Project: Strategies To Survive - Cockaigne (Schlaraffenland)
Date: April 2006
This performance, held in occasion of the inauguration of the Open University, aims at making visitors reflect on strategies to survive in the contemporary society. A lecture by Markus Schlagniweit followed, in which he proposed a general income for everyone. Cockaigne, the land of plenty, was an ideal point of departure in order to talk about the saturation of the physical needs and of the human mind in our society with consummation on the one hand, and an increasing number of a (financially) poor population on the other hand. With the participation of the visitor the imagined land of Cockaigne was realised. Behind a ricemilk wall (following one of the traditional descriptions of Cockaigne) guests expected the promised land. Instead of a room with plenty of products, they found a dark space in which a person welcomed them and asked them, one at a time, how does their land of plenty look like and what would happen, if it becomes a reality. The voices were recorded and diffused in the hall of the conference.
Some of the visitors took the opportunity to compare the land of plenty with the paradise, in which food should not play an important role anymore. The reason for this confusion can also be found in the previous task of the whole building, in which the gallery is incorporated. The Minoriten was a monastery. Issues of faith, desires and projections in connection with the theme of survival strategies provoked a lively discussion among the visitors.