I Yawn Because You Yawn: Intercorporeal Art as Political Witnessing

First-hand spoken words witness by Ulla (b. 1939 Königsaue, Germany), interviewed by her granddaughter Pauline Warneboldt and the artist mother Shuhra Shaban (b. 1945 Nablus, Palestine); 20 minutes silent video of moving images from 1948 Germany, titled, The Magic Hands (below), and; off-key piano, titled, Teach me to Play 1948.

This experience was designed for the Global Social Witnessing Conference.lab, Germany 2021. It consisted of a collective experience of seeing, listening, writing and drawing for around 90 minutes, creating tactile and temporal evidence of senses. Gaining skills to hone in our collective consciousness, the act of individual recognition as presence, being here and now may help us to acknowledge our intercorporeality. ‘I yawn/scream because you yawn/scream’.

I began to approach this project as a 1948 therapy session with an audience in Germany after I was asked by an organizer: “How can you also hold the perspective of Israel in your work? Especially in Germany,  it is important to also bring in the perspective of Israel.” I include this loaded question within the video collection created for a global witnessing.

Through acts of recognition of other presences and existences, explaining archives, memories and a-tonal music from a specific year (1948), we explore the journey to remember and hold on to those histories. Through a global and social-distanced contagious yawn, my question is how might we project that year from a Palestinian perspective onto the German landscape?


Using Format