Background - 3 years ago I started researching Dauercamper communities as I was intrigued by their political ambiguity. Community members seemed quite ambivalent about the notion of a community; instead of sharing a set of ideals, Dauercampers suggested a pragmatic cohabitation.
This context echoed a broader observation that the desire to live independently brings together a diverse, and politically disparate group of people. An anti-state discourse promoting autonomy for the individual runs from the libertarian right, to the Conservative middle, to the autonomous left.
This ideological mashup is most palpable online, within the movement to decentralise the Internet. Technologies such as Blockchain promise non-hierarchical, peer-to-peer platforms, but also operate on a raw market-based logic. There is a distinct possibility that these decentralising technologies will be co-opted by the centralised economies that they oppose.
These experiences and observations shaped and produced Die Dauercamperin. What started as an audio installation which explores two very different positions regarding independence, emerged is a meta-exhibition which is concerned with how all gestures of independence can be appropriated and instrumentalised.
Info - Part of: Urbane Kunst Ruhr, Supported by: innogy Stiftung, Kunststiftung NRW, Actors: Ewa Rataj, Michael Witte, Production: Jens Muehlhoff, Sound Design: Carlo Peters, Concept: Sam Hopkins with Jens Muehlhoff.
In brief - Die Dauercamperin stages the celebration of Lena Bauer and the offline community Dezent by The People Company (ppc) a dominant tech company in the future. The installation combines dramatised audio fragments, stage design and exhibitionary conventions to ask how the agency of the individual and the notion of independence can manifest in a networked world.
Story - In 2020, a growing backlash against the power of Tech and the tyranny of Big Data causes thousands of individuals to move into self-governed and autonomous Intentional Communities. One of these communities is Dezent, co-founded by Lena and her partner Holger in an abandoned patch of land on Rheinische Strasse in Dortmund.
The everyday experience of a small community reveals Lena and Holger to have different understandings of independence. Holger rejects global networks and technology and wants to revert to an (imagined) past in which communities lived self-sufficiently. Lena aspires to use technology to decentralise power away from commercial and state interests. By 2029 Lena has left Holger, moved out of Dezent and started working at The People Company (ppc).
One hundred years later the global technological landscape has radically changed. The People Company (ppc) have adapted the discourse of decentralisation to their top-down commercial agenda. They mark their centenary by 'honouring' everyday heroes, a form of appropriating the positions of former activists such as Lena and Holger