Heimat - six characters in search of a definition

In order to document this project, I fall back on the rich auditive material that I had collected during my research into the sounds of home. Particularly moving were the numerous answers to Max Frisch´s questionnaire by the six interviewees who were interested in talking to me.

An artistic project involves a lot of decision making ... desicisions that select some material, but discard others. The interviews, however, gave such a profound insight into the hearts and minds of those six people who were my partners that I decided to include them into the documentation of the project as well.


Verena Schimpf (Austria) and Neelam Chaurasia (India)- living in their countries of birth

Jaskaran Anand (Indian in Austria) and Jeremy Oltmann (American in India) - living in their countries of choice

Sakher Almonem (Syrian in Austria) and Rigzin Lhundup (Tibetan in India) - living as refugees

1. If you are in a foreign country and meet fellow country men /

women, do you feel homesick?

2. Does home have a flag for you?

3. What could you rather do without?

a. “home” b. mother country c. foreign places

4. What do you call home?

a. a village b. a city or a district in a city c. a language area d. a part of

the world e. your apartment?

5. If you were hated at home, could you deny that it is your home?

6. What do you particularly love about your home?

a. the countryside

b. that people are similar to you in their habits, that you have adapted

yourself to the people and therefore can count on their

understanding and empathy?

c. customs/habits

d. that you can do without foreign language e. memories of childhood

7. Have you already considered emigration?

8. What food do you eat when you are homesick and do you feel more

secure in the world when you eat something that reminds you of home?

9. Consider the case, "home" is characterized by mountains with

waterfalls. Does it affect you, if you encounter a landscape with the

same characteristics in a foreign country? Or are you disappointed by


10. If you cross the border of customs and you are in your home country

again, does it happen that you feel lonelier just at the moment when

the feeling of homesickness fades away? Or do you feel reassured that

you have a home when you look at familiar things (uniforms that you

recognize ect)?

12. How much home do you need?

13. If you live together as partners in a relationship without having the

same home: do you feel excluded from the home of your partner or do

you help each other be free of restricting boundaries?

14. If home is the geographical and social district, where you are born and grew up, home is irreplaceable: Are you grateful?

15. Why?

16. Are there lands, cities, customs, etc. that make you think

that you would better fit into a different country?

17. What makes you homeless?

a. unemployment b. expulsion for political reasons c. professional career in a foreign country d. that you are increasingly thinking differently than the people who

identify the same district as home and who dominate it politically e. oath of allegiance which is abused

18. Do you have a second home?

19. Question: And if you do can you imagine having a third and a fourth

home or is one home enough for you?

20. Can ideology become a home?

21. Are there places where you are horrified at the thought of that being

your home? Do you think about what it would mean to live there, and

then you thank god that you don´t have to live there?

22. Do you feel that the earth can be called a “home” at all?

23. Even soldiers on foreign territory are known to die for the homeland:

who determines what you owe to your home country?

24. Can you even imagine yourself without a home?

25. Why do you think that animals like gazelles, hippos, bears, penguins,

tigers, chimpanzees etc. who grow up behind bars or in enclosures, do

not feel like the zoo is their home?

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