The main topic of Christoph Draeger’s film trilogy is the turbulent period of the late 1960’s. My Generation (2007), Blow Up, Stroll On (2006) and Hippie Movie (2007) were based on three carefully chosen paradigmatic ‘scenes’ that symbolize the rise and fall of the Hippie era. Born in 1965, Draeger chose to relive these moments in order to enjoy and ironically simulate events that he could not have been an active part of.
Christoph Draeger shows The End of the Remake Trilogy:
The first part of the trilogy, Blow Up, Stroll On, 2006, 3:00 min, consists in an exact remake of the Club scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966), in which Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds destroys his guitar. The remake was re-enacted as closely as possible to the original scene – the entire club was being rebuilt in a studio, the extras and actors wore similar costumes, the acting and camera positions were closely followed. The piece was shot in Birmingham in September 2006 during a residency at Springhill Institute for Contemporary Art.
The second part, My Generation, 2007, 5:00 min, is the video of a performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon – a remake of the last five minutes of the Monterey Pop Festival show by the British band The Who in 1967. Oraeger as Pete Townshend and three american musician friends are playing the song My Generation using authentie costumes and instruments- and brutally destroy them at the end in a cacophony of feedback. The explosive power and the inherent aggression of the performance expresses both, the revolutionary optimism and utopie spirit of the era and its foreseeable, dystopic ending.
Hippie Movie, 2008, 53:00 min is the most complex and political part of the trilogy. Shot in HO video and Super-8, it is a free-wheeling documentary about a Hippie movement named Tropolicalia, which Christoph Oraeger founded as an ironie remake of San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967. Ouring his three months residency at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw in the summer of 2007, the artist reenacted, and actually lived with friends and volunteers aspects of hippie life and ideology – together they celebrated Love and Peace and Happiness as a public participatory performance. 1960’s Poland was behind the Iron Curtain and naturally didn’t enjoy anything like the Summer of Love, so these reenactments became a surreal, belated premiere for Warsaw. The film is acelebration of the inventions of 1960’s rock music, a hallucinatory, post-psychedelic visual trip, but it also inherently reveals that it was made 40 years too late: autopie recreation of total escape now lost to us.
Directed by Christoph Draeger. Hippie Movie is a funny, romantic documentary about a “hippie” movement, named Tropolicalia, which was founded by Draeger in Warsaw as an ironic revisiting of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, 1967. The film meditates on the political, social, and cultural behavior associated with the hippie movement, which confronted many issues—rising social injustice, an unpopular war, ecological concerns—that seem to be making a comeback today. It is also a celebration of the inventions of 1960s rock music and, last but not least, a hallucinatory, post-psychedelic visual trip.
Christoph Draeger (b. 1965 in Zurich, Switzerland) is a multimedia artist. He currently lives and works between Vienna and New York. He studied art at Ecole National Superieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels, Belgium (1990-1991) and at the School of Visual Arts in Lucerne, Switzerland (1986-1990). In 1996/1997 he was the Swiss artist-in-residence at the P.S.1 international studio program in New York, and in 2005/2006, he was the Landis & Gyr Stiftung artist-in-residence in London.
Draeger’s body of work takes form in installation, video, and photo-based media to explore issues pertaining to disaster and media-saturated culture. His works are based on historical events as well as apocalyptic scenes that the artist has created in his studio. He builds and photographs model landscapes that symbolize natural and man-made disasters. He’s also using press images of catastrophe for the production of large scale jigsaw puzzles for the acclaimed series “The Most Beautiful Disasters In the World”, many of which can be found in private and in museum collections. His videos often borrow from news footage, Hollywood movies and amateur video, which are then edited together into a contrived allegory for real catastrophic events. Draeger’s work parallels the objectivity found in news documentation of such events with the exploitative forces that manipulate the audience’s perception of that news.
Christoph Draeger’s web site: www.christophdraeger.com