How to tell the story of a very old place of confinement and punishment? What happens if all the pictures are wrong or missing and the people long gone? What traces and messages might they have left for us to find? Is it possible now, after such terrible treatment, to offer those confined in the prison a more hospitable welcome? This is the hope. In this lecture, Gordon will discuss The Workhouse: Room 2, a collaboration with Berlin artist Ines Schaber produced for documenta(13), which engages with the history of the former monastery, workhouse, and prison Breitenau.
Over time, Breitenau has confined many persons considered extraneous and disposable, subjecting them to a regime of punishment and “correction.” Consisting of photographs, curtain, text, and audio files, The Workhouse: Room 2 presents glimpses of fugitive knowledge that emerge in and around this prison in order to conjure historical alternatives that could have been taken but were not and to contribute to an ongoing archive of re-memory whose aims are not correction.