Worldwide labor migration has created new versions of transnational families, which, despite geographical distances, strive to maintain close contact and strong relationships. During the recruitment agreements in the 1960s between Germany and Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia as well as many other countries, many parents were forced to leave their children behind as working hours and hard conditions made childcare impossible. Today migrant workers, mostly from Eastern Europe, continue to go to wealthier countries to earn a living, leaving their families behind. Turkey, as a former country of emigration, has become an important center, especially in the child and elderly care sectors, for workers from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
What happens when the material support and gifts provided by families to their children take the place of the shared time and experiences, or when physical closeness has to take a backseat to communication programs like Skype and WhatsApp? How do these circumstances effect children and parents? Opened at Depo Istanbul on May 18, "Bitter Things - Narratives and Memories of Transnational Families" investigates the emotional traces of this phenomenon and elaborates on the discussions surrounding these questions starting from the '60s to the present.
The exhibitions in Istanbul and Berlin are accompanied by an event program of film screenings, conversations and presentations. Moreover a book of academic and literary contributions, interviews, song lyrics and images examining the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective was published simultaneously with the exhibition. Supported by Berlin Senate Cultural Affairs Department and the Goethe-Institut, the exhibition will remain open until July 1.