(Re)Framing East: The Case of Manfred Beier's Pre-Wall Photographs in Post-Wall Germany

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 5:00am to 6:30am
Learning Services Building 346 German Studies Conference Room 512 E. First Street Tucson, AZ 85721

Presenter: Megan Jackson (Doctoral Student, Contemporary Art and Theory)

In Representing East Germany since Unification, Paul Cooke argues that eastern Germany, as the site of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), offers “discursive space for people in both the East and the West to explore their relationship to the unified state.” I push Cooke’s notion of “discursive space” to pinpoint the private, unofficial sphere of the former GDR as a significant locale for discourse on post-unification debates and identity. “(Re)Framing East” is a case study of the personal photographs of Manfred Beier, a German teacher and amateur photographer who lived in the Eastern Bloc and amassed a collection of approximately 60,000 images. Today, the German Federal Archives directs the once-private collection, advertising the work as a testimony to everyday life in East Germany, and the (re)framing of Beier’s photographs in the post-Berlin Wall era ironically fuels what the German Bundestag seeks to subdue: Ostalgie.