In late January 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China starts to be reported in Western media.
February 17, 2020
REPUBLIC OF THE OTHER starts the project with ninth-grade students from classes of Hille Winkler and Frederik Kupferschmid at Humboldt-Gymnasium in Berlin. Xenia Fink and Jinny Yu briefly present their work and the project. Students are asked to reflect on the questions “What does Other mean to you?” “In which situation did you consider yourself an Other?” Also, “Is Coronavirus an Other?” Conversations alternate between German and English.
Beginning with the idea that accepting one’s otherness from another’s is a positive quality in a society instead of desiring to maintain the myth of purity or universality, the questions are asked to elicit ways of thinking forward, to imagine a more accepting and pluralistic society. The students’ responses touched on topics of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and social background, but were abstracted into more general notions of otherness.
February 19, 2020
In Hanau, Germany, nine people were killed and five others wounded in a terrorist shooting spree by a far-right extremist targeting two shisha bars.
February 24, 2020
Lengthy discussions in class about Hanau terrorist and racist attack. The shocking nature of the crime and how it was reported in the media, make it difficult to have a dialogue about it, as the inconceivability of the act othered thoughts about everyday xenophobia.
March 2 and 9, 2020
Students complete their work.
March 16, 2020
This is the last day of the project and classes before the closure to prevent Coronavirus from spreading. Lockdown starts in many parts of the Western world and ambient dread and fear of Others set in. It seems inappropriate to think, read, or talk about anything else than Coronavirus. Is all Otherness good?
While students had been back at school since late April, REPUBLIC OF THE OTHER prepares the publication. The implementation of risograph printing unifies different visual languages and notions. On their last day of classes before the summer break, students are handed the publication.