The Adventures of WH

Kapitel 1: Diskriminator

HD-Video, Sound, 27:19 min, 2018

in collaboration with Anne Baumann

Commissioned by HALLE 14, Zenrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig for the exhibition REQUIEM FOR A FAILED STATE

For this exhibition project, both artists have begun to work with Buttendorf's step-grandfather Werner Hartmann (1912-88), who is considered a pioneer of microelectronics in the GDR. From 1961 to 1974, he was head of the Dresden Molecular Electronics Laboratory. Despite this exceptional position, he was systematically shadowed since 1965 due to his lack of party affiliation, and in 1974 he was suspended as director of the Laboratory for Molecular Electronics in Dresden due to espionage accusations. His scientific merits were only recognized again in 1990. The State Security created 49 files for surveillance. At the same time, Hartmann himself created an archive of his memoirs in which he documented personal events and his scientific activities (on semiconductor research at Siemens during the Nazi era, his involvement in the nuclear program in the Soviet Union, and on microelectronics in the GDR).

These contrasting archives are the starting point for the ongoing research project "The adventures of WH".

In "Chapter 1: Discriminator", NL and AB work on the content of WH's memoirs, which he himself entitled "Museum". Various authors and institutions have left comments and traces in the extensive memoirs created by WH. These traces are contemporary updates of the personal memory material and expand the scope of interpretation in dealing with them. They show appreciation and the desire for rehabilitation as well as creeping ambiguity and dementia.

NB and AB are continuing this work in a post gender micro electronic universe, in which they want to take up and overcome the uncertainty that can arise when technology is considered a mystery due to lack of knowledge.

In their research, NB and AB include contemporary witnesses. The exhibition is accompanied by a folder created by Hans W. Becker, a former WH employee. It contains texts written by Hans W. Becker, descriptions and written lectures on the work of WH.