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Gerüst/antiautoritär, installation view "Other Possible Worlds" @ NGBK Berlin

Moira Zoitl

The installation (Framework/anti-authoritarian) is based on a playground climbing frame built by committed parents of the counter culture of the nineteen seventies for their independently run kindergarten. It appears in my mother’s photos, implanted into a petit bourgeois neighborhood in Salzburg, Austria. Because the machine didn’t transport the film correctly the images seem like the exaggerated reflection of the use to which it was put by the children—the superimposed images of children and their surroundings appearing to move in relation to each other, resulting in a kind of animated sequence.
At the kindergarten there was fierce infighting among the parents of various Trotskyite, Maoist and anarchist leanings. Parents were determined to offer their offspring an alternative to the strict educational formulae offered by conventional church-run institutions. They were reading books such as Das proletarische Kind in der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft (by Otto F. Kanitz; “The Proletarian Child in Bourgeois Society”), or Kinderläden: Revolution der Erziehung (by authors’ collective, Lankwitz near Berlin; “Alternative Crèches: A Revolution in early Child Care”), and Walter Benjamin’s Über Kinder, Jugend und Erziehung (“On Children, Youth and Education”). This inspired them to invent and devise their own educational tools—such as the climbing frame.

Gerüst/antiautoritär exemplifies how contemporary political and aesthetic debate is reflected in such a “toy,” with influences ranging from Minimal and Conceptual Art, e.g. Sol LeWitt’s Structures and continuing to the concepts of anti-authoritarian education proposed by the likes of A.S. Neill. Literary samples taken from my father’s library, illustrating the involvement with current debate of the nineteen seventies, are juxtaposed with media depictions and images of contemporary icons such as Angela Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and Che Guevara. This generates a memory collage of references and links that combine individual recollection and activity with collective experience and imagery.
Apart from the climbing frame’s 1:10 scale model, the installation illustrates this kind of associative identity research in a video assemblage that incorporates a formal reflection on the fragmentary nature of personal memory in flashbacks positioned against other such (more or less successful) attempts at creating a new, counter cultural (educational) universe.