In spring 2005, Manchot came across a small antiquarian bookshop in Berlin and within it a set of ten old postcards. Each of the postcards depicts a group portrait of a set of people lined up in front of their Berlin houses where they live and work – yet what seemed particularly intriguing about this set of images is that on the back the exact date and address of the photograph is indicated.
The postcards then became a set of instructions to return to the exact place and attempt to engage the current residents of the buildings to become part of the work – exactly one hundred years on.
“ (…) Neighbours (Berlin) takes an image from history tied to a particular site and specific moment in time and then you have a revisiting of that site through people who are tied to the site in the present.” John Slyce, Moscow Girls and other stories, exhibition catalogue, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin 2006
In these images each person stands as an individual within the group, and yet one can read into these communities of fate and fortune, where each will be connected to both the history and the presence of the building, the street, the area in their own way. The work is presented as a diptych of old and new: the original postcards re-photographed and shown in their original size next to the new images.