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Round Table

From a room, voices were heard speaking in tongues. It was as if a conversation was taking place. Sometimes only one voice was heard, sometimes all the voices simultaneously, and in between silence reigned. Upon entering the room one saw a large table surrounded by chairs. The room was dimly lit. The table was covered with a thin white tablecloth; there were coffee cups and ashtrays on top of it and in front of each chair there were family photographs. Through the thin tablecloth pictures could be seen on three video-screens, which were encased in the table. Three screens depicted life-size hands leafing through individual photographs. The voices emanated from a small loudspeaker that was encased in the middle of the table.

As an art student in Berlin I visited acquaintances, who were foreigners in spite of their residence. They showed me photographs they had brought from their home country. They spoke in their mother tongue, which some of them no longer master completely. Their stories turned out to have nostalgic overtones and I experienced a sense of sorrow over the loss of home and friends. I recorded the conversation and videotaped the hands that browsed through the photographs.

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