PAN CON CROQUETA ( a photographc psychoanalysis of Havana)

PhotographerKirstin Schmitt
PrizeHonorable Mention
CompanySAILOR`S YARN
City/CountryLa Habana , Cuba
Photo Date2013-2015
Technical Inforatio 1:1 / monochrom / Cuba
Story

SYNOPSIS The series PAN WITH CROQUETA (bread with croquets) is a photographic psychoanalysis of a city that manages to glow even in decay: "La Habana! - The most mysterious, phosphorescent, craziest and most beautiful city, morally depraved and graceful at the same time, with a bittersweet sadness in its viscera... " (series / monochrome / ratio 1:1 / 5 prieces of 84 / La Habana / long-term observation since 2013 / published 12. Bienal de Havana 2015) PROLOGUE "Tell me! How´s Havana really?" people ask me outside, expecting clear judgments: "Cuba yes or Cuba no?" - and please in one sentence. People are disappointed because I cannot give them that easy answer they wanna hear. As soon as a description comes over my lips I have to review it and take it back. Because Havana is an oxymoron, where contrasts and contradictions are coexisting. They walk hand in hand and form one of the most fascinating cities in the world, where the "truths" are transforming and escaping when I try to capture them. Now for nine years I live between Cuba und Germany. Oscillating between consternation and tenderness, I spent years studying, working, living and loving in Havana. When I started to study documentary filmmaking at the Cuban "EICTV-School International Film and Television" in 2006, it took me a while to realize, that you can not understand Havana and its Kafkaesque reality intellectually. But after living only a few months with the worthless Pesos Nacional, between gossip, blackouts, businesses and inventions, living in solares, ruins and residential villas form Guanabacoa to Miramar, making fans, friends and enemies, I could feel the weight Cuban of everyday-life. - Because Havana is a city of mirages and facades where you slip as long as you have the courage to participate. But when you give your tears and laughter to nightly streets to unite them with the chorus of all the others and the stories of your shadow stick to the wrinkled walls, then the city allows entry. Things that catch my attention at that time, today do not attract me, do not confuse me and surprised me anymore. Years turned them in unquestionable realities. The absence of surprise and estrangement is a side effect of habit. However Havana never disappoints me. Every time the city is painted in other colors and engages with new stories. Nothing is as it was a few months ago and everything is the same. Dear people have left the country. Business have sprout from the earth. What was been banned yesterday is already permitted - or vice versa. Havana has peeled his skin. But I have stripped too. I'm not the same anymore and my memories of yesterday fade away. I almost forgot how was Havana when I saw the city for the first time. She transformed and keeps transforming. While I am amazed by the dynamics of change, the Cubans shrug their shoulders. “How is Havana?” I ask myself. “Why can´t i leave it behind me?” - The city has me in its spell. I could not say that life here would be more beautiful. It is wonderful, unbearable and banal as elsewhere. But the city is full of secrets, which shakes my spirit. Since 2006 I am trying to investigate the mystery of Havana. My ambition seems to be a hyperbola, tirelessly trying to get close to a zero point. "We also do not understand anything and I've lived here since 49 years," my neighbor says and keeps smiling: "Normal, mi amor! Do not pick fights with that or you will get crazy!" -" Luisito, I can not! Maybe because I'm too German! " I answer. I take a small camera to all sides meanwhile I live everyday-life and pursue my own trails, as well the traces Havana tattooed in my soul, to freeze fleeting moments, until the city is not anymore, what it has been a snapshot ago …

Entry Description

The series PAN WITH CROQUETA (bread with croquets) is a photographic psychoanalysis about a city that manages to glow even in decay: "La Habana! - The most mysterious, phosphorescent, craziest and most beautiful city, morally depraved and graceful at the same time, with a bittersweet sadness in its viscera... "

Story

SYNOPSIS The series PAN WITH CROQUETA (bread with croquets) is a photographic psychoanalysis of a city that manages to glow even in decay: "La Habana! - The most mysterious, phosphorescent, craziest and most beautiful city, morally depraved and graceful at the same time, with a bittersweet sadness in its viscera... " (series / monochrome / ratio 1:1 / 5 prieces of 84 / La Habana / long-term observation since 2013 / published 12. Bienal de Havana 2015) PROLOGUE "Tell me! How´s Havana really?" people ask me outside, expecting clear judgments: "Cuba yes or Cuba no?" - and please in one sentence. People are disappointed because I cannot give them that easy answer they wanna hear. As soon as a description comes over my lips I have to review it and take it back. Because Havana is an oxymoron, where contrasts and contradictions are coexisting. They walk hand in hand and form one of the most fascinating cities in the world, where the "truths" are transforming and escaping when I try to capture them. Now for nine years I live between Cuba und Germany. Oscillating between consternation and tenderness, I spent years studying, working, living and loving in Havana. When I started to study documentary filmmaking at the Cuban "EICTV-School International Film and Television" in 2006, it took me a while to realize, that you can not understand Havana and its Kafkaesque reality intellectually. But after living only a few months with the worthless Pesos Nacional, between gossip, blackouts, businesses and inventions, living in solares, ruins and residential villas form Guanabacoa to Miramar, making fans, friends and enemies, I could feel the weight Cuban of everyday-life. - Because Havana is a city of mirages and facades where you slip as long as you have the courage to participate. But when you give your tears and laughter to nightly streets to unite them with the chorus of all the others and the stories of your shadow stick to the wrinkled walls, then the city allows entry. Things that catch my attention at that time, today do not attract me, do not confuse me and surprised me anymore. Years turned them in unquestionable realities. The absence of surprise and estrangement is a side effect of habit. However Havana never disappoints me. Every time the city is painted in other colors and engages with new stories. Nothing is as it was a few months ago and everything is the same. Dear people have left the country. Business have sprout from the earth. What was been banned yesterday is already permitted - or vice versa. Havana has peeled his skin. But I have stripped too. I'm not the same anymore and my memories of yesterday fade away. I almost forgot how was Havana when I saw the city for the first time. She transformed and keeps transforming. While I am amazed by the dynamics of change, the Cubans shrug their shoulders. “How is Havana?” I ask myself. “Why can´t i leave it behind me?” - The city has me in its spell. I could not say that life here would be more beautiful. It is wonderful, unbearable and banal as elsewhere. But the city is full of secrets, which shakes my spirit. Since 2006 I am trying to investigate the mystery of Havana. My ambition seems to be a hyperbola, tirelessly trying to get close to a zero point. "We also do not understand anything and I've lived here since 49 years," my neighbor says and keeps smiling: "Normal, mi amor! Do not pick fights with that or you will get crazy!" -" Luisito, I can not! Maybe because I'm too German! " I answer. I take a small camera to all sides meanwhile I live everyday-life and pursue my own trails, as well the traces Havana tattooed in my soul, to freeze fleeting moments, until the city is not anymore, what it has been a snapshot ago …

About Photographer

documentary filmmaker, DoP & photographer. After studying Anthropology & filmmaking in Germany & Cuba, Kirstin worked 2010-2014 as teacher for Goethe Institute & journalism university in Angola. Her documentary-projects focus liminal stages & the impact of transition. Characteristic for her work is the use of environment & intimate encounters with the strength & vulnerability of her protagonists. The works got showcased at museums, art fairs & filmfestivals (Shanghai Film Festival,Dok-Leipzig, Art Basel Miami-Scope Art Show, Sumerset house London). Based in La Habana.