Greetings from Home (Viele Grüße von Zuhause)

Fresh A.I.R. #6 Residency Final Group Exhibition
March 12th – July 31st 2022 @Bülow90, Berlin, Germany
 Our lives are structured by certain signs and symbols, and we depend on being able to decipher them. In order to navigate our way in our everyday lives, we constantly read, construe and interpret. This possibility for orientation is not always available for people who speak a different language or have grown up with other cultural codes. Simultaneously, font designs can evoke a sense of home.
 Typographies always convey a historical and cultural meaning as well. This collaborative work connects migration experiences with letters, typography, and cultural practices. The exhibition is based on conversations with "New Berliners" from Croatia/Iran, USA/South Korea, Libya, Russia, and East/West Berlin regarding their feelings about home and language. In the exhibition area, which appears to be a cozy home-like space, there are writings that reveal contexts that are closely interwoven with the experiences, hopes, and desires of the "Neuberliner". The room is furnished with furniture, home items, and plants found on Berlin streets. In the midst of this coziness are typographic arrangements that are associated with the individual conversation partners. For the accomplished transformation of the individual migration experience into typography, the graphic designer and artist found inspiration in historical textbooks, type designs from all over the world, and signage in public places, as well as in the Berlin Buchstabenmuseum.
In the center is a set dining table. In the middle, a pot with letters–a kind of alphabet soup–invites you to take a bite; the words in Latin and Arabic letters on the plates, such as 'future', 'education', and 'safety' represent the experiences of Osama & Rania. For them, home is linked to the family and the opportunity to eat together at the same table. In Nastia’s part, being at home is related to cleanliness and thus reflected in hand brooms lined up on the wall. The modified brushes form the word 'home' in Russian. Adrian’s statements are graphically captured on used vinyl records that form the term 'vibe' and, in conjunction with the illuminated letter B, can be understood as a characterization of Berlin. John's encryption about his abstract enough circumstances appears in a central letter sculpture of Korean characters forming the words 'hate' and 'love' made of styrofoam hanging from the ceiling. Dagmar's descriptions of life between East and West Berlin are represented by a row of books colored in chrome gold. On the book spines, the hand-lettered phrase 'Ich bin Berliner' (I am a Berliner), which evokes many associations, can be read in German Blackletter. The letter style is a reference to the one used in public places around Berlin, for example on several signs on Berlin's S-Bahn. The national typographical classification of Gothic script can be found, among others, in Goethe, who recognized its form as comparable to the Gothic style in architecture and as a “revelation of the German mind”.
The mural, titled “Greetings from home”, is inspired by American vintage postcards from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, one of the best-known printers of which was the German-born printer Curt Teich, who migrated to the USA in 1895 and introduced there the practice of the“greetings from the region” postcards from German-speaking Europe. In the mural, the spatially designed term ‘Home’ dominates the Berlin skyline. The large letters contain illustrations of objects, such as books, records, and potted plants, which are all a part of the installation and represent Söderholm’s participants’ statements about being at home. By turning holiday postcards into postcards from home, Söderholm draws attention to the process and will to create—or having to create—a new home on a migratory basis. Overall, her room shows the connections between domesticity and estrangement as well as certain symbols of home and material objects.
The project was realized with the help of the following people, many thanks to: Nastia Eliseeva & Tarek Aly, Dagmar Kautz, Adrian Bijan Körbler, John Seung-Hwan Lee, Osama & Rania, Marta Bogdanska, Žiga Gerbec, Andreas Langfeld, Maria Pichel, Friederike Macher, Hanna Salomaa & Timur Chulinin, Anna Piera da Silvestra, Ludivine Thomas Andersson & Benny Andersson and Lennart Volbert. Text by Dr Silke Förschler. Photos by Victoria Tomaschko.
Watch the videos above and read more about the project here.