Warte Mal! Prostitution After the Velvet RevolutionAnn-Sofi Siden
As drivers on the road from Dresden to Prague cross the German border into the Czech Republic, they pass through the frontier town of Dubi. In all seasons, day and night, women line the roadside. Desperate to attract attention, they shriek at the drivers of passing vehicles ‘Warte Mall’ (Hey Wait!). Dubi was once a resort, renowned for its spas. In the wake of the ‘Velvet Revolution’ – the events which led to the collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia – economic instability and Dubi’s location close to the economic powerhouse of Germany transformed the town into a notorious destination for sex tourists form the West. Exactly 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, throughout 1999, Ann-Sofi Siden, a visual artist, and filmmaker, made prolonged trips to Dubi documenting her stay through video, photography, a written diary and an extensive series of video-interviews – detailed and often harrowing testimonies of the experiences of the players in the business of prostitution: clients, police, pimps and the prostitutes themselves. It is this material which compromises Warte Mall, a 13 channel DVD installation that has been shown as a ‘walk-in documentary’ in several major museums in Europe. Siden has made an acute and disturbing exploration of the way in which lives of individuals are bound up in the accidents and complexities of political history. This illustrated catalogue includes a preface by Susan Ferleger Brades, interviews, an essay by Robert Fleck and artist’s biography.