Metopia, video, colour, 14 min, Germany & Czech Republic, 2009
a collaboration with Miriam Visaczki
The video projection "Metopia" concerns family history and the reception of a place of origin.
In Greek temple architecture the square relief plates between columns and the frieze are called metopes. Metopes are separated, single tableaux mostly depicting scenes from a wider context.
The video "Metopia" shows a selection of metopes by Verner V. Visaczki. In his metopes he has been archiving and illustrating personal encounters, birthdays, daily politics or the total sum of days he has been alive into a raster of 7 by 7 squares thereby creating a comprehensive graphical collection which ranges from birthday card designs, word plays in Latin, English and German as well as diary entries.
We selected individual images from this self-contained visual language and divided these into eight chapters of autobiographic sites: POBEZOVICE, TANVALD, SVITÁVKA, PRAG (Czech Reptublic), VALBERT, WALDMüNCHEN (Germany), LONDON (England) and KOLOMYIA (Ukraine).
The starting point of Metopia's narration is Pobezovice. The history of this Czech town close to the German border is marked by migration, the deprivation of rights, extinction and the exchange of populations. Miriam Visaczki's and my family's history are both linked geographically to the history of Pobezovice. In Metopia we have brought these connections together by linking our individual family histories.
Part of my family are originally from Galicia (today the West Ukraine) and had to flee due to pogroms during World War I and emigrated to England. Miriam Visaczki's ancestors, a Sudeten German family that collaborated with the system under the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, were driven out of the country at the end of World War II.