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RISIKOGESELLSCHAFT (RISK SOCIETY)

a project by REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT

The project Risk society examines the prospects and life perspectives of young people. They inherit the legacy of a society which is aware of the fact that economic growth and consumption won’t offer the determinant odds for development.
The sociologist Ulrich Beck has described the sociological change from a wealth production towards a risk production with the term Risk society in his book written in 1986 which is also called Risk society. This transition takes place on the micro level of people as well as on the macro level of corporate and global changes. It contains social, economic and political dimensions.

The project of REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT moves in between socio-scientific analysis and artistic aesthetic rendering. Contemporary art should function as a catalyst for a sociological process and should allow a positive identification and perception. Youngsters have the chance to express their ideas (have their say) who rarely or never reach the public stage of politics. Their personal contribution contrasts with discussions and decisions concerning the educational and professional opportunities of the labour market. The RG shows the results in a multi-channel installation. The artistic process serves the catalysation of a public debate about the prospects of education and employment.

The focus of the project is put on young people from Schwerin and Oldenburg who attend the 10th grade of a Regional or a Gymnasium schooI. In the exhibition they have their say (express their ideas). In simple and immediate sentences they talk about their plans and expectations of the future.

The statements were developed and recorded in full-time workshops. The focus was put on the personal values which are important for the youngsters in regard of employment, the main place of residence (centre of one’s life) and the social bonds and family ties. Both workshops were in the style of a talent show and incorporated elements of the medial world of experience of the youth. Andy Warhol‘s paradigm of fifteen minutes of „fame for everybody“ finds its analogy in the contemporary, media staged TV-shows. Casting shows like „Germany looks for the Superstar“ feign a one-dimensional star structure, promise the superlative of success but produce only the public display of media staged embarrassment.
The Castings of the REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT took place in a school auditorium and were supported by the coaching of the actor Klaus Bieligk from the Schwerin State Theatre. Here it wasn’t about nominating a new media superstar but about engaging pupils into the process of the media production. Everybody could be once candidate on stage, member of the jury, cinematographer or sound assistant, make-up artist and producer. By this change of perspective the action pattern of the participants varied. Thus the jury supported the candidates in front of the camera moved by the awareness of being sooner or later in the lime light themselves.

Forms of self-presentation are omnipresent for young people. The high significance of photographs on profiles in the social network of virtual communities like facebook or Schüler VZ proves that, as well as the importance on those sites of clothing and styling as a means to display the affiliation to a certain mainstream- or subculture.
The statements of the participants show the difficulty to express declarations not in a normative but complex and personal way. Interestingly a predominant part of the pupils expressed the wish of a stable relationship, family and children. The majority expect no future prospects in their native country. Success in the job and material credit are mainly determined by the willingness of professional mobility. But the statements also reveal the very personal wishes and dreams of having a responsible position in a more equitable (fairer) society.
The present shows that there are no certain professional opportunities and therefore the difficulty exists to develop social and corporate bonds. A positive prospect would be that the struggle for self-assertion and self-fulfilment could produce a new form of civil disobedience with core values like tolerance, solidarity and participation.

REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT 2010 with special thanks to Claudia Schönfeld/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Schwerin und Edith Ruß Haus für Medienkunst Oldenburg

see video here: http://reinigungsgesellschaft.de/video/risk_society.html