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"Subtitles" by Martha Ronk


Translation by Martha Ronk

Two flat screen LCD monitors, one Aittityd wall cabinet, four feet of HO train track, one Pendelzugsteuerung (commuter train control module unit), one HO scale DB engine, one HO scale DB first and second class passenger car, two DVD players and two DVD discs.

4' X 2' X 5'

Rotbahn (Subtitled) is a S-Bahn trip from West Berlin to East Berlin and back again with diversions, undertaken during the summer solstice. Subtitles play a prominent part in excavating a tale of erasure, desire and possibility that disobeys temporal, spatial and historical expectations. Playing with lesbian Berlin, the erasure and assimilation of the GDR (East Germany) and the topographic/urban strata re-arrangements that are fleetingly glanced out an encrusted window, Rotbahn (Subtitled) traverse the spaces of translation, unification and the temporarily nomadic.




Hackescher Markt S-Bahn No.9

Two women board together

It is the summer solstice

Street names are changing hourly

Communists killed by Nazis are the first names to be removed
The names of fighter pilots are allowed to stay

I hear one woman say to the other are you GDR dreaming again?

You have to change trains if you want to see the place where Rosa Luxemburg was murdered and sunk into the Landwehrkanal

When we reach the Reichstag I notice that the woman facing East has climbed onto the lap of the other woman who is facing West

They start kissing while passing though the largest construction site in the world

Ten stops down people are debating whether to remove the statues of Marx and Engels from the Marx-Engels Forum

They change seats. One bites the back of the other's neck,
while denying any GDR dreaming.

The American Embassy is surrounded by barbed wire and Polizei.
America is precision bombing again.

One woman has her head in the other's lap.

Her index finger traces the other woman's lower lip and then disappears inside her mouth

There is a red fox in the Tiergarten

Martha Ronk
Translation for Rotbahn
(Runs as subtitle text on bottom monitor)

Homology is in the tracks we track along
an illusory parallel where a rose is a rosa lost
erased by who is conducting
where who we are determines where weve been
the book has slid under the seat
you are coming into
the present and, alas it is also the past