Heimat ist Saudade

The lecture performance „Heimat ist Saudade“ belongs to the practice of Nathalie Fari’s master’s thesis about migration processes. For the Heimatfestival in Potsdam and in collaboration with her former mentor Maren Strack, Nathalie created a loop that was based, on one hand, on a specific room of an old soldier house in Potsdam, and on the other, on the idea of a letter: 

Letter 4: Saudade is Homeland // From: deceased grandpa from East Prussia // To: Nathalie Fari // Date: October 22, 2008, Potsdam, Berlin

My dear grandchild. I have learned a very important thing: the city of my birth is barely larger than a suitcase! That does not strike me as astonishing. I certainly know that besides the large metropolises such as Berlin, New York, São Paulo, there are hundreds of others, some so small and cramped they can barely be seen on the map.

I can also no longer find my city on the map. The one thing I still remember is that it was last seen in 1945 by a Brazilian soldier. At the time, he gave a lecture on his recent impressions at the Potsdam Conference at Cecilienhof. But nobody listened—because of his Prussian uniform. The great people are like that.

Unless I’m mistaken, he will repeat his lecture this year in a house at Lindenstrasse 15, also in Potsdam. You should go there. He will probably wear a different uniform this time. I hope you can get there on time because I need your support—Land of the dark forests and crystal-clear lakes, across broad fields go light miracles. You know how I miss my city. I think about it just about all the time. 

Do you still remember how you recited a poem for me in your garden full of palms? I barely understood it, but it is important for you to send it to the Brazilian soldier. Surely you have stamps left from your valuable collection. Yet I’m afraid he will not exactly understand, but only he has the key. It has already been seventy-one years since I fled my city. It is sad to forget a city. Not everyone has a city.

It is also difficult to bring oneself to travel once more when one only has a decomposing map. Maybe the Brazilian soldier can give you more information during the lecture. He always thought I would be able to handle this constriction. But it’s slowly driving me insane. To only be able to see corners and edges is almost the same as drifting around the world in a container, without finding anything in there, where nobody was anyway: in the homeland. But you could speak to the great people so that they could give me back my old refugee passport. With it I might be able to see my city once more. 

Beside the Letter 4, Nathalie Fari created another three, which she performed during her master work at different locations. The letter 2 "The Unsettled Situation" is also part of the Vilém Flusser Archive

2008/ October

Idea, Concept, Performance: Nathalie Fari // Scenic accompaniment: Maren Strack