REPEATING THE ARCHIVE, niemals geht man so ganz

A project curated by Lieke Wouters

The multimedia work of Eva Olthof (*1983) is characterized by an interest in history and memory, for which she uses historical images.

With Repeating the Archive she made a new installation, using the ‘Traditionsraum’ of the Schill-Kazerne in Wesel as a starting point.

On the one hand, this non-public ‘Traditionsraum’ on NATO property is a kind of club house. On the other hand it is a personal archive, brought together by the veterans of Raketenartilleriebataillon 150. From 1965 until 1989, this bataillon was responsible for nuclear missiles, placed on the base by the American army. While the Americans were in charge of these missiles, Raketenartilleriebataillon 150 were responsible for maintenance and transport of the nuclear missiles. In retrospect, the main task of the bataillon was simulating defence in case of a possible nuclear attack from the east.

Today, the veterans honour their time in the bataillon in the ‘Traditionsraum’. In this unique archive, they collected the documents and objects of working together for twenty years to protect the west.

An archive gives history a context, and helps us to remember. However, the ‘Traditionsraum’ is a different than common archives. Its a treasury, where every object and document is of the same value and where categorizing is minimal. Photos of exercises with rockets are as important as sport prizes and the detailed models are as meaningful as the yellow press cuttings. This makes the veterans’ archive a monument for the memory of their time in Raketenartilleriebataillon 150.

The documentary and anecdotical details of the ‘Traditionsraum’ make a local and personal history of the Cold War, a period which was of course characterized by its threatening nature world wide.

In Repeating the archive, Eva Olthof takes the ‘Traditionsraum’ out of the non-public army base and puts it in a public shop in the centre of Wesel. Here, the forgotten history of Raketenartilleriebataillon 150 will be placed in a topical context, to be analysed and interpreted again.

May 2010
See also Im Traditionsraum II

centre of Wesel Germany