Ne pas rire

The exhibition of surrealism in Belgium at Bozar has the inviting title “Histoire de ne pas rire”. Even the booklet of the exhibition guide does not translate this into English assuming everybody has at least that much of interest in French and the willingness to learn about these 5 words that are a reference to the understanding of the surrealist art movement. You are explicitly invited to allow yourself to laugh when looking at the images. Reflection comes second. Caught by surprise and making new connections of seemingly unrelated images and words, that’s the essence of it. The comparison of the 2 versions of the exhibition guide teaches language and translations beyond the simple words. Sometimes it is best to not translate the text as in the title of the exhibition guide.

Folon Magritte

The exposition in Brussels on Folon and Magritte demonstrates the impact the latter had on the former artist. Both developed an iconic style of painting. Folon paintings apply pastel colors on paper. This style transforms images through the softened sometimes slightly blurred representations near a dream like realization. On the contrary in his sculptural work he uses hard materials to stimulate imagination and abstraction from reality. The side by side representations of Magritte and Folon is more a study in tracing influences and motifs across decades. The honor is just as much to Magritte as it is flattering Folon. Magritte had changed the life of Folon with his paintings and perspective on life beyond realism. Magritte‘s legacy lived on and Folon developed surrealism into a widely recognizable style with his paintings as well as sculptures. In walking around Brussels in 2024 you will inevitably come across some of the sculptures reflecting the work of Folon. The Folon foundation is continuing the pedagogical journey of the surrealist art movement well into today and tomorrow.

Folon Magritte Exposition Brussels MRBA 2024


The grand narratives of the modern world, like modernism itself, are under serious criticism. Deconstruction of the modern way of thinking has become philosophical mainstream. Economics as a science is in the middle of the behavioural shift and changing or at least complementing its narratives. Sociology has embraced postmodern thinking in theoretical as well as empirical forms (Mirchandani, 2005). The empirical measurement focuses a lot on the groups and people who hold postmodern beliefs and values. The discussion in the social and literary sciences continue. In the arts reading on modernism and postmodernism is a must in order to understand much of contemporary art or art from the 19th and 20th century.
Bookstores in art galleries that cover long spells of history can make surprising links between historical periods of art. Books of postmodernism appear next to books on romanticism. A lot of the ideation of postmodernism rejoins romantic depiction about nature, re-naturalizing or the emotional connotations of wildlife, isolated places and stillness.
On the other hand, we are confronted with the brutal world of war, drugs and crime. Classical warfare and strategies are back in Europe with tanks and rockets killing like in previous wars. The Russian empire of a specific version of modernism strikes back as if it were to stop the postmodern turn of the 21st century. Neo-fascism tries to build on the losers of the transitions to the socio-ecological economy and society. There are manifold backlashes of modernism, but the postmodern world is under continuous construction, most of in our mindsets.

Zwang durch Terror

Durch den Terror der Willkürherrschaft mit rassistischer Doktrin wurde aus Zwangsarbeit eine lebensgefährliche Arbeit. Überzogene Sanktionen bei Diebstahl, Plünderung oder Sabotage wurden von den Nazis mit öffentlichen Hinrichtungen (Erhängen, Gruppenerschießung oder Guillotine) geahndet (siehe Katalog zur Ausstellung Alltag Zwangsarbeit S.44-45). Straflager und Verlegung in Konzentrationslager gehörten ebenfalls zur regelmäßigen Erfahrung.
Die Zwangslage der dort zur Arbeit gezwungenen Menschen ist kaum vorstellbar und fassbar in unserem System der Beschreibung von Arbeit. Totale Subordination kann vielleicht in Ansätzen verdeutlichen wie diese Situation auf die Personen gewirkt haben muss. Fluchtversuche waren fast ausgeschlossen. Selbst die Verbindung zu den meist deutschen Frauen in Fabriken war unter hohe Strafe gestellt und intime Verhältnisse (bezeichnet als Rassenschändung) wurden für beide Seiten lebensbedrohlich oder endeten für die Zwangsarbeiter oft tödlich. Der Terror in dieser Zeit bestand in der kontinuierlichen Gefahr und Angst tatsächlich oder vermeintlich eine Anklage zu erhalten, die unkontrollierbare, weil selbstherrliche, Strafen nach sich ziehen konnte.
Image: Ausstellung Alltag Zwangsarbeit 2024-1 in Dokumentationszentrum NS-Zwangsarbeit, Berlin Schöneweide. 

