Migration of Imagination / Chicago – Hamburg Artists Conversations

In 2015, German chancellor Angela Merkel officially opened the border for vast numbers of asylum-seekers escaping war and persecution in countries including Syria and Iraq who were flooding into Southern Europe. Despite concern from German citizens, Merkel declared a new refugee project welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into the country. In September of 2017, German politics received a “seismic shock,” [1 ]in which the populist radical-right Alternative for Germany entered the German parliament in sizeable numbers, reflecting, among other things, an “anti-Merkel” stance regarding this open door policy to asylum-seekers.

Similarly, in the US since the 2016 election the current administration has supported plans and produced executive orders to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the US in staggering numbers. [2 ]Such measures have produced public outcries on both national and international scale in opposition to such measures.

Aram Han Sifuenets with Jay Holler of Rap!fugees Hamburg

Given a certain shared political and social context, we propose an exchange between two cities: Hamburg, Germany and Chicago, USA, two residency programs: HyCP/FRISE and Hyde Park Art Center, and two artists:
Aram Han Sifuentes and Doro Carl with the goal of inviting each other to raise and respond to questions, demonstrate their perspectives and share strategies they are employing in this time of crisis. Given the large number of new Americans and new Germans living legally in both countries, how are these communities being connected and integrated into mainstream society? What strategies are artists using to build cultural bridges and expand access to essential resources such as education?

Conversations in the garden – Aram and Rahel Puffert at Werkhaus Münzviertel

Titled Migration of Imagination, this collaborative project provides a moment across two geographies to consider how artists have been effective leaders in this charge. Through immersive residencies for two artists working deeply in local communities and engaged in questions related to the lived impact of current immigration policies, we aim to develop new artistic frameworks for new understandings.

Migration of the Imaginary is a new residency exchange between two cities: Hamburg, Germany and Chicago, two residency programs: HyCP and Hyde Park Art Center, and two artists: Dorothea Carl and Aram Han Sifuentes.

Featured collaborations with:


Doro Carl, Torsten Bruch, Henriette von Enckevort, Ariel Gentalen, Jan Holler,
Jan Köchermann, Karin Missy Paule, Rahel Puffert, Megha Ralapati,
Günther Westphal, Interkulturelles Forum


With the friendly support of the Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg

Photos © Michael Kress, VG Bildkunst

-1-Muddle, Cas. “What the stunning success of AfD means for Germany and Europe.” The Guardian, 24 September 2017.   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/24/germany-elections-afd-europe-immigration-merkel-radical-right

-2- Baker, Peter. “Trump Supports Plan to Cut Legal Immigration by Half.”
New York Times, 2 August 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/politics/trump-immigration.html