Utopia lives next door

"25 years after the end of the Cold War, the political distance between Western Europe (e.g. Austria) and Eastern Europe (e.g. Romania) seems to be increasing again in many respects. But this distorts the fact that there is a lot of shared history, which already becomes evident when looking at the parallels between the cities of Vienna and Timisoara. For their piece "Utopia lives next door", the authors move through both cities, inspired by the situationist concept of psychogeographical examination of urban environments by means of "dérive" the deliberately drifting walk through a city. The starting point of the excursions are the quarters Innere Stadt and Josefstadt – due to the shared history, both Vienna and Timisoara have districts with these names. From the field recordings thus collected, the authors compose the soundscape of a utopian city in which the difference between West and East has been erased. Woven into the composition are voice recordings from interviewees recalling instances of lived solidarity under difficult social and political circumstances in Vienna and Timisoara during different phases of the 20th century. Based on shared thematic motifs, the quotes are arranged into a quasi-dialogic relation to each other that offers a glimpse of the possibilities that were at hand, but were missed in the actual history of Austria and Romania. The speakers are Friederike Brenner (born in 1923 in Mödling near Vienna) and Johann Kassnel (born 1932 in Jahrmarkt near Timisoara)."(Gerald Fiebig)

produced for ORF Kunstradio

  • Eri Kassnel
    Director
  • Gerald Fiebig
    Sound
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Utopia wohnt nebenan
  • Film Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 24, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
    Germany
  • Country of Filming:
    Romania
  • Film Language:
    German
  • Shooting Format:
    fHD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Eri Kassnel

Born 1973 in Timisoara/Romania. 1979 immigration to Germany. Study at the University of Arts in Bern/Switzerland and at the University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg/ Germany. Since 2010 working as a visual artist with focus on static and moving images, and sound. Participation in national and international exhibitions and festivals, such as. “X-Border-Biennial” Rovaniemi/ Finnland and the “International Video Art House Madrid” (IVAHM)/ Spain.

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Director Statement

I believe, that we - as humans - recognize ourselves by remembering. This is the evidence of existing in a chronological context, which forms identity. The loss of memory can lead to a serious identity crisis. But memory hasn’t to be true implicitly as scientific research taught us: to remember is a flexible process, which always adapts to an optimized learning for the future.

People collect proofs like photographs, documents and letters to verify their memories. I follow from this an existential doubt: Can I trust memory? Who am I really? If I don't leave any traces, have I ever existed?

In this area of conflict, I am interested in man’s subjective sensations and his capability to remember, to forget, to associate and to create - consciously or not - his own Utopia.