On Justice

Justice is a topic a bit like democracy. Most people deem it possible to simply state something is just or unjust, democratic or undemocratic, black or white. Rather than such a binary perspective it is often more helpful to take the pains to differentiate the many facets of each term and the complexity to categorize or to subsume a case under one or the other label.
Additionally, there is an evolutionary perspective on these topics. Individual cases evolve in form of trajectories. The binary view of justice or no justice might become more clear or more blurred. The exhibition of the “Topography of Terror” in Berlin offers a well established and documented view of the NS-terror during the years 1933-1945. The examples of horrific injustices throughout the exhibition are abundant. To perform justice is a much more difficult exercise and encounters lots of impediments.
In January 2024 Christl Wickert presented her extensive research in archives which she published in the Metropol Verlag 2022 under the title “Keine Gerechtigkeit. Die ungleiche Unterstützung des KZ-Überlebenden Fritz Bringmann und des SS-Mannes Walter Filsinger nach 1945”. (engl. title and image below). Christl Wickert follows the life courses of the young Fritz Bringmann, prisoner in KZ Sachsenhausen and Neuengamme as of 17 years of age, and the life course of the SS member as of 17 years of age and SS soldier Walter Filsinger. Their life courses crossed at the concentration camp Neuengamme near Hamburg and perhaps later again in Hamburg Bergedorf. Whereas Fritz Bringmann had to struggle to get compensation for his injuries during imprisonment, Walter Filsinger managed through multiple manipulations of documents and dubious support from administrators as well as medical doctors to obtain war victim benefits.
From life course research we know that early disadvantages are hard to compensate throughout the following decades. This juxtaposition of 2 cases localised in the neighbourhood of Hamburg demonstrates this with full force. Injustice at the early stage of the life course is not compensated but rather magnified through the handling of each case through the proceedings of “administrative justice” in the institution building in the first few decades of the Federal Republic of Germany. The “thick description” as a scientific method is a lesson in unfolding as well as later on unravelling injustice.


Gerhard Richter ist kein Richter. The painter Gerhard Richter is of cause not a judge. But somehow he is. In the representation of his 100 works for Berlin in the Neue Nationalgalerie he judges the horror beyond imagination of the Nazi concentration camps, reflects on the role of his own family in this and finds his own way to deal with it. Colors cover the black and white documentary fotos as if a new imaginary has to grow again to overcome the painful memories. He deals with the most difficult kind of confrontation with evil in an astonishing way. The horror as underlying fact remains present in our mind and at the same time we open up to light at the end of the tunnel and abundance of colors. Color is the way forward. Underneath, we tend to or like to forget about the many killing fields. Scratch a bit on the surface and you’ll find lots of unresolved issues again. All those fancy colors might just cover up the demons of the past and present. Maybe this is a grossly biased interpretation of his Auschwitz Buchenwald series of paintings, but only time will tell if we are successful in 2024+ to stem the tide of right wing extremism (again).

Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin 2024-1

Memory Management

It seems a strange combination of words: memory management. In computing it has the function to allocate sufficient memory to specific tasks and has substantial implications for software performance (Yves Younan et al. 2010). It is also a security issue as what is stored somewhere might get accessed from other persons or programs with harmful intentions. Historians have a completely different approach to the issue. Individual as well as collective memories are frequently subject to memory management and manipulation. Therefore, it is necessary to critically deal with neglect and purposeful management of collective memories. In Germany we had numerous incidents of rectifying collective memories about the role of diplomats or the Wehrmacht during the Nazi period. Huge efforts were necessary to correct wrong representations of professions during and immediately after the 2WW. They are still necessary today. All children have to learn the concept of time, the past times and the concept of future. Periods after wars particularly generate a narrow focus on the present and the bare necessities of survival in societies. Dealing with and reworking the past and cherished memories is rarely attempted. It appears to be a paradox that without a coherent concept of the past the imagination about the potentials of the future are narrowed down. ‘Burned fingers’ cause additional restrictions. Literature for children and young adults has an important role to open up fictional spaces or laboratories for imagination. Freeing yourself from past restrictions while being aware of responsibilities due to the past allows a conscious way forward and human development. Sebastian Bernhardt (JuLit 3/2023) emphasised this and the Deutsches Historisches Museum had an exposition on this topic as well. Memory Management is a bit about the past but much more about the future. This is why we have to address it.

DHM 2024 Futures

Berlin Moscow

Some historians have a hard time to sort long-term relationships between countries into adequate periods. The ups and downs between Berlin and Moscow are a peculiar example of this. The artist Peter Laszlo Péri expressed this unease in a poster where both cities stand for the dictatorships presumably in the name of the working class. This alliance between Berlin and Moscow, Hitler and Stalin led to occupations of several neighboring countries and war in the following years. With an uncritical stance after German unification the Berlin Moscow link has again facilitated the land grab of Russia with Ukrainian territory. Buying complacency of Berlin in return for cheap oil and gas from Moscow has ended for most European countries now. Great to see Europe united with few minor exceptions and that alliances with other European cities reveal strong and powerful in hope of a more peaceful Europe.

Communicate Broadly

Broadcasting before podcasting has been a kind of revolution in communication technology. The potential of mass communication was promising at the beginning with cultural practices spreading to wider groups in society. Let us take the example of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB). Suddenly the audiences grew enormously and it became a public duty to allow the participation of the masses in so-called high art. The foundation of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin had and has again such a mission. In a memorable address to the foundation of the radio Albert Einstein gave an historic address (Link). He praised the scientific method of discovery and the engineering skills that allowed the new technology to serve all people. The fascists in Germany were early in abusing the technology to manipulate society. Albert Einstein was well aware of this danger to society. His speech is a historic testimony before the waves of emigration began fleeing Nazi-Germany. The best brains were the first to sense the power of the new communication technologies to influence the masses. Broadcasting is around with us in even more invasive and many praise themselves to be influencers.

Albert Einstei 1923 Speech Radio Berlin


For some societies and cities it is a continuous question of how much resources we should invest in infrastructure. Access to funding is a major concern. The calculation of the viability of the project needs careful examination and evaluation. Societies have very different kinds of preferences and, interestingly, about time horizons for their deliberations.

There are examples that have been built to last a century and lasted 2000 years. Other worst scenario examples are built for just one World Expo and torn down afterwards. The Eiffel tower is such an example of the latter kind, but it lasted longer than 100 years by now. We should be thinking more about time horizons as it remains an often overlooked part of investment in infrastructure. The oldest city in Germany has many buildings from the Roman occupation that still characterize the city’s architecture. This remains an important economic factor for the city of Trier as an attractive location for tourists throughout the year. Only wars or negligence may cause severe deterioration if infrastructure has been built with an emphasis on its lasting value. The narrow-minded investment in downhill skiing like in the Swiss Alps is at best expected to last 20 years. For trees to grow there again it will take 50+ years. Sustainable investment will be viable and vital in many respects. High interest rates force us to recalibrate our societal and private s again. Taking into account a longer time frame for investment we indirectly build infrastructure that should last longer. Moving beyond short-termism is necessary, particularly in the field of investment in infrastructure.

