David Krippendorff | Germany

Small Fee, 2009

8:51 minutes

Courtesy of the artist

David Krippendorff focuses on the stereotypical verbal racism with which “others” get defined and excluded. All possible deviations or "different" qualities are included in the listings that justify exclusion. Whether religious or ethnic affiliation, skin color, dialect and speaking ability, excessive or insufficient assimilation, all aspects can be cited.

The real reasons actually lie in economy, in the competition for social advancement that can be found in all social positions. The insults, threats, and hateful sentences are aimed at the destruction of dignity and integrity. The only thing that remains in the end is violence.

Borrowing from advertisement style where slogans hammer the names of their products into the consumers’ mind, Krippendorff torpedoes the viewer in a dark cabinet with his projection of typical sentences of prejudice and aggression.

These racist slogans, in their bright colors, shoot at the optic nerves like poison arrows from the depths of space in an ever-increasing movement. They burn the eyes undermining the common strategy of publicity, whose goal is to reach in an almost undetected way the consumer-oriented part of the brain.

Krippendorff’s work is based on the script of West Side Story, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in a New York of the 50s shaped by racism. Racist exclusion from society may be seen as pars pro toto for current worldwide stereotypical situations. In final analysis, the work is a plea for an universal and anti-national society.

Text: Matthias Reichelt