Fischenbergstraße 7 – an unimpressive family home in the outskirts of Witten, North Rhine-Westphalia. My grandmother has spent almost half a century in this house. At first together with her family and then alone when my grandfather passed away. This has been 26 years since. We are clearing out her house because my grandmother is about to move. Along with the usual stuff that keeps piling up in such a house, we also rediscover things my grandfather left behind. Family albums, numerous boxes filled with slides, letters, documents from the time of his studies – neatly put aside and untouched for 26 years.
I only knew my grandfather from photos or stories. Apart from the fact that he has been a chemist, a father of five daughters and a member of the local sailing club, I knew barely anything about him. This is where my search began. For half a year, I collected, inspected and sorted everything related to my grandfather. I talked to his relatives and friends and asked them about their memories. Some of these people I have met for the very first time.
The collected image and conversation fragments illuminate sequences of my grandfather’s life story. The questions of subjectivity and objectivity, closeness and distance have been present ithe entire time. To what extent can the image of a person be “developed” using only indirect means? Which kind of person remains at the end of this quest, a relative or a stranger?