Excavating Rostock’s Palimpsest Identity: A Visual Rhetorical Analysis of the Deutsche Welle “Foreigners Out” Documentary (78144)

Session Information: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Session Chair: Thu Vân Phan

Saturday, 25 May 2024 12:55
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 704
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

This paper analyzes the Deutsche Welle documentary “Foreigners Out,” focusing on how the film excavates the haunting loss of the Sonnenblumenhaus housing complex destroyed in the 1992 Rostock riots. I argue the documentary reveals marginal stories and traumas erased in dominant historical narratives celebrating Rostock’s revitalization. Drawing on Avery Gordon’s framework of haunting, I show how the film attunes to the Sonnenblumenhaus’ ghostly afterlife in memory, giving form to invisible collective griefs. Created amidst exclusion as a vibrant landscape of placemaking practices, the complex held vulnerable use values as sanctuary—values ruptured by the violent riots. The documentary spotlighted mundane habits of gardening, cooking, and socializing, which etched connotations of community and belonging onto the space. This quotidian placemaking contested official codings of the complex as a foreign “ghetto”. However, its destruction produced enduring traumas haunting survivors. The Sonnenblumenhaus persists as spectral architecture—neither fully present nor absent. Its liminal resonance signifies marginal stories of loss excluded from Rostock’s urban text. Rather than closure, the complex embodies ongoing struggles around place, memory, and belonging. Attuning to its ghostly meaning opens ethical reckonings with racism’s contested legacy. The documentary empoweringly refuses presumed resolutions by excavating marginal hauntings and lost use values. Their lingering reverberations summon alternative futures beyond prescribed forgetting.

Ahlam Hassan, University of Minnesota, United States

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Ahlam Hassan is a University Doctoral Student at University of Minnesota in United States

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00