Living with the Ghosts


Show the full version of this element's decorative background image.

Project Description

In commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the birth of poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff in 2022 and the 175th anniversary of her death in 2023, Burg Hülshoff – Center for Literature has launched a two-year project to examine to what extent Germany’s cultural heritage continues to “haunt” us today. As one of only a handful of female German-language poets of the 19th century, Droste-Hülshoff has secured herself a place in Germany’s literary pantheon, in particular, for her canonical work “Die Judenbuche” (The Jew’s Beech). Contrary to what some might think, ghostly phenomena are by no means negatively depicted in Droste-Hülshoff’s works. In her telling, they penetrate our world and emanate an uncanny feeling as to whether things are askew in reality. How do ownership, privileges, certain stories, rituals and communities arise? In this regard, the project reflects its historic background: How do we comprehend the good and evil spirits that haunt a place which exhibits our national (literary) heritage?

The literature project investigates the haunting, ghostly persistence of this heritage in four modules. Following a “Workshop” at the start of the project, international experts and artists will jointly forge connections that tie the physical realm with the digital experience. These will form the basis of ten (co-)productions in the module “Performance” which will enable audiences to experience the texts through performative means. These will include a performance of the “Judenbuche” by Rimini Protokoll and Daniel Laufer/Max Czollek and several interventions by Nástio Mosquito which are haunted by the spirit of climate change. The project organisers have also commissioned twelve writers from various regions, languages and cultures to write essays on the topic of hauntings. And in the fourth module, a discussion series, Studio Marshmallow will address how people deal with demons in the shape of unresolved traumas.

Through the collaboration with national and international networks and regional communities, the project aims to present Droste-Hülshoff’s traditionally recognised national literary legacy in a larger context. The globally prominent genre of ghost stories can thus serve as a common bond between people of different origins and generations who wish to contemplate the heritage of the future.

Artistic director: Jörg Albrecht
Artists: Thomas Köck, Daniel Laufer, Nástio Mosquito, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Andreas Spechtl, Kinga Tóth, Rimini Protokoll, Studio Marshmallow
Set designer: Minh Duc Pham

Havixbeck museum workshop, Burg Hülshoff, Havixbeck: 18 Mar. 2022 –17 Nov. 2023; discussion series with Studio Marshmallow, Burg Hülshoff, Havixbeck: 25 Mar. 2022 – 22 Sep. 2023; headphone reading: Die Judenbuche, Rüschhaus, Münster: 22–29 Apr. 2022; walk by Rimini Protokoll: Die Judenbuche, Rüschhaus, Münster: 2 Sep. – 2 Oct. 2022; festival with 10 productions: Rüschhaus, Münster, Burg Hülshoff, Havixbeck and other venues and dates: 6–10 Sep. 2023