Curare, Cure, Curating

TraumaTische GegenWarten is a new format that brings together German-Polish curators, scholars, art and culture professionals for international co-working. Here we use our expertise to work on a topic that has shaped German-Polish relations both historically and in a highly topical way:

Traumatic experiences and a long and at the same time fragile relationship. We see in our everyday life that old and new experiences meet and fall back on us. Traumas and fragile relationships have to be looked after and cared for: to be handled with care.

Past and new traumas must be taken care of in the present, so that they do not create suffering and endanger relationships in future generations. We do not want to wait: GegenWarten – meaning both contemporalities and against waiting. But we do not cure with the means of medicine. We cure with art. “Care” as in “curating” goes back to Latin curare: to take care of, to nurture, to heal.

At a table in the Oder region, we have begun to develop content and curatorial concepts dedicated to this complex phenomenon. Our aim is to continue to put our concerns on the table. To set more tables. To take a seat, take up space together. To set out together. TraumaTische gegen Warten – Trauma Tables vs. Waiting.

Towards Careful Activism

The traumas that followed the German attack against Poland in 1939 are old, but they continue to affect children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. Through the present war, flight and the consequences of the pandemic, new traumas are increasingly being added. We perceive how they are condensing at the German-Polish border.

As “co-workers” we travel on routes that currently promise safety to women and children fleeing Ukraine. These are also the same routes that have been used by care-workers for many years. They often have to leave their families behind without the necessary caring in order to work in care for other people. Similar to them, we observe everyday situations and reflect on how the economies we are part of prosper on the one hand, and create precarious living conditions on the other. Not just for humans. The habitats of animals, fungi and plants are acutely endangered. Across border[s]. The knowledge and energy that result from our movements and tangencies, we must not only bring forward, but put into action. In a curative manner.
Exchange programs and German-Polish dialogues strove for rapprochement and reconciliation between the two countries. They have achieved a great deal. But transnational perspectives and, above all, the perspectives of individuals have not been in the foreground so far. What is missing is the careful handling of biographical breaks and burdens, the care of deep wounds and an eye for what moves today.
We urgently need a new understanding of care and careful relations in order to protect and preserve our common livelihoods. We need relations full of care. We need a careful activism namely…
participants of the workshop in Neudorf oct. 7-9, 2022

Here and Now –
Call for Co-Workers

Pains and injuries are not easy to heal. Especially when they are present for generations. We make the experience though that they do not separate us from each other, but connect us.

We do not want to force ourselves into bi-national formats. For we do not face each other as representatives of two countries, but are aware of our interwoven stories that span the river Oder.
So we direct our attention to what touches us directly, where we touch each other. We address what we recognize as acute and threatened. And we share and expand our expertise with each other.
In our blog, we collect what connects and expands us and the subject area. It is our common table – TraumaTisch – look inside and send us your hints, ideas, project outlines, events. Here and now – GegenWarten.


We thank the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe for its financial support


The Oder Partnership – A joint initiative of German and Polish regions