People have encounters with one another every day all over the world. Sometimes they are fleeting, sometimes more intimate and sometimes they are the beginning of long-lasting relationships. The pandemic has limited such encounters as well as physical contact between people. A hug or even a handshake seems almost unthinkable. But our longing for it grows.
The “Museum of Embraces and Encounters” was launched as a continuation of the online video project “Time to Listen”. It gathers many stories by artists from places like Norway, Israel, Taiwan and Nairobi. The stories focus on encounters and embraces that left an indelible impression on the narrators. Israeli writer and screenwriter Etgar Keret tells of incomprehensible hugs during a book signing on his book tour in Mexico. German-Iranian television journalist Isabel Schayani describes her experiences during her reporting after the fire in the Moria refugee camp where she met a desperate family. The videos at times take the form of performances, at times readings, mostly storytelling.
You can watch the whole series of “Museum of Embraces and Encounters” here.
“The Museum of Embraces and Encounters” was initiated by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with radioeins at Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) and under the curatorial direction of literary mediator Thomas Böhm in April 2020 in response to pandemic-related isolation and the associated outpouring of news about crisis situations.
Picture credits: “Museum of Embraces and Encounters” | Illustration (detail): Tobias Schrank © Goethe-Institut