Trier 2023-12


„These were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end …“ And yet the Concorde served for decades as a massively polluting aircraft for those paying or had their flights paid be their enterprises to cross the Atlantic ocean. Yes it was the fastest way, but we learned that it didn’t really make sense. After a technical default with an explosion the entire craze got stopped. Now next to Orly airport the remainders of this undoubted design highlight is exposed. It serves more as a warning that not all technical innovations are viable as commercial or ecological innovations. The delta-design as aircraft is still the most common design children play around with as paper models. Wing designs have made progress to adapt the bent end on each wing. So should do our paper models of them. The Concorde is also a perfect example to learn from concerning the link between “Society and Technology”. Similar mistakes seem to occur still today. “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn…”.

Concorde near Orly airport France 2023

Ukraine Art

The touring exhibition of art works from Ukraine 1900-1930s is on show in Brussels at the Royal Museums of fine art Brussels in November December 2023. Before Ukraine became swallowed up in the Sowjetunion there was a very active independent artist world that had close links to all capitals in Western Europe. All art disciplines were covered. The paintings of Vadym Meller from 1919 (Aquarell on carton) show designs for a dance performance to the music of Chopin. The modern designs and vivid colors reflect the conscious reference to art movements across Europe. The inspiration from dance to painting is a recurrent theme in impressionistic paintings, abstract paintings and into our own time period. Ukrainian art from early on in the 20th century had a broad scope beyond the narrow focus on art controlled by the soviets. Well worth enlarging our vision to take into account these creative masterpieces from Eastern Europe as independent voices.

Vadym Meller 1919 (Aquarell on carton), Brussels MRBAB 2023-11


The Republic of Georgia is honored with a wide ranging program in Brussels in the series of countries presented as part of the”Europalia” events and exhibitions. The exhibition at Bozar in the center of Brussels has a focus on the years between 1900-1936. It is astonishing to look at the creative examples of adaptations from western modern art with cubism and expressionist resemblance. Many artists had travelled to western parts of Europe or trained at well-known art schools there. Own adaptations to paintings, theatre and cinema yielded a unique style of Georgian modernism before Stalinism put an end to independent artists and their creative work.

During the short spells of political independence Georgia managed to re-establish each time a remarkable will to its own culture. Unity with artistic pluralism is a core value of the European unity and union as well. We are many and happy to have a chance with Georgian people to celebrate their artistic past and future.

catalog of exhibition Brussels 2023


Es ist eher selten geworden, dass sich große Häuser der Musik den Komponisten der Moderne widmen. Es sind wohl auch nicht viele Publikumsrenner dabei. Das liegt sicherlich zu großen Teilen an der mangelnden Bekanntheit der Werke moderner Komponierenden und ihrer Werke. Karlheinz Stockhausen bildet da keine Ausnahme mehr. Das Konzerthaus Berlin hat in seiner Reihe 2 x hören einen Abend einem Werk von Stockhausen gewidmet. „In Freundschaft“. Wichtig ist zu diesem Werk eine Einführung in die Kompositionstheorie von Stockhausen. Die serielle Komposition baut auf einer einfachen Struktur von Notengruppen auf. Christian Jost erläutert zusammen mit den Vortragenden in einzigartiger musikpädagogischer Weise die Komposition. Eine Information über Wikipedia vorab erleichtert den Zugang und lässt uns die Komposition vereinfacht nachvollziehen. Auf Youtube gibt es dann verschiedene Versionen für jeweils andere Soloinstrumente zu finden. Beispiel Klarinette hier. Die Basiselemente bestehen aus 1,3,2,5,8 Noten, also ein Gesamtthema von 19 Noten aus 5 seriellen Bestandteilen. Die Variationsmöglichkeiten bilden bereits eine vielfältige Auswahl plus den anderen Varianten wie Spiegelungen oder Transkriptionen auf höhere oder tiefere Tonlagen. Komponieren wird spielerisch und bleibt ein Klangerlebnis. Reinhören online lohnt sich zum Verständnis moderner Ansätze der Kompositionstechnik.

