parade, workshops, performances, salons, installations, architecture, cooking and exhibtion – initiated by re:form e.v. and bankleer, 27. may – 23 sept. 2018, Eden, Oranienburg
125 years ago, 18 vegetarians in Oranienburg founded the oldest still existing settlement of the life reform movement. They called her Eden: like the Garden of Paradise.
Their aims were to question the norms, values and customs of bourgeois society and criticize the advancing urbanization, industrialization and commercialization. They followed the utopia of a backward-looking natural life in conjunction with a future-oriented social utopia. In order to realize this, they start with the individual life practice and strive for a change from below.
From the individual life practice develops soon a cooperative settlement with common land ownership, which was soon extended to its own construction and credit company, a garden company, fruit production company, sunbathing, spa house, publishing house, a school and kindergarten and its own bank.
As the future often turns into heaps of debris after it has become present, the utopian and progressive founding visions of Eden in the settlement itself are on the path of dwindling efficacy and exhaustion. In the course of the project, our perspective has changed from a top view to an look inside. In Eden, it is clear that perseverance and a festoon are in conflicting stagnation. On the one hand, the resisting forces feed on nostalgia as a defense mechanism against accelerated rhythms of life and global dynamics, and to a much greater extent on an empty inertia and senseless fixation against the new. Then there are one-sided financial arguments, the setting up in individual conveniences and not least from a missing vision of the future.
Forces and structures that push our project to the brink of desperation and exhaustion almost every day. Sure, this is also a form of resistance and dissent – just the other way around as we used to it.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Eden still exists and maybe that’s why it’s the right place – where something new can emerge. Exactly where it stands in its own way, there could be a way. Perhaps the dissonances, states of suspension and blockades also allow the utopian horizon to be kept open?
In this strange field of tension between a utopian landscape of rubble, new horizons, obstacles and the desire for change, the re:form project seeks an update on the life-reforming approaches of the settlement of Eden. It sets off in search of energetic feedback from the afterlife of vanished utopias. After a yes and a no. We sat down, get involved and get embroiled. We cross corridors of fear so that something new can come to light. Which is why we start again and again with thinking and wishing and encounter the petrifaction through one-sided monetary arguments with the wish and forethought of something new!
After all, you have to believe in a transformation before you can see it.
Our project wants to open the windows and doors of the wind, so that he brings the thoughts in motion.
in collaboration with Cornelia Berndt, Waltraud und Dieter Eisenberger, Dietrich Heißenbüttel, Elli Kosel, Lena Recknagel, Karsten Seiffert und Bruno Weber
enabled through Fonds neue Länder der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, der Eden Stiftung und dem Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur des Landes Brandenburg
graphic by Till Sperrle