After the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the orthodox communists announced their Policy of Normalisation. Only no one wanted to live in their normality. Today, the word normalisation bears the stigma of a whole generation. Its members are criticised for being morally corrupted, for having accepted too many compromises with the communist normalisers. A price too high to pay for being able to live a normal life?

We´ll restore normality and win the future!, was the last election slogan of the Polish Post-Socialists. They won. So do most people want to live in normality? The answer is yes. Living a normal life must sound attractive for a person who has first lived through the corrosion of the communist utopia, and then been delivered up to the unpredictable wildgrowth of capitalism.

Re-unified? Germany is also concerned with becoming normal. Although the inner gap between East and West has been diminishing, Germany is far from achieving the intended stability of a normal nation state. A healthy normal national consciousness is striven for in order to demonstrate stability not only towards its own public, but towards other nation states as well. In this way, Germany is gaining a normal dominant role in the formation of a new Central Europe. Somehow, everybody in Central Europe is trying to become normal: the (Post-)Communists, the (Post-)Fascists and everybody else in between.

Plotki also insists upon a certain normality: Plotki insists upon a common cultural sphere. In this issue of Plotki, you will see that we have tried to make this possible. Plotki authors went on Expeditions and made Investigations. Here they tell Stories about this so-called common sphere, Stories about the normality of this sphere that is in the process of forming itself.

Having been on Expeditions, the authors tell of a statue dedicated to a controversial politician in the Czech Republic, that has created cause for confusion Ð you can regard the debate about how to interpret his deeds as a miniature on political change in Czech history. Plotkists let you know about the helplessness of people visiting the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Visitors can´t seem to find their way through a building that speaks in metaphors, because the truth is too complex to tell, and they get lost in the memory voids of Central Europe. One author gives her impressions of life in Ukraine, where the average female student refuses to participate in the absurd game of state politics and education. She might seem indifferent to the circus around her, but by perfecting her beauty rather than being the perfect citizen, she finds her own strategy of escaping the dissatisfactory circumstances of her daily life.

Other Plotki authors went on an Investigation. Some of the questions of interest in Plotki no. 4, Normality, are as follows: in the German political struggle on the question of immigration, questions arise as to who should be allowed to work and to become a normal resident in Germany. As our investigator shows, between German law and German everyday life, this question is dealt with quite differently, establishing a somewhat schizophrenic understanding of the issue.

Other authors found out that Poland´s monoculture has no space for punks. Meanwhile, Polish punks are becoming a significant social group in Berlin. Could it be better to be illegal but tolerated in Germany, than to be legal but not tolerated in Poland? And another author investigates cross-culturally: once, allotment gardens were a refuge from socialist ideology and a way out of the socialist shortage economy. Now they are disappearing to make room for consumer culture. Does the allotment garden still hold the same subversive potential for post-socialist Poland, as it once did in the West?

Expeditions and Investigations: Create normality, and you´ll win the future. And if you don´t immediately succeed in doing so, just read our Stories. That is, if you wake up at all normally, and if you manage to get through the day without breaking your bones!

Anna Voswinckel

Jakob Hurrle


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