1,3,2,5,8 Noten als Ausgangspunkt Stockhausen


Das Datum ist mit dem Gedenktag der Unabhängigkeitserklärung der Ukraine verbunden. Gerade die Aggressionen Russlands wollen diese Unabhängigkeit zurückdrehen. Das wird nur mit viel Kraft und Ausdauer gelingen können. 18 Monate im Krieg mit Russland war uns unvorstellbar. Wir werden unablässig unterstützen müssen, damit die Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit aller Teile der Ukraine wieder hergestellt werden kann.

Das Datum sorgt für zusätzliches Gedenken. Jetzt beginnt die Einleitung von durch Atomkraftwerke verunreinigtes Wasser in Fukushima. Das, was nie passieren sollte, hat sich doch als Tatsache bewiesen. Verunreinigtes Kühlwasser wird auf die Welt verteilt durch Einleitung in den Ozean. Private oder nationale Profite werden eingestrichen, aber die Kosten eines GAU (größter anzunehmender Unfall) werden auf die Weltgemeinschaft verteilt.

Ein Tag zuvor hat Indien, anders als Russland, seine Raumkapsel auf dem Mond ohne Bruchlandung aufgesetzt. Großmachtstatus verlangt auch überdurchschnittliches wissenschaftliches Engagement. Das lässt sich mit einer Mondmission sicherlich demonstrieren. Neue Demonstrationen von Unabhängigkeit durch große oder wirtschaftlich erstarkte Staaten werden eine multipolare Weltordnung befördern. Das passiert nicht von heute auf morgen. Es könnten sich vielfältigere Verhandlungsmöglichkeiten auf internationaler Ebene eröffnen. Noch mehr Geduld in der Diplomatie wird nötig sein. Gleichzeitig ergeben sich aber auch größere wirtschaftliche Druckmittel auf Staaten, die internationales Recht verletzen.

Image: Haus der europäischen Geschichte, Brüssel

Corbusier ZH

Realizations based on the theory of architecture by Le Corbusier are always worthy of visit. Passing through Zurich (CH) allows to discover another fine example of a villa he designed in the neighborhood of the old town. Within walking distance from the lake Zurich the spacious building allows just like the Paris example for an exhibition of art work within the villa. Horizontally stretched windows and a terrace on the roof make these villas look very modern. Rooftop bars and restaurants just stage a revival in inner cities as cool locations. Le Corbusier anticipated this long ago. Theories can have a long half value time of lasting.

The materials applied in the realizations were obviously less durable. This is the reason why the villa had been closed for renovations for many years. The reopening now shows the splendid views from inside out as well as from the outside. Colors are especially interesting in this example. Nothing is left to or build by chance. The Design language is spelled out in each detail down to door handles. An ongoing exhibition about the deterioration of materials and in some cases even toxic materials helps to understand the necessity to be aware of material science in construction. This makes visits even more informative. The confrontation of vision and sustainability becomes an additional topic also for the theory of architecture.

Le Corbusier Villa Zürich CH


Kunstschaffende brauchen Jahre, oft auch Jahrzehnte, um ihren eigenen Stil zu finden. Das ist durchaus ein schwieriges Unterfangen. Frühes Ausprobieren verschiedener Kunstrichtungen ist dabei so etwas wie ein Experimentieren mit unterschiedlichen Werkzeugen. Da hilft es enorm, wenn schon einmal ein reichlich bestückter Werkzeugkasten im Elternhaus vorhanden ist. Das war in der Künstlerfamilie der Giacomettis der Fall. Der kleine Alberto hat mit Vater Giovannis Tinten, Federn, Ölfarben und Pinseln früh angefangen, sich auszuprobieren. Eltern, der kleine Bruder, Landschaften, Posen vieler Verwandten und Bekannten sowie jegliche Gegenstände wurden zu Objekten des Skizzierens für den Jugendlichen. Schule war nicht wirklich interessant, selbst die École des beaux arts in Paris erweiterte zwar sein Repertoire an Techniken und Sichtweisen, aber auf dem Weg der Selbstfindung scheint es nur eine Passage gewesen zu sein. Auf dem Weg der Abstraktion hat Paris allerdings die Kreativität stimuliert. Seine Skulpturen von Köpfen der Familie haben sich verallgemeinert, hin zum Universellen. Weit über seine Heimat hinaus sagen die Skulpturen des späteren Albertos uns etwas über Menschheit und Menschheitsgeschichte. Den Weg zu verstehen, den der „L‘homme qui marche“ bis zu seiner Verwirklichung beschritten hat, ist in der Ausstellung im Bündner Kunsthaus nachvollziehbar. Vielleicht mehr ein Lehrstück in Pädagogik und Kunstpädagogik, als in grandiosen Werken der Giacomettis. Welch ein Glück, dass sich Alberto von den Stilrichtungen anderer abgesetzt hat und einfach sein eigenes Ding gemacht hat. Beruf und Berufung können nahe beieinander liegen. Das ist die gute pädagogische Message.

