Franziska Biberkopf to Claudia Roth & Joe Chialo 

03 January 2024

Dear Minister of State for Cultural and the Media Claudia Roth,
Dear Senator for Culture and Social Cohesion Joe Chialo, 

My international colleagues have kindly pointed out to me that as of now, artists inGermany will have to reckon with scrutiny of their social media activities and with acontractual compliance with German state ideology, if they wish to participate inofficial cultural life in Germany. I told my colleagues, who seemed concerned and alarmed, not to worry. I, for one, would be completely carefree because I was not guilty of anything. Since my time in prison in Iran, where my interrogator advised meto only photograph flowers if I wanted to continue working as an artist, I have doneexactly that. I have been photographing flowers for fourteen years. I have alsodiligently documented this on my Instagram. I’m not telling anybody, but each flower silently screams Palestine. In the end it's nobody's business. So if anyone runs background checks on me, they won't make a find. In fact my art has no credible background and neither have I, as an artist. I only have the ground on which I try to keep up more or less sincerely. The ground has always cordially accepted me, even without a background. 

I think there is a general misunderstanding. I already said it to my interrogator back then in Tehran. Well, I didn't say it out loud, but I screamed it silently in so many words. I said "Do you really think flowers are clueless?" My interrogator had no conception of art so I didn't elaborate. But it seems to me that this misunderstandingwill lead to an ocean of flowers, from which no Senator for Culture, no Ministry ofCulture, of no country, will ever escape. So if you, dear Mr. Chialo, dear Mrs. Roth,think you are safe because you have checked my social media and couldn't find anything, then you have lost your way. And your error is more clueless than any littleflowerpot teetering on the third-floor balcony ledge above our heads. 

Art has never been safe and it is highly unlikely that your measures will make it so.But what seems certain, and I have also said this to my international colleagues whono longer want to exhibit in Germany, who even want to avoid the country, I saidreassuringly, "This will do Germany good. It has always been great at conjuring upmonocultures and now it can prove once again that it still has the prowess.” Seriously, I've been increasingly worried about the Germans, i.e. the Bio-Germans,in recent years. First they started talking about multiculti, then aboutWillkommenskultur and tolerance and that Germany was now a country ofimmigration. I never really understood what they meant and to be honest I found it worrying. I knew that Germany wanted to become world champion again. But with a team that is frisked to its knickers, squeaky clean and loyal to the cause of the state.Germany fancies to play in the top league of imperial hegemony again, thedefenders of Western values, ipso facto the world champions. “They need it for their self-confidence.” My international colleagues looked at me with widening eyes. I said to them, "Let's see what Germany can do on its own. For now, they want to enjoy their newly accomplished palace replica and hark back to the good old days of theGerman Empire. After all, they also need an identity. Something they can be proud of." And the Humboldt Forum seems to afford a lot of background. "Background is very important to Germany," I reassured my international colleagues, who werepacking their bags in the meantime. "We're still listening to you", I heard from the open closet, "We just need to pack". "Ah, where are we going?". Unfortunately, atthat moment the bell rang and the cab was downstairs. My international colleagues had to catch a plane. I’m not sure, whether they’ll come back. I actually don't think so. I suppose they're looking for flower motifs in friendlier climates. Here in Berlin,obviously, very little grows during the cold season. 


Franziska Biberkopf