a black and white photo of a view over the Karpfenteich. The water surface and surrounding trees can be seen. The picture looks like it is scratched and has water stains - like an old paper photo.
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The decolonial audio walk zurückERZÄHLT tells the stories of 106 Black children, women and men at the Karpfenteich in the summer of 1896.

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History leaves traces behind. Some history has no memorials and leaves no visible traces. It exists in the gaps of the archives and people’s minds. It exists in the stories of those who lived through it and shaped it. It is they who leave traces. 

zurückERZÄHLT tells the stories of 106 Black children, women and men at the Karpfenteich in the summer of 1896. They were performers in the first German colonial exhibition as part of the large trade exhibition in Treptower Park. »Recruited« by the imperial government and the colonial authorities in the German colonised regions, they came to Berlin and had to perform in the exhibition maker’s colonial show for the summer there.
However, their lives at the Karpfenteich weren’t just affected by the racist gaze of the audience and the pseudoscientific research of ethnologist Felix von Luschan, but also by the many acts of resistance, big and small. They fought back with humour and collective refusal. They asserted themselves over small and big issues. They left traces behind.

zurückERZÄHLT makes their stories audible and brings them back to the place where it all happened. Our work takes inspiration from the exhibition »zurückGESCHAUT«, continuing the research on the biographies that is collected in the archive there. We ask the question »What if…?« If the stories of the children, women and men from that summer weren’t a gap in the collective memory. They’re reflected in the ripples of the water, they whisper in the leaves of the trees.Listen and look around.

You can find plenty more information on the biographies of the people and the context of the colonial exhibition in the exhibition  »zurückGESCHAUT«. 


You can download the audio file here or simply stream it. Then just put on your earphone and off you go! Start here:
The audio walk begins at the Karpfenteich on the northern side of the lake, that’s the same side as the Soviet War Memorial. There are benches there with an open view over the lake. The statue of the soldier on the memorial will then be behind you. The walk starts from there and that’s where it ends too. The story will lead you once around the lake.
At the start, sit down on a bench or closer to the lake. Start the audio file and listen. You will regularly be given directions to walk in. Because people walk at very different paces, we will regularly identify certain locations, those are the meeting points – for you and the story. Remember these locations and let yourself be led to them by your own pace and the surroundings. The locations are marked on the map.
The audio walk takes place on even paths and does not contain any steps or steep inclines. At one point, we will go down a small path to the water’s edge and the weeping beeches that are there. If this path is too much for you, just stay standing in front of the beech trees with a view of the lake. Then we’ll continue on the larger path. 
A drawn map of the Karpfenteich in Treptower Park. A path leads around it. On the north side the Soviet Memorial is marked and below it "1. starting point". An arrow on the path points to the left, towards the west. On the south side of the lake, places are marked along the path: "2. benches", then with an arrow pointing towards the water "3. clearing". The arrows point back to the path and to "4. hanging beeches" and then "5. bridge". Already almost on the east side of the lake, it says "6. path" and the arrow leads back along the path to the starting point.


In memory of Gaiga Bell, Yuma and Salim, who died here during the colonial exhibition. zurückERZÄHLT is dedicated to them and the survivors of the story.

Text and ideas: Joel Vogel and Vincent Bababoutilabo
Sound: Katharina Pelosi
Dramaturgical consulting: Nora Haakh
Research: Laura Frey, Yacine Riebel, Mihir Sharma and Joel Vogel

With the voices of: Nana 'NAS' Boadum, Serge Fouha, Joy Frempong, Mmakgosi Kgabi, Yasmina Lehmkuhl, Steve Mekoudja

Piano: Olga Reznichenko

Interview with Katharina Oguntoye
Quotes from: Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, 2019.

Production: ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro and studio lärm
Recording und Mixing: studio lärm

Translation: Charlotte Bomy, Florian Constantinides (FR) and Anna Galt (EN)
Photos: Tom Ben Guischard
Graphic: Pudelskern.
Webdesign: zanko

Thanks To:
Simone Dede Ayivi for clarity and enthusiasm, Tahir Della of course and for the right calls at the right time, Betti Hohorst for encouragement and the best ideas, Christian Kopp for answers and contacts, Katharina Oguntoye – for your thoughts and your laughter, Hilaire Djoko, Israel Kaunatjike, Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, Klaus Neumann and Ohini Mawussé Toffa for language skills and support, Celine Barry, Paul Leonard Dziedzic and the Al-Deen siblings for valuable and constructive feedback, Treptow Museum for the exhibition zurückGESCHAUT and supporting our research, Lukas Backs for very good mics, die Lause, the KTS Crew for culinary extras and humour, and everyone who was there at important moments with kind words and actions. 

German version funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
English and French versions funded by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Logo: Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und EuropaLogo: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
In cooperation with ISD e.V., Berlin Postkolonial e.V. and Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City 
zurückERZÄHLT – released September 2020 (DE) and August 2021 (EN and FR)
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