Père de Giacometti par Alberto 1927 Kunsthaus Zürich gezeigt in Chur 2023


Im Forum Würth in Chur lässt sich in 2023 eine erfrischende Ergänzung zu der ebenfalls in Chur zu besuchenden Ausstellung der männlich dominierten Giacometti Familiensammlung erleben. Lotte, die Malerin, hat ein umfangreiches Werk von erlebten Landschaften hinterlassen. Dem Mäzen Würth ist es gelungen, einen bedeutenden Kontrapunkt zu setzen mit seiner Wertschätzung durch den Ankauf einer großen Sammlung. Weg von der bloßen Darstellung von Frauen durch Männer, hin zu Sichtweisen von Frauen. Im Begleittext zur Ausstellung wird treffend von einer Art bildlichem Reisetagebuch gesprochen. Ein Thema das den Kunst und kulturellen Diskurs in Chur seit Jahrzehnten beschäftigt. Aus der Gegenüberstellung zu den Giacometti Werken ergibt sich die Jahrtausende alte Frage des „l’homme qui marche“ und diese war und ist: „quo vadis“. Das ist denn auch der Titel eines im impressionistischen Stil ausgearbeitetes Gemälde von Lotte. Es ist gut in Szene gesetzt, auf violettem Hintergrund. Mäzene können Impulse geben, die dem oft beliebig erscheinenden Kunstmarkt emanzipatorische Anstöße geben. Kostenloser Besuch im Forum für reisende Familien besser als jeder Stopp an der Tankstelle, obwohl wir vor Ort richtig vollgetankt haben, im übertragenen Sinne.

Lotte Quo vadis 1995 Sammlung Würth


For everyone who enjoys a good walk, with or without dog, Alberto Giacometti is an artist of interest. The world-famous statue “L’homme qui marche” can be admired in several places. Chur (CH) is the artist’s place of death. The most prestigious galleries in Switzerland all have one or several of his art works. In the Bündner Museum in Chur three sculptures of women are perfectly put into correspondence in one exposition room. Eli and Anette from the years 1961 and 1965 talk to Francine with her arms closed in front (title: buste d’une femme). The latter one is from 1962, but was only finished and released as sculpture in 1966, the year of his death or departure. This seems to close a wide circle of creation in the life course of this itinerating artist. Walking the exhibition from sculpture to sculpture is a first step towards meditation walks. Awareness of the stories of the personalities involved widens our horizons. Alberto Giacometti is one of the many artists from the family of the Giacomettis. In the museum in Chur the other family members are well represented, too. Women artists seem to be missing there, probably this needs additional generations.

Bündner Kunstmuseum 2023

Work Satisfaction

There is an important distinction between job satisfaction and satisfaction with one’s work. Being satisfied with the work you have done or something you created or co-created has become almost a privilege. Production in capitalism has mostly different objectives like rent seeking rather than satisfaction with one’s work. Compromises between both are a major learning process about the functioning of labour markets. Remote work, for some, contributes a lot to more job satisfaction. For others a healthy work environment is the top priority. Many people however focus simply on pay packages and this is often out of sheer necessity to escape poverty eventually. Trades have a tradition to allow satisfaction with one’s work, more than most jobs in industry. Flat hierarchies and subordination to your own standards, rather than pressure from supervisors, are much more common. Recognition of your work adds to the pay you receive. Job turnover is related to job satisfaction but also to satisfaction or even identification with the product of your work.

