Plattenstrasse 10

2014

 

HD Film, 90 min

Cities are full of sites embedded with submerged histories obscured by the passing of time. Histories that sometimes hide disquieting memories or dark secrets of the past that once brought into the present moment can provoke a disquieting rupture. A rupture in the understanding of one’s own society, a rupture of innocence, revealing old wounds that need to be acknowledged by contemporary society in order to move forward, to construct new histories and create new understandings of the past that in turn inform our present time. 

 

Dark, forgotten histories such as those of a country like Switzerland, a city like that of Zürich, which although it had no colonies of its own was deeply entangled in colonial imperialism. Colonial histories, histories of racism and a presumed civilized superiority over people deemed ‘Other’ and ‘Exotic’ that have remained unspoken of until the recent past. The history of the Völkerschauen or ‘Human Zoos’ that once took place in this city are only one such example of a dark colonial past that needs to be confronted by our present society in order to provoke an alternative historical awareness. These histories lie latent in sites all over the city waiting to be told, retold, re-examined in order to process the past anew and construct new histories where the past can be liberated and confronted. 

 

Plattenstrasse 10 examines one such dubious history. It takes the form of an experimental essay film, which evolved out of a site-specific lecture performance that was performed on a site in the city of Zürich, Switzerland where some of the first ever Völkerschauen or Human Zoos that occured in that city were once performed. Using an archeological approach and combining a mixture of narrative storytelling, archival based research and critical reflection on the representation of history the film strives urgently to address a neglected trauma in our collective memory.