19th Art Division Excellence Award
KASUGA (Andreas LUTZ / Christoph GRÜNBERGER) [Germany]
The video installation Wutbürger deals with the personal anger and individual failure of a German man. The protagonist Stefan W. (an “everyman”) lives through different stages of his life in retrospective, which finally casts him to a hostile present, that becomes a prison with no way out. In a custom-built wooden box, a five-hour performance was first recorded and is now exhibited in exactly this box (with rear projection) again. During a guerilla intervention tour through Germany called “Isolation episod”, the box was placed in front of typical locations carrying a collective “Wutbürger potential” (Nuclear power plants, European Central Bank, Mass surveillance facilities) but also containing subjects of personal anger like hedonism, boring suburbs, and neglect. The box acts as a demonstrating and protesting surrogate for everybody.
Reason for Award
The German word “Wutbürger” means “enraged citizen”. Used to refer to those who raise their voices in opposition to a variety of political issues, it was chosen as Germany’s “Word of the Year” in 2010. But the protagonist, who dwells in a box throughout this 13-act, one-man play, is angry about very personal concerns. Initially, it seems as if a political issue has been reinterpreted as something personal. But as part of a project called the “Isolation episode”, the artists brought the box to places where protests against things like nuclear power plants and the European Central Bank seemed likely to occur. This allowed personal and political anger to intersect again. It might seem far-fetched to invoke the feminist phrase, “The personal is the political”, but the work is outstanding in that it questions the contemporary relationship between the two, and depicts a topical subject in a humorous manner. (SATOW Morihiro)