From July 27th to August 7th, 2018, the exhibition “I Got a Feeling of Democracy When it was Gone” by the Post-democratic Picture Party (PPP) took place at the Federal Agency for Civic Education in Bonn.
The PPP was developed as part of a seminar organized by HfG Karlsruhe to investigate the visual identity of post-democracy under the direction of Matthias Bruhn and has developed into an autonomous group within the university context that continues to investigate different facets of the term ‘post-democracy.’
In weekly consultations, the PPP invited guests to discussions, including HfG professors and staff, but also external academics from a wide range of fields.
The appointments made it possible to get to know the professors and staff from a new point of view: the political one. In addition to networking within the university, the participation of experts such as Armin Grunwald from the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe also resulted in a network within the city.
The aim was to test the PPP’s theory in an experimental space that played with seating, viewing and speaking arrangements, and to promote a controversial, politically motivated discursive culture within the university. It was important for the PPP to create a protected space for political positioning.
The collected results and preliminary results were shown at the exhibition in Bonn with contributions by students Barbara Acevedo, Jandra Böttger, Matthias Bruhn, Victor Fancelli, Hanna Jurisch, Janina Hilberer, Diane Hillebrand, Lydia Kähny, Mathias Lempart, Katharina Oberle and the invited artists Jan Erbelding and Paul Valentin.
In addition to video, sound and installation work, a workshop by the magazine engagée (www.engagee.org) took place as part of the exhibition on “Radical Cities and Post-Democracy.”
Dialogue was the focus of Diane Hillebrand's exhibition design, as well as the project itself. The ideas for the furniture design arose intuitively from casual conversations with other students at HfG Karlsruhe. Materials from other projects were formative for the layout of each exhibited piece of furniture, where found or gifted materials constituted a table leg, seat surface or shelf. The spontaneous exchange and constant communication about materials or snap collaborations were fundamental moments in the creation and decision-making process. For the individual participants the participatory act compensated for the lack of knowledge of the project as a whole and at the same time distanced itself from planning mechanisms such as cost calculation, scheduling, ordering materials or opening times. Here, the principle of “form follows function” is radically implemented. In order to escape the capitalist structures and their associated mechanisms, Diane Hillebrand set up an independent workspace for the creation of the pieces. The workplace and -process are as open as the design of the furniture. Through the potpourri of different materials - foam, polystyrene, wood, chipboard, cardboard - the fragmented pieces that were never allowed to take on their original function are assembled into an eclectic seat, shelf or table. Despite the number of participants, the designer retains authorship from which the relations between the fundamentally varied furniture can be derived.
The newly created pieces evidently contrast the existing furnishings in the room in terms of appearance as well as in the manufacturing process. In the Federal Agency for Civic Education, white high-gloss surfaces dominate the room. The bookshelves, the counter and the seating area are uniform in material and color. The break in appearance in this regard, is primarily a proposal for an expansion of the already set up space. It is the meeting of two different types of furniture: Hillebrand's proposal serves as a display and making-visible of the exhibition within the sales room of the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
Bárbara Acevedo Strange, Jandra Böttger, Victor Francelli, Hanna Jurisch, Janina Hilberer, Diane Hillebrand, Lydia Kähny, Mathias Lempart, Katharina Oberle
Postdemokratie AG – WiSe 17/18
Postdemokratic Picture Party Appointments – SoSe 18
Exhibition “I got a Feeling of Democracy when it was gone” at the Federal Agency for Civic Education – July 27 to August 7, 2018
URL for the post-democratic appointments podcast:
Tutor: Prof. Matthias Bruhn