reservist, he had to enroll against his convictions in late 1940 as a radio operator for the Luftwaffe. The correspondence is composed by more than fifty letters and thirty postcards and spans from early 1941 until a few weeks before the end of the war, crossing a great number of countries (France, Germany, Poland, USSR, Finland, Austria...). The reading group methodology responds to the desire to no longer consider these documents exclusively as an object of personal study, but rather as a vehicle for discussing collectively the way to approach or make use of this kind of uneasy documents nowadays. By providing private letters with a multiplicity of voices, the format exposes the writings to the interpretation, critical gaze and affects of others. Over the course of the letters, it confronts us with the difficulty to frame a person's words and opinions under ideological repression and in midst of such a traumatizing event. That discomfort and the need to discuss as a group what can be read between the lines gives rise to a shared affectedness that goes beyond judgment and brings us to think about the relation between authority, subjection and subject formation.
The objective is to go through the entire correspondence over the course of various sessions in different countries and with intergenerational participants. In that perspective, the project is also based on a translation work that aims at opening up the archive to different geographical perspectives.
Views of the event at L'Estruch, Sabadell, ES (2018), Facultat de Belles Arts, Barcelona (2018) and One Gee In Fog, Geneva (2019). Photos by Ikram Bouloum Sakkali, myself and Camilla Paolino.