Gemeinsam in die Zukunft
The four kilometre journey from Calbe Ost Station to Tornitz leads through the endless Fields of the former agricultural cooperatives. A large scaffold construction can be seen from afar. This was put up by Carsten Höller, like a sculptural foreign body in the middle of nowhere where the road turns off to Tornitz. The 23-metre-long and five-metre-high construction supports a banderole-like banner which proclaims proudly „Together Towards the Future”. What does this appeal refer to? It is not only a quote from past socialist propaganda posters, it is also a quote from the hysterical German election campaigns in the run-up to the voting for the German Parliament on September 27. After all, these villages are full of election campaign posters at the time of the Biennale. In fact, however, the banner could serve as a background for any and all projections – in the style of Benetton’s advertising campaigns: It could just as easily refer to both the DVU or to a fictitious Eastern-Reconstruction-Developer preparing to build a factory in the open fields. It could also be seen as representing the alliance between the seemingly sleepy village of Tornitz and the innovation-oriented „Centre for the Artistic Visual Media”. It could even be seen as the motto for the Centre’s Werkleitz Biennale of this year. It is perhaps this very multiplicity of possible references which belittles this slogan – a set phrase typical of politicians – and thus places it in stark contrast to its own monumental form. Beer garden benches have been installed on the scaffold at a height of four metres and they invite us to sit and look into the distance.
Höller’s Biennale contribution is a re-staging: When the same slogan was presented at the „D & S” (Difference and Simulation) Exhibition in Hamburg in 1989 the connotations seemed much less ambiguous, since „Together Towards the Future” was then a common slogan of the reunification euphoria after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now, almost ten years later, resignation has replaced this, at least for many new Federal Germans. The original poster from 1989 has been lost, the one in the field outside Tornitz has been remade for the 3rd Werkleitz Biennale – as a solitary warning, a nasty joke or an empty shell.
The organisers have located all the catering for the 3rd Werkleitz Biennale in the inner courtyard of the Local Culture and History Association, creating an important meeting point for visitors right next to the pigsty. The sugar for tea and coffee (as well as that used in the „Post” pub) and many of the guest houses round about) has been provided by Carsten Höller. On the bar we find sugar cubes whose packaging has not been used to advertise the producer company, as is usual, unless the word Zukunft (Future) printed on it is the name of a company. A multitude of connotations are triggered by this hidden intervention: that these small packets could contain the „Future” , that you can let the „Future” melt in your mouth, that you could have a glass full of the „Future” on your coffee table, that you can hold the „Future” in your hand and unwrap it, etc. Unlike the monumental banner outside Tornitz – of which these sugar cubes are an echo or a discreet reminder – this work by Höller is less of an appeal (the slogan is not repeated), and more a suggestion of a kind of status quo: the „Future” is something that sweetens our life.
Autor des Textes
Carsten Höller (D), Gemeinsam in die Zukunft, 1989
Landstraße Calbe-Barby, Abzweig Tornitz, freies Feld, 1989, reconstruction for the Biennale, printed fabric tarpaulin, 1.10 x 23 m, scaffolding, 5 x 23 m, beer garden benches
Kultur- und Heimatverein, approx. 2,000 pieces, printed packaging