There is more to work than pay. Recognition in form of winning a price in a competition may help to keep awareness high that pay is only one element of remuneration. “meilleur ouvrier de France“ is such a kind of recognition. It encourages people to try new things and test new ideas. This is a major source of satisfaction with one’s work. We might even feel sorry for someone shouting “I can get no satisfaction”. He probably has to try in a simpler or different fashion rather than to try harder. The city Dijon in Burgundy seems to have a pretty high number of people with high levels of work satisfaction and happy to show it.


Neben dem Kassenschlager des neuen Barbie Films lebt ein anderer Mythos der Mädchenjahre weiter. Die in der Nähe von Zurich im Kanton Graubünden gebürtige Schriftstellerin Johanna Spyri hatte zwei Bücher mit Kindergeschichten im 19. Jahrhundert mit Namen Heidi verfasst. Dieser Ausgangspunkt bot zahlreichen Verfilmungen eine verwertbare Basis. Die Geschichten der kleinen Heidi wurden überraschenderweise von Filmstudios in Japan zu dem Welterfolg 1974 im Animé Format geschaffen.

Computer Animationen sind nichts Neues, und statt aus Japan kommen viele nun auch aus Südkorea. Outsourcing zur Gewinnmaximierung war schon immer ein verlässliche, gewinnorientierte Produktionsmöglichkeit. Lediglich für so etwas wie Kulturgüter glaubten wir, wäre das nicht so einfach. Filmrechte werden gehandelt wie andere Waren. Hohe Einschaltquoten werden uns noch mehr Heidis und Barbies im Filmformat bringen. Das werden wir aushalten müssen.


Over the 20th century technology has pushed forward in many fields. As there were huge investments needed the public campaigns to support new technology without much further reflection of potential consequences have pulled many western societies into risky technologies. Except the Club of Rome there were very few to question the naïve beliefs that technological change will make societies rich and potentially even more equal. The recent report “Climate Inequality Report 2023: Unequal Contributions to Climate Change” has debunked both of these claims. More flying across the planet, particularly short city hopping, has allowed few persons to reap the benefits of the jet-set world, but contributed to climate change in excessive quantities. This is a fact when we compare major world regions among each other as well as within each country. It has to be the wealthy countries that have to shoulder the biggest share of the costs. It has to be the wealthy that pay higher contributions for their pollution. Society has to reign in technology more than ever before. Moreover, we still have to get the income and pollution distribution organised in a better way. It is not only an implementation challenge, but the major question of the 21st century to repair the damage largely caused throughout the 20th century.

20th Century

The 20th century has told us many lessons. History does not repeat itself, but it appears that new variants of old themes keep coming back. Slowly passing the century like a movie in decades instead of episodes, we witness socio-emotional tides. The first decade, the 00s intensify the beginning of urban planning and social revolutions. The 10s show the arousal and subsequent extinction of masses of people in trenches. The 20s were described as the Carefree Twenties. In the 30s we observed the rising tides of fascist organisations followed shortly afterwards by the disastrous 40s. After the Shoah and the World War the 50s were fabulous viewed from the U.S. and Western Europe. The 60s propagated sex, drugs and rock n’ roll spreading across continents. The wild 70s became almost inescapable through the continued rise of mass media. The 80s were depicted as the colourful 80s as the 2 previous decades had set the scene for psychedelic colours. The 1990s have been coined as the gay 90s by some. Coming out as a gay person became easier and Western societies more sensitive and open to diversity. The back cover of the recent publication by Aurélien Bellanger “Le vingtième siècle” (The 20th century) speaks of the book as “roman polyphonique virtuose”. I look back on the 20th century as “polyphone” in many respects. It would be an illusion to believe we can only keep the nice sounding harmonies without the tensions or dissonances.