bi'bak's research-based exhibitions focus on widely neglected narratives in (Western) Europe in order to generate new perspectives that are crucial to a complex understanding of socio-political and socio-economic contexts worldwide.
After having been displayed in Timisoara, Cluj, Brasov and Iasi, BITTER THINGS - Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families moves to the Goethe-Institut in Bucharest, Romania.
BITTER THINGS – Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families is a research-based exhibition project by bi’bak that explores the impact of labor migration on the notion of motherhood and family from the perspectives of women migrant workers and the children left behind. The installation takes the experiences of transnational families from both the past and present as a point of departure and brings narratives together with objects that play a central role within the families.
Labor migration is worldwide creating new models of the transnational family, which despite geographical distances strives to maintain contact between the separated family members. In the time of the recruitment agreements in the 1960s, many parents were forced to leave their children behind since working hours were too demanding to make childcare on the side possible. Today it is predominantly migrant workers from Eastern Europe, who have to leave their families to earn a living in wealthier countries. Turkey, as a former country of emigration, has in turn become a destination for many workers, especially in the care sector, from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus or the Central Asian region.
But how is the relationship between parents and children to be redefined whenever gifts and material support take the place of shared experience? When physical closeness has to take second place to communication programs like Skype and WhatsApp? How does this changing family landscape impact children and their parents? BITTER THINGS retraces positions on this topic from the 1960s right up to present-day perspectives.
Besides the exhibitions, a publication has been released which includes academic and literary contributions, interviews, songs, and photos examining the topic from interdisciplinary perspectives. Order your copy here. A booklet with selected texts in German and photographs of the exhibition can be downloaded here.
In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Bukarest