Alles in Butter: Collection of artworks against Asian racism in corona time
‘Butterbutter project – Alles in Butter’ was started to record Anti-Asian Racism in the context of the corona crisis in German society. Such a asian Racism had existed long before the outbreak, but it became vividly manifested during the COVID-19. The German press has reported hate speech against Asians in the country, but it is sceptical whether the German society considers such hate speech as a problem. During the recent anti asian racism in Berlin subway, one police officer stated that it is not racism to address Asians as ‘corona’ without inflicting any physical violence. Such a statement reflected a low degree of awareness on human rights in the German society.
Hate speech seems to be an expression of personal preference, but it is actually public violence and political evil whose negative influence reaches to all parts of society. It often goes beyond the boundary of our individual lives. Although it has an obligation to report an issue with fairness and diversity, the German press described the coronavirus as ‘made in China’ and replaced the Chinese national flag with a picture of coronavirus. Such press coverage contributed to a rise of anti-Asian sentiment in Germany. These kinds of hate speech only created fear, racial conflict and discrimination. It is positive that an anti-discrimination law was recently passed in Berlin, creating a safeguard against hate speech. Still, we shall see whether the law will work in reality. Hate speech violates the rights of others and tarnishes the common value and ideologies of humankind, which is a serious provocation against the fabric of our society. Therefore, we do our archiving project to record and stand against such hatred.
“Butter” from ‘Buttebutter project – alles in Butter’ : “Alles in Butter” is a common phrase in German language. It means ‘everything is okay.’ Although it has many stories of its origin, the phrase was most likely originated from a common medieval practice that people used butter to protect fragile products such as glasses or dishes when transporting these goods. Likewise, our project aims to transport the fragile hearts of many who experienced discrimination into one place. During the transportation process, we use butter as our medium. In the end, we freely archive voices of Anti-Asian racism by collecting works of artists (All of us are artists) who are living in Germany. The eligible artists will be asked to use butter either directly or indirectly to express their voices against racial discrimination in the post-corona age. Butter is an important symbol of our movement.
Butter is pronounced as butter in German. If one repeats the same word twice, it becomes similar to a Korean word buteo (roughly translated as come behind me). As Koreans said to their friends buteo! buteo! during their childhood to gather them for games, this project aims to generate a bigger voice on the issue of racial discrimination in German society by gathering our individual voices into one collective. Therefore, we named our project ‘Project Butterbutter’ to show that all of us have something to say on this issue.