Technik des Glücks
Once there was the Zschornewitz power station. Thousands worked here, turning coal into electricity. With the GDR, the power station disappeared and with it, all the jobs. What remained were the amateur films of the power-station workers. Images of collective experiences. In a dialogue with this material, a vision of an obliterated past and a lacking future is created. The smaller, private joys beside the greater promise that was never made good.
“Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe encounter the private and collective image of the past captured in amateur films: dance events, Christmas parties and nudist holidays, everyday life at work, morning breaks, and at the end also the blasting and demolition of the plant. Even when they were dismissed, the power-station workers had their cameras with them. No matter whom Wright and Kolbe met in Zschornewitz - the person used to be an amateur filmmaker, an amateur poet or even a composer. The film is called ‘Technik des Glücks’; the title alludes in a thoughtful way to the enormous, beautiful and still credible utopia according to which everyone, including the worker, is a potential producer of culture and art - they only need to be encouraged. The GDR invested a lot in such encouragements and they were readily accepted.
The people of Zschornewitz thus became chroniclers of their own lives. Wright and Kolbe approach these people with warmth and respect. In the end, the former power-station workers confided in the young directors their history in the form of narrow-gauge films and video cassettes. The old material (8mm, super 8 and 16mm) from the private archives in combination with new video sequences tells a story of the region and its mentality, of the past and the present, and of the relation between work and cultural techniques. It deals with loss; the future is not provided for. What a waste.” (Anke Westphal)
DE 2003, 68 min, Video, OF engl. UT