The first woman in space. A worker who makes it to cosmonaut. Hero in her own Soviet dream. She girdles her bra against the G-forces.
The 78 year old Kolchoz worker Nicolai, plodding along through the muddy village ‘October’ with his nine goats. Deep in his coat pocket is the notebook with his 1258-piece collection of matchbox labels.
Is it really what you see? Is it staged? Nancy Ostermann and Geertjan Cornelissen ventured behind the former Iron Curtain in search of a lost world that sometimes still appears to be alive and kicking, if only in the minds of the people. In recent years they have visited the former Soviet states of Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldavia, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Sometimes they stumble upon interesting people and situations, sometimes they use their imagination to create the situations they did not encounter. As such they became a part of the story of ‘Hotel Heilstaat’.
In ‘Hotel Heilstaat’ they travelled between times and cultures. They intertwined history with the present, the facts with reasonable fiction, and thus constructed their own reality. Alongside the documental photos are stages scenes, often depicting themselves as models. Associatively, with a great deal of pleasure and true interest in the countries they visited, they gathered the elements. The materials, the photos, in which the imagery of propaganda is recognisable. They are pieces of a puzzle that do not quite fit together and is not quite finished. They belong together because they fit within the same ambience. The whole forms a constructed story. Fiction but not fictitious.