“There used to be more people.” The sentence from Stephanie Kiwitt’s conversations with inhabitants of Sandersleben could be supplemented by a number of things that have been lost: more shops, more pubs, more work. In short: more life. Like Kiwitt’s conversation partners from the neighboring community of Wiederstedt, countless people in areas that have been turned upside down by the so-called structural change as a result of de-industrialization are affected in the same way. In the regions of the former GDR, it was carried out with particularly great speed and harshness in the early 1990s, and people experienced it as a “huge crash,” as it says elsewhere in Kiwitt’s interview notes. In the last two years, the artist photographed places and landscapes in Saxony-Anhalt. Her resulting series Flächenland [Area State] and fortlaufend [ongoing] show traces of a continuing transformation. For My Precious, she returned to Sandersleben with the intention of asking the residents about their place.
In the resulting work S. Andersleben. Eine Handlung in Gesprächen [S. Living Differently. An Action in Conversations], she displays only one single photograph. It does not show the place or its people, but the stars above them. They are the only constant and reliable thing; if you point the camera at them long enough, you can see the rotation of the Earth. “Der Mensch spricht nicht allein. Auch das Universum spricht. Alles spricht – unendliche Sprachen.“ [The human being does not speak alone. The universe speaks, too. Everything speaks – infinite languages.] One finds this quote by Novalis chiseled on two arch-shaped stone benches in the park at the back of the Inspektorhaus. The polyphonic narratives of the Sandersleben residents are projected as text in Stephanie Kiwitt’s text-image arrangement. On the path between conversation notes and star photography is a door that can be passed through – or bypassed – in multiple ways.