All these old stories

All these old stories. I watch a documentary about the R.A.F on Phoenix. The gist eludes me but the Deutsche lullaby of old blood spilt on the cheap fabric of a car seat does not. Dramatic music marks each still as the narrator asks whether the R.A.F were in the pay of the KGB, the Stasi. All these old stories.

I first met Astrid in Amsterdam, interviewed her with no little incompetence in 2004 and now, three years later we find ourselves sitting in Lausitzer Platz and she is relaxed. Enjoying the sun.

This women who, some thirty years earlier had spent her early twenties in a small hail of bullets, high-speed car crashes and interminable ideological conversations that went on long into the night. This women sat in plain sight of the day sipping coffee and smoking a American Spirit.

We talked about art, relational aeshthetics, photography, bullshit media and media bullshit. Heilegerdam. Projects political and projects professional. We talked about London and Berlin and about friends in Amsterdam.

Unemployment can sometimes be a blessing, I thought as I rode off on my bike in the sun and peddled a lazy loop around Gorlitzer Park. Later, as I looked through Stern I remember she told me about the stolen photographs, I check attributions and I remember how she told me to never tell anyone her second name.

Alles diese alte Geschichte. The first photograph in Stern is from 1973, it shows two policemen in large military bullet proof vests, each masked, their faces further blast-proofed. Their eyes concealed, their weapons drawn. Der „Deutsche Herbst” beginnt. The last shows the wreckage of the Gef√§ngnisneubau in Weiterstadt, in 1993. Between, the familiar mordant arc; Baader and Ensslin hold the camera’s gaze, a women crouches over the body of Benno Ohnesorg and cradles his head in her hands, three policeman crouch in a floodlit street to examine shell cases.

It all kicks off, too quickly, into an ugly spiral of kidnapping and blood - more or less forgotten until Monhaupt was considered and approved for release and pardon and Klar began to sqkawk. More or less forgotten even in 2004, though Richter’s October Series had returned the images to international attention sixteen years earlier. Alles diese alte Geschichte.

What is there really left to say that hasn’t already been said? Bruce LaBruce’s Raspberry Reich has already Warholised the myth. Already the TV film has been and gone, the protagonists long since dead or escaped and made new lives for themselves and yet despite this the story just will not die. Not even Knut has the power to displace it.

Astrid has her memories. Alles diese alte Geschichte. She made me promise not to mention her second name.