In stillen Teichen lauern Krokodile / In Still Waters Crocodiles Lurk, 2004/2003
2 video projectors, 4 speakers; 31:20 min
© (Marcel Odenbach) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2010
Installation at Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof / Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2006
© Photo: Jens Ziehe
At the centre of In stillen Teichen lauern Krokodile / In Still Waters Crocodiles Lurk stands the Rwandan genocide, which took place between April and July 1994; almost all victims were Tutsi. Drawing on historical documentary material and footage from the United Nations film archives, Odenbach’s half-hour two-part video projection tentatively examines the genocide’s consequences in a country that must bring the killers to justice while also building reconciliation between the ethnic groups. The film presents virtually no explicit pictures of the crimes themselves, instead relying on apparently ordinary scenes whose most distinctive feature is their calm and gentle pace. Farmers work in banana plantations; prisoners labour in a brick factory; cows are being milked; rain falls on paradisiacal hilly landscapes. Only the soundtrack repeatedly quotes the inflammatory propaganda of the broadcasting station that called on the country’s Hutu to get rid of their former neighbours. The video installation itself does not offer an assessment of the events, nor does it venture a historical explanation. Instead, the powerfully suggestive pictures turn the viewer into an observer who is challenged to form his own opinion.