The Soloist - An Ethnographic Gaze on Rememberence and Forgiveness

"And I already said, that's so far back, isn't it? And it's so faded in my memory, yes? Now it's suddenly [...] all back again. Somehow strange."

A film about the usage of historical archives for understanding emotional changes over time and the duty of remembrance across generations – “The Soloist” conveys ethnographic field research about the perception of one individual’s lifetime. At the heart of this film and research study is a professional taxi driver, hobby writer, gardener, fan of Ireland and former GDR prisoner, who has spent ten years behind bars in Bautzen II. While focusing on the latter, the film tries to portray the different emotional stages in the life of the protagonist – André Baganz.

At the symposium, I would like to share examples taken from my own research with historical (film) footage and other archival documents. Parallel to that, I am going to focus on the authorial legitimacy of my work as a young anthropology student.

Johann Olenitsch

Johann Olenitsch was born in Moscow on February 9th, 2000. Two and a half years later, Johann’s family moved to Germany, where he has been living since then. From 2006 to 2019, Johann went to school in Bautzen and spent two years abroad; one in Portland, USA from 2016 to 2017, as well as 2019 to 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. After the pandemic started, Johann came back to Germany and began studying social and cultural anthropology in Hamburg. During Johann’s education, he has always had a high appreciation for films. That is why Johann chose to deepen his knowledge about visual anthropology and shoot his first short documentary - “Der Soloist”.

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