Sven Johne/ Sebastian Orlac, Weiße Gewalt / White Storm (Source Material), 2020

05. Kampfziel

„Battle target Peninsula Mönchgut.
In the name of the SED district and county leadership and the Council of the Rügen County, comrade Edwin Kasper, First Secretary of the Rügen County leadership, conveyed his extraordinary thanks to the men of the crew of multi snow blowers from Karl Marx Stadt for their self-sacrificing fight against the snow blockade on the island. In the early morning hours of January 2, they had started from Stralsund to break up the F96, the most important traffic artery of the island of Rügen, with their snow blowers. The target was to open up the Mönchgut peninsula by the evening of January 03. It was achieved. Comrade Kasper praised the heroes, courage of the men in ice and snow with warm words. He honoured six of the eight men as the activists of the Socialist Work and handed over a prize to two of them.“

This week, Sven Johne presents six videos as a sneak peek into his new work in progress: a work about the snow catastrophe on the island of Rügen which happened in the winter of 1978/1979.

These films are not works of art, but only a filmed collection of the material for a photo-text work I’m currently developing with Sebastian Orlac. The work is about the snow catastrophe on the island of Rügen in 1978/79 — the place where I was living then — and the reflection of this state of emergency today. A contemporary witness tells a child about the crisis and he talks about the “heroism“ of his generation. The core of this work is about „masculinity“ and „defensiveness“ — or rather the tradition of these constructed and questionable self-attributions… The six small videos, however, only show the source materials for the work: a lot of photos from the press published in 1978/79 and the newspaper articles read by the children. It is interesting that we talk about a snow catastrophe in times of global warming. My son at the age of nine has seen the snow only once in Berlin.” — Sven Johne