the time is now.
In her artistic work, Heidrun Holzfeind repeatedly deals with modern architecture. How do spaces that emerged from social utopias function in people's everyday lives? How does the relationship between collective and individual identity, between social standardization and freedom change in a present increasingly shaped by digital technologies and media?
The examination of these questions can also be found in her portrait of the Japanese improvisation duo Toshio and Shizuko Orimo called IRO, which consists of two films. the time is now. illuminates the border between art and life or its dissolution in IRO's impressively uncompromising practice that closely links musical experiment, political activism, and a sustainable lifestyle. Everything they do is an expression of an animistic worldview that resists any kind of commercialization.
the time is now. I shows a performance by IRO in the outdoor space of the Inter-University Seminar House in Hachioji near Tokyo. The 1964 building complex designed by Takamasa Yosizaka is an outstanding example of brutalist concrete architecture, but it is based on an understanding of the systemic interconnectedness of all things. The performance, partly covered with color filters and complemented by images of the surrounding nature, is followed by an improvisation by IRO on piano and double bass. Holzfeind combines the studio concert with original recordings of protests against the US military presence in Okinawa and the expansion of Tokyo's international airport Narita, among other footage, as well as IRO's last punk concert in 1987. Under the impression of the Chernobyl reactor catastrophe one year before, IRO decided to use only acoustic instruments from then on.
The second film, the time is now. II, provides insight into the artist couple's personal universe: their musical roots, their philosophical and spiritual influences, their commitment against the destruction of the planet. »What we're doing is ultimately futile. But the reason we continue is not so to change the world, but so that we won’t be changed by the world«, says Toshio, paraphrasing Gandhi's famous phrase that if people change themselves, they can change the world. »We don’t want to be controlled. We want to be free.« (Florian Wüst)
In my videos, photography, sculptures and installations I address questions of the documentary mode in general, and the social function of architecture and alternative ways of life that renounce consumerism in particular. My works examine strategies of resistance and the potential for social change inherent in a day-to-day life devoted to self-development, artistic expression, and collective personal growth. Combining extensive research with poetic charm, my works probe the interrelations between society and identity, between individual histories and the political narratives of the present. (Heidrun Holzfeind)
Images: Heidrun Holzfeind, the time is now., 2019 © Heidrun Holzfeind & VG Bild-Kunst