Futures. Selected Work (2003–2015) of Corinna Schnitt
For Future Perfect Schnitt has made a drone fly over and around the town hall of Marl (Germany), which – with its sculpture museum Glaskasten – was part of Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017. A camera films the once utopian but now dilapidated building, which itself represents a "past future". Randomly present persons of different sexes and ages come into the picture, as do eight protagonists employed by Schnitt, who seem to call out sentences to each other with megaphones. These sentences, spoken in the time form Future Perfect, which since long is barely used in the German language, are heard in Voiceover. The actors holding the megaphones are never shown speaking, and their voices do not correspond with the images. Through this, Schnitt generalizes the statements made: they apply to everyone who sees the film, as well as to those who stand in Marl with megaphones on the town hall square or who happen to be passers-by there.
On closer inspection and listening, it quickly becomes clear that many sentences are precisely related to the respective situation in the film. For example, there is talk of a lottery win while the camera is filming an ugly block of houses. Or it says, "You will have been very happy", while a group of elderly people, pushing walking aids, passes by. A group of youths hanging out on the square is promised by the voice: "You will have been very successful" and "You will have lived in big houses". Towards the end of the film follows a kind of possible life review: "Until the end we will all have been very happy", "You will have lived a long, fulfilled life", while we see a young mother looking after her children on a playground. They do not know yet that one day they will look back. Such agitating formulations, which can also be understood as Memento Mori, are sometimes ironically broken. Thus the statement: "They will again have only talked about trivialities " is countered by a series of questions about food, such as "What will mother have cooked?"
While Future Perfect shows us possibilities of how we might think about our lives in the future, our second film, Next Time, deals with the immediate future of the two children who are now protagonists. They are still too young for the dialogue they are engaged in; the discrepancy between their young bodies, which are about to reach puberty, and their voices to the texts they present is obvious. But the clichéd relationship that is reflected in these texts is already threatening the children; in a sense, it is already luring around the corner. The scenario, as the film shows towards the end, takes place in the context of an over-civilized world, namely on a huge, green traffic island in Eindhoven. Basically, this is the same urban context as it is portrayed in Future Perfect. In this way, Schnitt creates a downright horror scenario embedded in bourgeois clichés, to which the children will be "exposed".
The protagonists of Living a Beautiful Life, the third film of our exhibition, are in a completely different situation. Here we watch a successful white US-American married couple enjoy and praise their lives and the successes they have achieved together. The film could also have been called As Good As It Gets, because the situation described is so fabulous. But: the scene is set. Actors speak a script written by Corinna Schnitt. It is based on the answers given by teenagers from Los Angeles to the question of their ideas, dreams and desires about their own future. With this knowledge, the presumed success of the couple and their consumer-oriented view of the world is rather misleading, even frightening.
Schnitt has collected such statements from young people both in Los Angeles and in Cologne and we will present a selection of 20 of them. It is remarkable that the statements of the young people from Cologne do not differ so much from those of their Californian peers. At the end of the exhibition, an artist book with facsimiles of such statements will be published.