Ming Wong

Teach German with Petra Von Kant, 2017, 8’00”

In 2007 just before moving to Berlin, I made Lerne Deutsch mit Petra von Kant / Learn German with Petra von Kant in which I tried to learn to speak and act like a German by closely emulating the actress Margit Carstensen in the role of fashion designer Petra von Kant, suffering a mid-life-career-crisis in Rainer Werner Fassbinder ́s 1972 film Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant).

In the time since I moved to Berlin, Petra von Kant’s expressiveness has given me the words (and attitude!) I needed to overcome similar moments of despair and desperation. From what started as an exercise for a self-designed “integration course” in Germany – who would have guessed? – ten years later I would find myself in the role of a professor at UdK, the University of the Arts in Berlin.

I invited ten of my students to make this work with me to commemorate ten (mostly) productive years of German integration. A broad spectrum of young artists in Berlin, some of whom were as new to the city as I had been in 2007, collectively transformed into this new and restlessly changing figure of Petra von Kant of the new millennium.