Sep 15 – Oct 12 2018
Open between 14:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sun, Mon and Tue)
Location: Archive Kabinett

Opening and Book Launch: Friday, Sep 14 at 19:00

BITTER THINGS is a research-based exhibition project by bi’bak that explores the impact of labor migration on the notion of motherhood from the perspectives of women migrant workers and the children left behind. In their installation, artists Malve Lippmann and Can Sungu take experiences of transnational families from both past and present as a point of departure and bring narratives together with silent objects, which fill the physical distance within the families.

Labor migration is a worldwide phenomenon that challenges traditional family structures and creates transnational family patterns. In order to provide financial and material support for their families, many women are forced to seek employment abroad and leave their children behind. Harsh working conditions for migrants in host countries, coupled with migration laws and policies, make family unification difficult or impossible. Often these children are left in the care of other women in the family back at home such as grandmothers and aunts. Despite the challenges of being a migrant worker and painful experience of separation from their children, transnational mothers strive to transform established motherhood roles to include spatial absence.

Objects and technologies play a vital role in this new definition of motherhood where absence is an inevitable part of it. But, how is the relationship between mother and children to be redefined whenever gifts and material support take the place of this absence? When physical closeness has to take second place to communication programs like Skype and WhatsApp? Bitter Things retraces positions on this topic from the 1960s right up to present day perspectives.

After being exhibited at DEPO Istanbul, BITTER THINGS is now on view at Archive Kabinett in Berlin. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication published by Archive Books, which includes academic and literary contributions, interviews, song texts and images that reveal the diverse experiences transnational mothers and their families go through.

A project by bi’bak in Cooperation with Archive (Berlin), DEPO Istanbul and DOMiD – Documentation Center and Museum about Migration in Germany (Cologne).

Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe
Kindly supported by Goethe Institute Istanbul

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