Magdalena Schrefel

Schrefel (c) Kulisch

After longer working stays in Vukovar and Gothenburg, Magdalena Schrefel studied European Ethnology at the University of Vienna and Literary Writing at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig . She writes plays, radio plays and short stories.

Ein Berg, viele

Once upon a time, a geographer in 18th century England racked his brains because he couldn’t find an explanation for why the river Niger makes a bend at a certain point. After months of pondering, he came to the conclusion that there must be a mountain range and without further ado, he draws it into the map of the African continent and gives it the name “Kong”. Only 100 years later, another geographer points out that there has never been such a mountain range, no one who has ever traveled the Niger would have seen a mountain there. The “Kong Mountains” are nothing but the brainchild of a European who set out with his drawing pencil to give the world a picture of Africa.
With a view of the sea, of Europe and of the borders that, once drawn, have not lost their meaning, a young European and a young African meet at another time in a place called “Kong Mountain”. He is waiting to finally reach the place of longing called “Europe”, while she comes from there to pursue the truth about Africa. Where the two meet, like tidal waves of the present, dream meets reality, and before the current sweeps them away, they cling to their tale of a world where anything is possible.

By looking at the present from the perspective of history, Magdalena Schrefel takes a sharp look at colonial history and the hubris of mankind, while at the same time telling of the power of the imagination, which knows no maps or borders.


Waste land

Jesolo and Adrian are the last people on Thilafushi, the artificially created disposal island of the Maldives. There used to be many of them here sorting what was left behind by vacationers from neighboring islands. Then the garbage became more and more and displaced the workers. Now the tourists are staying away while the sea level is rising. Soon the water will have swallowed the last islands and only the highest elevations, the mountains of garbage, will rise from them. Although nature is constantly reclaiming what man has created, mankind has long since made itself immortal through the vast quantities of plastic. When everything will have perished, it will be the plastic waste that will outlast this change.
Time jump: An experience exhibition in the not too distant future is dedicated to the memory of the Maldives. A great deal of effort is put into presenting how mass tourism once came about, how a paradisiacal lagoon became the region’s largest garbage dump, how the climate changed, and finally how the sea swallowed up the entire archipelago. Original artifacts testify to the time back then: a disposable drinking bottle from 2020, chip bags, wheeled suitcases, a holey rubber boat …

With Waste land, Magdalena Schrefel sketches a world in which the consequences of climate change and pollution that are conjured up today have already become reality. It is a last look at what will remain of the 21st century – if the destruction of habitats continues as unchecked as before.