Nothing about this project was fictional. The organisation exists and the Integration Officer was working energetically. Barbara Schmidt has spent 14 years working in Mülheim in cultural and theatre education and has extensive experience of social work – albeit primarily with people who have very little income. She is also a trained actor. This meant that she was able to bring both the skills of acting a role and her own life experience to her character.
Just as real as the Integration Officer was the outrage at the proposed monumental sculpture THE GREAT DIVIDE – even though the artists had deliberately exaggerated their plan for the art work to such an extent that they were convinced nobody could seriously believe the sculpture would be realised. Nevertheless, in the perception of the public it clearly seemed more logical that a project of this kind would be realised than that serious consideration would be given to integrating persons from wealthy backgrounds. Despite all the organisation’s efforts with information stands in busy locations, home visits, mail shots, press releases and a comprehensive campaign on social media, it was unable to integrate a single wealthy person successfully.
What has the greater effect? An organisation that actually attempts to achieve integration work and to inspire people to take an active part in society or an art work that might illustrate the inequality of our society but which is never built?
Activities of the organisation Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.:
13.04. press release announcing the beginning of Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.‘s activities; launch of the organisation’s social media campaign
16.–26.04. poster campaign by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in Mülheim an der Ruhr
20.–21.04. information stands by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in Mülheim an der Ruhr
03.05. mail shot by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in wealthy districts of Mülheim an der Ruhr
17.05.–13.06. regular phone surgeries by the Integration Officer for Persons with a wealthy background
18.05. poster campaign “integrate the rich” by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in Mülheim an der Ruhr
21.–22.05. home visits by the Integration Officer for persons from wealthy backgrounds in Mülheim-Uhlenhorst, information stands by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in Mülheim an der Ruhr
26.05., 18:00–19:00, video conference
panel discussion ‘Fears and Concerns of Persons with Wealthy Backgrounds’
The psychotherapist Christian Lessiak spoke to the Integration Officer about the question of how wealth can influence the behaviour and mental health of individuals. Is a return to the middle of society a suitable method of therapy?
27.05. digital meeting of interested parties by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.
29.05. information stands by Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. in Mülheim an der Ruhr
Web presence of Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.:
Activities supporting THE GREAT DIVIDE:
Opening of the building site box for THE GREAT DIVIDE
03.06., 17:30–19:00, video conference
In conversation with the historian Eva Gajek and the sociologist Volker Kersting, Club Real attempted to get to the bottom of the phenomenon of social inequality: how can social inequality be defined? And how does it become visible in cities? What truth is there in Club Real’s claim that the divide between rich and poor will pose a danger to society if it becomes too wide? And above all: what do we do about it?
13.06., 18:00–20:00, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr
Originally a ceremony was announced here at which the artists from Club Real would provide insights into how the project came about and “report on the exciting realisation of this complex art action.” Why Mülheim? Why a giant pair of scissors? And what effect can this action have on society in the city? Integration Officer Barbara Schmidt did indeed make a speech, in which she revealed that Eigentum verpflichtet e.V. was part of the CITY PROJECT. This was followed by the premiere of the film that documented the origin and process of the project as a whole.
Club Real: Paz Ponce, Mathias Lenz, Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck, Georg Reinhardt
Integration Commissioner for People with an Asset Background: Barbara Schmidt
Documentary, Press officer Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.: Valentin Scholz
Social Media Eigentum verpflichtet e.V.: Lena Busse
Dramaturgy: Haiko Pfost, Wilma Renfordt
Production Management: Zsolt Káldy
Production Assistant: Anna Jungfer
In the framework of the CITY PROJEKT – EIGENTUM VERPFLICHTET E.V., two subprojects have been realised:
The CITY PROJECT – THE GREAT DIVIDE is a coproduction of Club Real, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr and the Impulse Theater Festival funded by the Kunststiftung NRW and the Fonds Darstellende Künste.
The CITY PROJECT – THE INTEGRATION REPRESENTATIVE is a coproduction of Club Real, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr and the Impulse Theater Festival funded by the Kunststiftung NRW and the Fonds Soziokultur.
Lena Busse studied Comparative Literature, Art History and Media Studies in Bonn, Graz and Cologne. Her topics of special interest are analogue and digital performance culture and the art market. She currently works mainly in the theatre and dance sector in North Rhine-Westphalia in the field of (international) online communications and production for a range of institutions, festivals and independent companies.
The group of artists Club Real has been producing participatory, site-specific projects since 2000: in installations, one-to-one encounters, political role-play and participatory urban development projects, Club Real invites visitors to help devise alternative constructs of reality. From 2015 to 2017 the group created the project ‘Folkstheater / Teatr Ludowy’ in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice, publishing a book about this with the Verlag Theater der Zeit in 2018: ‘Partizipation Stadt Theater’. In 2019 Club Real was represented at the 13th Havana Biennale in Cuba with the immersive performance installation ‘LASA10CARNAVAL’. Club Real is currently working in Berlin und Freiburg on the participatory political experiment ‘Jenseits der Natur’, a pilot project that also grants political rights to living creatures that are not human. The Viennese work in this series was invited to the Impulse SHOWCASE in 2019. For THE GREAT DIVIDE Paz Ponce, Mathias Lenz, Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck and Georg Reinhardt are working together as Club Real.
Barbara Schmidt studied Acting in Vienna and Theatre Studies in Munich. As an actor she has worked at Theater Oberhausen, in Vienna at the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Burgtheater, and at the Volkstheater in Munich. She has been seen in film and tv productions including ‘Tannöd’ and ‘Wilsberg’ and also works as an announcer for e.g. WDR. She has written numerous radio plays and commentaries for Bayerische Rundfunk. She has also been active as a freelance education worker for theatre and culture since 1997 and on behalf of the cultural sector in Mülheim an der Ruhr since 2007.
Valentin Scholz is a film-maker and video magician. He studied Economic History in Bonn, Film Production in Cologne and worked in the constituency office of a member of the NRW state parliament. Whether the project is a low budget action film, party propaganda, a family portrait, a punk rock music video, a promotional film for an Oscar winner or a 90-minute football documentary, Valentin Scholz loves working in film and refuses to be limited in his choice of subjects.