Kornspeicher and Inspektorhaus
at Novalis-Museum Wiederstedt

Golden Tone

DE 2021
Schäfergasse 6 Kornspeicher 06456 Arnstein, OT Wiederstedt

From the Central German mining region to Brazil – and back. Minas Gerais, the mining region of Brazil, was and is characterized by multiple immigration waves. At the beginning of the 19th century, for example, the provincial government there launched a large campaign to recruit German miners. Many of those who emigrated to Minas Gerais came from the Harz region. They brought with them the knowledge of breeding and the use of canaries as a warning tool against carbon monoxide in underground mining. Since then, keeping canaries has become a widespread local tradition in Brazil. In the mines, German workers toiled hand in hand with people who had been forcibly brought there as slaves from African countries. People from numerous world regions and cultures also mingled above ground. Barbara Marcel, whose paternal ancestors lived in Minas Gerais, follows in her artistic work the traces of border crossings and mixtures – between people of different origins and genders, humans and animals, culture and nature, animate and so-called inanimate nature. The unifying element of the video installation Golden Tone, which she adapted for exhibiting in the granary as part of My Precious, is the breeding and spreading of the singing canary Harzer Roller. It is about underground and aboveground landscapes, history and myths, mining, its people and its consequences in Brazil and in the Harz Mountains.