Film, 36 min, DCP, 3:4
German and English
Daphne and Catherine work at the Natural history Museum of Berlin; the former is a taxidermist, the latter is a British writer who came to Berlin to research in the museum’s archive for her new novel. Her interest is an East German expedition from the 1960s, during which six tons of coral reef were violently extracted from the Cuban coast. The corals remain in the museum’s storage to this day. During their chance encounter, the two women start a rather unusual conversation.
The film challenges how institutions choose to represent and communicate scientific and historical facts. The life stories of the protagonists demonstrate that the presentation of facts is shaped by the desires of individuals: from the colonial ambitions of explorers in the Caribbean to an unlikely obsession of a museum director at the time of the First World War, as well as the fantasies of young taxidermists.
The Wet and the Dry, an essay about The Conspicuous Parts by Lotte Arndt for the publication Everything Passes Except the Past (Sternberg Press, 2021).
Main actresses: Caroline Clifford and Tina Pfurr
Production: Barbara Simon, Talking Projects
Cinematographer: Jutta Pohlmann
Assistant director: Judith Lentze
Set design: Emil Birk
Editing: Janina Herhoffer
Sound recording: Frank Bubenzer
Sound design: Jochen Jezussek and Igor Klaczynski
Written and directed by Assaf Gruber
The project was commissioned by the Natural History Museum of Berlin as part of the project Kunst/Natur. Künstlerische Interventionen im Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and co-produced with Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw and with the Support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund.