10th German-Soviet Artists' Ball in the Prater
© Harald Hauswald/OSTKREUZ

10th German-Soviet Artists’ Ball in the Prater, 1987 © Harald Hauswald/OSTKREUZ


What remains of the ‘friendship between peoples’?

11:00 AM

Stadtwerkstatt, entrance next to nGbK
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 11
10178 Berlin
1st floor, barrier-free access via escalator and lift

With German-English simultaneous translation and an artistic lunch performance ‘Plates of Unity’ by HakkaMoon.

The accompanying film program “Diaries of the Common”, curated by Olexii Kuchanskyi, will be shown in the nGbK’s event space from 11 am–7 pm. The screening of Henrike Naumann / SI_Process ‚Breathe‘ with a subsequent conversation between Henrike Naumann and Vasyl Cherepanyn will also take place in the nGbK event room from 7 pm–8 pm.

Due to the limited number of places, we kindly ask you to register at info@pratergalerie.de by 30 May 2024.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, many media outlets in Germany have alluded to the past image of friendship between the two nations in contrast to today’s enmity. Hardly a private conversation takes place between those who grew up under socialism – and with the ideology of friendship between nations – without reflecting on the former solidarity between the ‘peoples of the Soviet Union.’ Friendship is an important term with a complex history of relations. But what does it mean when applied to entire nations? What characterized these kinds of friendships, which involved emancipatory and conciliatory aspects on the one hand, but also hierarchical and even colonial gestures on the other?

After the Second World War, ‘friendship between peoples’ became a central propaganda tool in socialist countries beyond the Soviet Union. As ideological and dishonest as the term may be, it was also lived out to some extent. Under the slogan of ‘friendship between peoples’ or ‘friendship and brotherhood’, real encounters and friendships were fostered, not between peoples, but people. Cultural exchanges took place that were beneficial for both parties. However, this does not appear to have produced a stable friendship between peoples. When the era of socialism came to an end, a seemingly endless series of ethnic and national wars began, which continue today.

What remains of the ‘friendship between peoples?’ is a symposium that focuses on the idea of friendship and brotherhood in (post-)socialist contexts. It focuses on the term itself and its real-life expression, seen from a historical, decolonial and art-historical perspective. It offers the chance to reflect on how artistic political imaginations, including feminist and queer visions, have expanded the idea of friendship to form new ties and communities, such as notions of sisterhood, communities of care or chosen families.

Speakers: Felix Ackermann, Yevgenia Belorusets, Vika Biran, Olena Oleksandra Chervonik, Taras Gembik, Tereza Hendl, Beáta Hock, Iva Kovač, Kata Krasznahorkai and Bojana Pejić.

The symposium of the Prater Galerie “What remains of the ‘friendship between peoples’?” takes place in the frame of Kyiv Perennial 2024 in Berlin. Kyiv Perennial 2024 is a cooperation between the Visual Culture Research Center, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst and the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), together with Between Bridges and the municipal Prater Galerie. The Kulturstiftung des Bundes is funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media). Prater Galerie is a municipal organisation of the Berlin-Pankow District Council.

Program Stadtwerkstatt

11:00–11:15 Welcoming Address by Lena Prents and Antonina Stebur

11:15–12:15 Keynote Dr. Tereza Hendl: Not Our Brothers Either: From Subjugation to Liberation

12:15–12:30 Break

12:30–14:00 Panel 1, Looking Back: The Socialist Friendship Project – an Imperial Construction or Attempt at Reconciliation?

  • Prof. Dr. Felix Ackermann: Post/national/sozialistische Rituale der Verständigung
  • Dr. Beáta Hock: Communist Europe’s Brotherly Nations across the Globe

14:00–15:00 – Artistic Lunch-Performance “Plates of Unity” by HakkaMoon

15:00–16:30 Panel 2: Construction of ‘Friendship between Peoples’ in Visual Culture and Arts

  • Dr. Kata Krasznahorkai: Unsere Schwester, Angela
  • Olena Chervonik, PhD(c): Photography against the Grain of the Soviet ‘Friendship of the Peoples’
  • Bojana Pejic: Sexualized Geographies: Forgetting or Remembering Wartime Rape?

16:30–17:00 Break

17.00–18.30 Panel 3: What’s Next for the ‘Friendship between Peoples’?

A conversation between Yevgenia Belorusets, Taras Gembik, and Iva Kovač, moderated by Vika Biran.

Program nGbK event space

10:00-19:00 Film program “Diaries of the Common”, curated by Olexii Kuchanskyi

19:00-20:00 Screening of Henrike Naumann / SI_Process ‚Breathe‘ with a subsequent conversation between Henrike Naumann and Vasyl Cherepanyn