Three Borders


Ipad, steaming pots, hotplate, boiling water, burning wood, dimensions variable

Video 55min / Digital / Color & BW / 4:3

“Three Borders is a 55 minute long found footage film reminiscent of Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962). It consists of family photos of the artist and of other anonymous found (family) photos. In the style of Magic Realism the video narrates anecdotes of the families of Alisa Berger’s Jewish father and her North Korean mother. The ten stories narrate the meeting between Koreans and Jews from Galicia. They address the overcoming or the construction of inner, outer, national, ethnic, spiritual or emotional borders which span three generations. Alisa Berger tells us about Halmani, her Korean grandmother, who never became an artist but instead remained a farmer, about Evgenij, the constructor and destroyer of bridges, about Naftula, the six-year old boy who killed another child out of racist motives, and about Alisa, the girl who grew up with two different eyes. She remembers Harabudi, the old man, whose story was not written down by anybody and who awaits his death, she remembers Tatjana and Boris whose forbidden love destroyed two ethnic communities, and she remembers Maya, the girl who was carried away by the sea and was born again. And finally she tells the story of Tanja, the mother who loved her piano more than her son, of another mother who during the deportation carried the papers of her husband until she ultimately lost them and would never know what was so important about them, and of Sima, the sister who gave up her family, crossed the border in search of a better life, and disappeared forever. Alisa Berger’s recounted family anecdotes consist of poetic condensations: subjective memories and dreams are culminating in the intimate reality of a filmic photo album.”

(Text: Dr. Inke Arns)

The installation accompanying the video was the steam of boiling water on a hotplate and the smoke of burning wood on the hotplate as well. Both materials are sculptural but rebellious to space and borders, finding their way and overcoming borders and architectures. The viewer was able to interact and boil or burn more or less water and wood.

“Three Borders” is part of the “DIE GRENZE” group exhibition curated by Inke Arns and Thibaut de Ruyter and initiated by the Goethe Institute. The traveling exhibition is held from 2017 to 2018 in 12 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and Germany.

exhibition history

MMOMA Moscow museum of modern art, Moscow, RU
Artplay St. Petersburg, St.Petersburg, RU
Museum Centre Peace Square, Krasnoyarsk, RU
Dovzhenko Centre: PLIVKA, Kyiv, Ukraine
HMKV HartWareMedienKunstVerein, Dortmund, DE
History Museum Tbilisi, group exhibition, Tbilisi, Georgia
Kindl - Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, DE
Die OAG (OAG – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens), Tokyo, JP
NCCA - Ural National Centre of Contemporary Art
S.Y.P Gallery, Tokyo, JP
A. Kasteyev Museum of Arts, group exhibition, Almaty, Kazakhstan



photo documentation (c) Alexey Kubasov: Plivka Art Centre, Museum Centre Peace Square, MMOMA, Artplay St. Petersburg 

The short film "Heimat" is one story from 10 stories in "Three Borders". It is the story of my father about migration and homeland.

Three Borders / 2017 / preview