Many Syrians find places in Berlin that remind them of Damascus. Place for place, memory for memory, the city maps of Damascus and Berlin blend into one another.
This phenomena inspired Berlin-based Syrian author Dima Albitar Kalaji to create an experiment: Together with Kurdish-Syrian author Widad Nabi and Berlin authors Svenja Leiber and Annett Gröschner, she explored this doubled cartography in literary essayist form. Along the way they visited selected locations such as the Stasi Museum in Lichtenberg. In collaboration with Syrian filmmaker and photographer Guevara Namer, Syrian artist Khaled Barakeh created artworks for this project that make the superimposition of these locations tangible visually.
The Berliner Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau and Zeit Online have published essays by these authors.
„Eine Berlinerin in Damaskus: Blendung und Überblendung“ (A Berlin Woman in Damascus: Blending and Fading) by Svenja Leiber
(Published in the Frankfurter Rundschau and Berliner Zeitung newspapers on September 5th 2019)
„Berlin, die tröstende Stadt“ (Berlin, the Comforting City) by Widad Nabi
(Published in “10 nach 8” on Zeit Online on September 6th 2019)
„Stadtkarte der Gerüche“ (City Map of Sounds) by Dima AlBitar Kalaji
(Published in the culture pages of the Berliner Zeitung newspaper on September 7th 2019)
Mein Damaskuserlebnis (My Experience in Damascus) by Annett Gröschner
(Published in “10 nach 8” on Zeit Online on September 13th 2019)
The articles have been collected here in our online magazine (in German and Arabic)
MAPPING BERLIN / DAMASKUS at the international literature festival berlin
When: September 15th 2019 at 17:00
Where: Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, Dorotheenstr. 12, 10117 Berlin
Part I: Reading
As part of an Arabic/German reading, Dima Albitar Kalaji [Syria/ D], Widad Nabi [Syria/ D], Svenja Leiber [D] and Annett Gröschner [D] presented the texts that were created as part of the project. The reading was hosted by writer Annika Reich. A projection of the artworks by Khaled Barakeh and Guevara Namer accompanied the reading.
Part II: Literary walk
Following the reading, the audience was invited to follow the authors on a literary walk to some of the locations described. At these places selected passages of the texts were read again, and there was the opportunity to engage in conversations with one another.
Eine Veranstaltung von WIR MACHEN DAS / wearedoingit e.V. in Kooperation mit dem internationalen literaturfestival berlin, gefördert durch die Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.