Myths, legends, and fairy tales represent the richness of life and fertility of the region as carriers of tradition in the Northern Black Forest region. As new stories and old narratives converge, how do we maintain traditional customs and rituals in ever-growing cities and towns while ensuring new forms of love and romance are able to practice new devotions? July’s Transferium gathering was focused on the overlapping of tradition and modernity that allows new cultures to emerge. Demonstrating how this is still possible in today’s world Raphael Mürle, Frau Ursula Jahn-Zöhrens, Rita and Rudi Armbruster, Kasper Bosmans and Sina Schlei offered us new ways to keep tradition alive.
Before we made our way from the Transferium, we were presented with a performance from Raphael Mürle’s Figure Theatre. Mürle creates imaginary, pictorial spaces to take the audience out of their surroundings and offer a new lens through which to view the world.
Leaving the Transferium, the waning crescent, a sign of fertility and the ebbs and flows of natural cycles, sat low in the early-evening sky. Apt that for a summer night gathering cast under this symbolic gaze upon us as embarked on our trip to Ellmendingen.
In transit, Frau Ursula Jahn-Zöhrens shared her tales of homebirths and midwifery moving towards more traditional modes of birthing, building a community and sharing the experience with mothers-to-be. Bearing the fruits of life stretches way beyond the home. As Frau Jahn-Zöhrens explains, it becomes a political issue and she now sits on the Executive Committee of the German Association of Midwives representing her colleagues.
Upon reaching Ellmendingen, Rita and Rudi Armbruster guided us around the neighbourhood and slopes where their winery sits. Sharing local secrets Rita and Rudi tell us how Almost all grape varieties typical of the region, such as Schwarzriesling, Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Marienfelder, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau, thrive on the particularly suitable shell limestone soil.
While sampling the walls of Weingut Weinstein, Kasper Bosman’s presented a special commission for Ornamenta that illustrated natural cycles while inviting the viewer to consider the stories we tell ourselves in relation to the surrounding world. A world where mysteries unravel, and new ones appear in continuous cycles emulating the complexities of communal living. Bosman’s works evoke multiplicities in both the social and individual and question how the conflicts and relationships in these contexts help shape the collective consciousness.
On our return to the Transferium, a special guest, the Blueberry Princess (Sina Schlei) tells us of her role as a representative of the blueberry village of Enzklösterle. Since 2015, she is tasked with celebrating and spreading awareness around the “Blue Gold” of the Black Forest. Thus it seems from this evening’s interactions that tradition thrives when offered new platforms and ways of expression and evolves with the values of the modern world.