Changing consciousness with art and declaring war on the established art market – that is the declared goal of networker, curator, artist and ex-banker Bernhard Zünkeler, the protagonist of a very unusual documentary film project by an unusual filmmaker. Aljoscha Pause has been working on his film “Art is a State of Mind” for almost ten years, which 3sat will broadcast in a primetime marathon on Saturday.
Ten years of production and six hours of broadcast time for a TV documentary, where else does that exist? Is it not just an artist who is declaring war on a market, but also a documentary filmmaker who is declaring war on the short-lived television business, where 30 to 45 minute documentaries late at night are the order of the day?
It takes a little courage to embark on such a journey, Pause tells the Tagesspiegel. “I’ve already done a few long-term studies and I always feel that this deliberately completely open-ended form really appeals to me.” The writer Cornelia Funke says in his current series: “I never want to know the end. I always let the story come to me. I believe that any kind of creativity works like entering a maze. And what you look for in it tries to hide itself.”
The author still remembers the moment when Funke told him this in an interview. “Something clicked for me. Scripted things have always turned me off. That was also one of the reasons why I looked for and found this elaborate approach for myself.” Of course, this mode makes it difficult to win collaborators for such a documentary in advance.
In the long run, says Pause, it is difficult if not impossible to convince platforms, broadcasters or sponsors right from the start. “The risk is too great for them and the objective too abstract. Even if someone has as much experience with these distances as I do. The projects are only possible if I take the full risk myself.”
Of course, every long-term documentary is always characterized by dry spells. “And here I mean really long-distance: up to ten years.” Pause has seen it more often recently, also and especially with the public broadcasters, that documentaries for which a politician was accompanied for three months are sold as a long-term study .
“For me, that’s a bit of a misnomer. If you really go over many years, imponderables occur that companies with a strong business focus cannot calculate.”
It was worth it, for the director and the audience. But you have to be able to get involved with a man for more than six hours, who comments on his actions and is commented on by companions. We follow Bernhard Zünkeler over nine years as he builds his own artist collective and establishes a global network with like-minded people between Berlin, Los Angeles and Havana, where there are also points of tension and trouble with the Cuban system.
The commercial lawyer had previously quit his highly paid job at a large bank in order to devote himself to his true passion: art. If you really want to live art, you have to take the absolute risk, according to the credo of the 57-year-old.
His goal is not only his own self-discovery, but nothing less than to change the world with art, to counter the art market, which sees art primarily as an investment, with his vision of socially effective art.
If you accept this utopia and accept one or two redundancies, the story follows itself. Aljoscha Pause adds nothing more, but also nothing less than meditative images and his special approach and sensitive handling of radically creative ones People. TV tip for the weekend: Documentary binge watching!