The Poison Cabinet


As part of the exhibition »German Colonialism. Fragments of its History and Present” I installed a “poison cabinet” at the German Historical Museum in Berlin from October 2016 to May 2017. The museum educational station demonstrates to what extent Germany’s identity as a colonial power was formed in and through language. By expressing the racist ideas of colonialism in certain terms, alleged “races” were formed that were ascribed to certain negative qualities. The visitors could find out what these terms are by opening the small “poison boxes” in the drawers. Since language is a form of action, it can also be used to resist. Therefore, the self-designations “Black Germans”, “Afro-Germans” or “Person of Color” were explained at the same time in the accompanying video installation. “The Gift Cabinet” subsequently moved to the Museum Schöneberg where it was on display as part of the »Colonialism Research Workshop« until October 2017.