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Schlingensiefs most recent projects

Operndorf Afrika (African Opera Village)
Operndorf in Burkina Faso
Auswärtiges Amt, Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Goethe Institut
2009 - 2011 (ongoing)
Via Intolleranza II
Kunstfestivaldesarts Brüssel, May 15 - 18, 2010
Kampnagel Hamburg, May 23 - 26, 2010
Munich Opera Festival, May 24, 26 and 27, 2010
Mea Culpa - A ReadyMade Opera
A ReadyMade Opera by Christoph Schlingensief
Burgtheater, Vienna
March 20 - 25, 2009
Church of Fear
Fluxus-Oratoria by Christoph Schlingensief
within the Ruhrtriennale 2008
Premiere September 21, 2008
Joan of Arc - Scenes from the life of St. Joan
First-ever staging of
Walter Braunfels's Joan of Arc
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Premiere April 27, 2008
To Burn Oneself With Oneself - The Romantic Damage Show
»innocence, 1965 - 2008«
Group exhibition
De Appel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10, Amsterdam
Feb 23 until April 6, 2008
Christoph Schlingensief:
Der König wohnt in mir
Installation, video and photography
Kunstraum Innsbruck
Feb 16 until march 29, 2008
The African Twintowers: Stairlift To Heaven
Within the group exhibition Double Agent
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
Feb 14 until April 6, 2008
Trem Fantasma -
Prototype of an Opera haunted house
Belenzinho, São Paulo, Brasilien
Nov 22 until Dec 3rd, 2008

Schlingensief United:
Schlingensiefs body of works

Christoph Schlingensief first begins experimenting with cameras while still at primary school. A visit to the 1968 Oberhausen International Short Film Festival arouses an interest in filmmaking, and a budding interest turns into the pursuit of a passion. At the age of just eight, he makes his first short film in Regular8 format (EINE KLEINE KRIMINALGESCHICHTE, DER FAHNENSCHWENKERFILM). These were followed shortly afterwards by his first Super8 works (DIE SCHULKLASSE, DER ERDKUNDEFILM). In 1972, Schlingensief co-founded a local youth filmmaking team that went on to produce seven Super8 movies under his direction over the next six years. Whichever one of their various guises they appeared under, e.g. Club der Sieben, Altmarktclub and Amateur-Film-Company 2000, the primary motivation for the team remained a love of filming and a desire to experiment with the camera. While WER TÖTET, DER KOMMT INS KITTCHEN (1972) amounts to little more than a mass punch-up, REX, DER UNBEKANNTE MÖRDER VON LONDON (1973) and his other films comprise murder/mystery tales. An edited version of DAS TOTENHAUS DER LADY FLORENCE (1974) was aired as part of regional TV broadcaster WDR's youth programming. DAS GEHEIMNIS DES GRAFEN KAUNITZ (1976) was part-financed (with the help of 300 deutschmarks) using funds from the Oberhausen film festival and premiered at the Stadtkino Oberhausen. MENSCH MAMI, WIR DREH'N 'NEN FILM (1977) was, again, broadcast by WDR. (...)

It was with his Germany Trilogy made between 1989 and 1992 that Schlingensief came to prominence. It comprises the films 100 JAHRE ADOLF HITLER - DIE LETZTE STUNDE IM FÜHRERBUNKER, DAS DEUTSCHE KETTENSÄGENMASSAKER and TERROR2000. INTENSIVSTATION DEUTSCHLAND. While critical opinion ranged from amused to repulsed, the trilogy earns Schlingensief's filmmaking talents not just acknowledgement but respect as well. 100 JAHRE ADOLF HITLER (1989), shot inside 16 hours at minimal cost in a nuclear bunker near Mülheim, is a wild take on the demise of Hitler and his followers. It is a story of incest and intrigue, drugs, suicide and blasphemy. The only remaining insight, i.e. that Hitler is but one man among the rest of us, whose possession of power sees him mutate from a human catastrophe to a catastrophe for humanity, leaves critics and audiences baffled. While some observers see a "first-rate political and aesthetic goof", or "absolutely appalling, juvenile slapstick", others at least give it reasonable ratings. "Lectures, analysis, enlightenment - the film provides none of these. It nevertheless manages to work, in a strange sort of way. Christoph Schlingensief, a man of the new generation, a naïve man, a wild man, stages a dance of death of such a garish, tasteless, brutal nature that it soon wipes the smiles off our faces; the banality of evil becomes an event." (Roth, Wolfgang: "100 Jahre Adolf Hitler", epd Film, 8/89, p. 44.). (...)

Schlingensief was given the chance to make his directorial debut in 1993 by Matthias Lilienthal, then artistic director of Berlin's Volksbühne theatre. Conceived as a stage version of his TERROR 2000 film, 100 JAHRE CDU - SPIEL OHNE GRENZEN is first and foremost the uncertain attempt of a filmmaker in terra incognita to process his conventional concepts of theatre and drama. The play begins as a charity gala for two asylum-seekers whose hostel has been burned to the ground. A range of candidates are assigned tasks to be performed "for a good cause". A NATO general, for example, bets that he can shoot a Turkish man from the Berlin inner-city suburb of Kreuzberg in the head within ten minutes and return to the gala with the severed head. Slowly but surely, the show goes out of control as it wades into speculative massacres, simulated orgasms and consumed excrement, and vomits on the hors d'oeuvres of the assembled dignitaries from politics, business, the Church and the arts. "An amateurish freak show, (..) resolutely juvenile - and unspeakably German." The roots of Schlingensief's later ventures into theatre - multimediality and the show element - are already evident. The employment of microphones, film clips, musical accompaniment and rapid lighting changes all contribute towards a fully-integrated production, in which Schlingensief, bored by the constant repetition of the never-changing and wound up by the obligatory passiveness of the audience, intervenes during the fourth performance. "The merciless judgement of a world now beyond comprehension is disguised on stage as a perfidious TV game show that is promptly transformed into an inferno of power and passion" (Kronsbein, Joachim: "Spiel ohne Grenzen", Der Spiegel, 17/93, April 26, 1993, p. 148). (...)

The switch from the big screen to the stage is followed by occasional ventures into television. TALK2000 (1997), aired in Germany by RTL and SAT1 in a late-night 'culture' slot and in Austria by ORF, marks Schlingensief's debut as talk-show host, his infiltration of the standards of the broadcast format. The topics and guests (including Harald Schmidt, Gotthilf Fischer and the late Hildegard Knef) chosen for the eight-part series are distinguished from the outset by their absolute interchangeability. Schlingensief prefers not to prepare his material or his guests, some of whom are suitably shocked at the unexpected manner in which the show unfolds. "The whole thing is captured with restless cameras, the picture is more often at an angle than straight, to sum up: Talk 2000 is absolute confusion, the ultimate chaos. The final farewell to a televisual format that has talked itself to death but refuses to die, because everybody has become used to it as they have to bad weather or rheumatic pains" (Merki, Kurt-Emil: DER TALKER DER STUNDE HEISST SCHLINGENSIEF. In: Tages-Anzeiger Zürich, 23.10.1997). (...)

Excerpts from: van der Horst, Jörg: Schlingensief United (GER).

Additional information on Christoph Schlingensief

- "Totally confusing supposed unambiguities" - by Marion Löhndorf, Kunstforum
- It's not going - biography by the Guggenheim Museum New York (1998)
- Christoph Schlingensief - A biography by Till Briegleb, Goethe Institut
- Schlingensief.com German - Further information is available in german only

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