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Joscha Steffens – UCHRONIA
The project UCHRONIA [Totale Erinnerung] led Joscha Steffens into a roleplay community of techno occultist fanatics in the Baltic States. Its members never accepted the defeat at the end of World War II and still remain in their identity as Estonian SS and Wehrmacht soldier of the German Reich. In their world the existence of Hitler’s secret weapons plays a major role and not only Maus tanks, V2 rockets, UFO like looking flight discs but also the highest secret of all weapons – the time machine ’Die Glocke’ happens to be an uncanny reality. Steffens entered their temporary gated territory several times and started working on a Sci-Fi movie project that arose out of his first contact with their members. Koloniaal Instituut consists of a collection of ‚SS-Feldpost‘ letters written by Guido Steffens, the until 2017 unknown grand uncle of Joscha Steffens. All letters are addressed to his wife Maria and are lovely written personal letters of his longing feelings for her and his family. As a member of the ’SS Ordnungspolizei’ his working place was Amsterdam’s Koloniaal Instituut, the administration headquarter of the SS and organizational center for the mass deportations that took place during the time of his service in 1943. The ‚Koloniaal Instituut’ (nowadays ’Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen‘) is situated in a linear distance of 100 metres from Rijksakademie, where the artist worked for two years on UCHRONIA during his residency.
This project is a form of new documentary that simultaneously examines and transposes fiction and reality, fabricated and simulated, hunter and hunted. Games are turned into portraits; a fake battlefield becomes a game of rules and commands, a timeless island houses a Nazi time machine. This setting is a provocative landscape in which authority and authoritarian issues are being played out.