Garden of Eden

We are the narrative of our own memory and the memory of others about us. Perhaps this is why I loved listening to my father (1932 – 2020) tell me about his childhood – a childhood that, despite hunger and war, he always described in wonderful images. The temporal context is the Second World War, culturally we are in the midst of the community of the Banater Swabians, a German minority in Romania.

In 2014, I decided to record his stories – on the one hand, because I wanted to capture this shared moment; and on the other hand, because his stories are not only documents of time, but also tell something about myself. The interviews are accompanied by my own photographs and video clips from contemporary Romania (2015).

The work “Garden of Eden” is about home as utopia, about childhood as a lost paradise, and about identity fed by narratives.

  • Erika Kassnel-Henneberg
  • Erika Kassnel-Henneberg
  • Johann Kassnel
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Garten Eden
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Romania
  • Language:
    English, German, Romanian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Erika Kassnel-Henneberg

Erika Kassnel-Henneberg is a conceptual and video artist with German-Romanian roots. In her works, she explores the process of remembering and questions identity as an artificial construct between reality and fiction.

Erika Kassnel-Henneberg studied Restoration at the Bern University of the Arts / CH and Interactive Media at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences / DE. She has been working as an artist since 2010 and lives in Anhausen near Augsburg. Her works are shown nationally and internationally in exhibitions and festivals, such as FILE – Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo / BRA or IVAHM – International Video Art House Madrid / ES.

2022 she received the Augsburg District Art Prize for her body of work.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

We are the narrative of our own memory and the memory of others about us. This is how our identity is formed in a chronological context.

But today we know that memory is neither true, nor objective, nor complete. We lay traces, collect documents and photographs, and archive them. I see in this an existential doubt: who am I really if I cannot trust my memory and the memory of others? If I leave no traces, did I ever exist?

In the digital age, cloud archives with huge storage volumes are our memory. Algorithms collect vast amounts of data and traces that we leave behind in the infinite expanse of the internet. They find everything and forget nothing. They seem to know us better than we know ourselves. And more than that – they even know with statistical probability what we will do next.
Can they tell us who we are? Can we trust them? Or are these also just distorted images of artificial intelligences whose logic and intentions no one can see through?