Revolt of the Giants - recited by prospective Germans

Part 2 of Monument to Another Man’s Fatherland

16mm film, 26 min., sound, 2008


Motivated by rising nationalism and in response to integration lagging behind, many European countries have recently introduced a proficiency integration exam. Only after passing this exam can applicants obtain their papers for migration. This prepares new migrants for the difficult task of learning the language and culture of their new fatherland, in their country of origin.

While on residency with Platform Garanti, we asked prospective Germans, who were preparing themselves for the integration exam and still knew only very basic German vocabulary, to read out loud a German art historical description of the myth sculpted on the Pergamon Altar. This monument was built in present-day Turkey around 200BC but travelled ahead of them to Germany in the 19th century. In front of our 16mm camera, and whilst grappling with difficult pronunciation and terms that are not taught in the course (such as serpent's leg) the aspirant migrants describe each of the scenes of the sculptural battlefield in their fledgling German.

Commissioned and co-produced by Project Arts Center, Dublin. Supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. Thanks to Arnout Killian (sound), Platform Garanti and Goethe Institute Istanbul.

review Artforum by Maeve Connolly

review Frieze by Aoife Rosenmeyer