Westerwald: Eine Heimsuchung

Westerwald: A Visitation

Sandra Schäfer

dt. OmeU

The two-channel video installation by international artist Sandra Schäfer shows, on the left screen, an essay film on August Sander’s portraits of Schäfer’s great-aunts and uncles, members of a farming family in the Westerwald. On the right are landscape images taken using lidar technology – laser scanning used in navigating autonomous vehicles. The two-channel projection typically used in Schäfer’s video works breaks away from the iconic role and meaning attributed to the single filmic image and unveils different levels of meaning. Image analysis is the very method of socio-cultural critique. So, by opening the film with the image of Sander’s son’s famous death mask, the artist asks how this indexical representation might work in tandem with the new lidar technology. How is our understanding of »nature« changed by how it is visually realised through (modern) technologies? How has our vision of agriculture and farmers changed since Sander?

With Westerwald: A Visitation, Schäfer returns to Germany after decades working in Istanbul, Beirut, Kabul, Rome and elsewhere, and projects her cinematic analysis of (geo)political tensions in the public arena onto her home village. Westerwald can also be read as Schäfer’s »Return to Reims« because, as a refuge de classe (a term coined by Annie Ernaux), the artist confronts the problems of class affiliation and discrimination for the first time.

In cooperation with SK Stiftung Kultur

Guest: Sandra Schäfer

This film will also be available online on our VoD platform from March 29 to April 10, 2022. Please note: This film will only be available in Germany.

Director / Concept / Cinematography

Sandra Schäfer


Janina Herhoffer, Sandra Schäfer


Filipp Forberg, Jule Buerjes, Stefan Postavka

Sound Design

Jochen Jezussek


Elfriede Bitzer, Marlise Horn, Karl Horn, Matthias Augst, Silke Augst, Marlene Gauss, Elfriede Zimmermann, Miriam Szwast, Thomas Seelig, Simone Förster

Production / Contact


Photo of the Director Sandra Schäfer

Sandra Schäfer

Artist Sandra Schäfer works predominantly with film and photography media. Her installations examine our perception of history, political struggles and geopolitical spaces. She founded the company mazefilm, which produces films as well as cultural events. From 2010 to 2012, Schäfer was involved in the international exhibition project the Urban Cultures of Global Prayer. In 2017 she completed her PhD in Arts at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg (HFBK) on militant cinema methods relating to image and space. Drawing on these subjects, in 2020 she published the book Moments of Rupture Spaces, Militancy & Film. She teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, specialising in the areas of image and spatial strategies and policies. Schäfer’s works have been shown worldwide at museums and festivals.

Films by Sandra Schäfer
Constructed Futures: Haret Hreik
2017 | Mleeta 2016 (Installation) | Başakşehir: An Urban Model 2014 (Installation) | Notes on Pasolini’s Form of a City 2013 (Installation) | on the set of 1978ff 2011 | Passing the Rainbow 2007