Resistance and Appropriation. Poetry and Film Subculture in the GDR 1976–89

Lecture with film samples by Claus Löser
October 3, 7pm

Clubraum Rote Fabrik
Seestrasse 395, Zürich


Image: A.R. Penck, Terror in Dresden (1978) // Courtesy Archiv “ex.oriente.lux”, Berlin


GDR film subculture in its gesture clearly stood out from state-socialist film making. Its protagonists could hardly identify with state-owned film studio DEFA imagery and thus, drawing on provisional means, searched for their own images. Since imitating “real cinema” with the cine film cameras at hand would have been pointless anyway, one did not even try that.
Mostly without knowledge of the Western film avant-garde, in the last decade of the Cold War a lively scene emerged that conquered an open terrain – sometimes with relish, sometimes involving self-destruction. The actors at that time were not “filmmakers” in the traditional sense, but resolutely appropriated the moving images in the course of a comprehensive synesthetic process. Often, they were musicians, painters, photographers, poets and artists of life all at once.
Various gestures of self-search and fragmentary influences of the international arts combined into a rare amalgam, with poetry and performance as important building blocks as well. The films today prove to be vital testimonies of resistance and appropriation.
The lecture features some examples of this cultural-historical phenomenon, explains the political-aesthetic background, and gives insights into the biographies of those involved.

Claus Löser (born 1962 in Karl-Marx-Stadt, today Chemnitz) is a film critic, filmmaker, author, curator and lecturer. In 1995 he completed his film studies in Potsdam-Babelsberg with a diploma. In 1996 he founded the film archive “ex.oriente.lux”, which is dedicated to East German underground and experimental films. Löser lives and works in Berlin.

In cooperation with Konzeptbüro der Roten Fabrik
* The lecture will be held in German


Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective
16.09. – 28.10.2018

Opening Hours
Tue–Fri 2–6pm
Sat–Sun 12am–6pm

Upcoming curator’s tours and talks:
14.10. 14:00 with Tomáš Glanc
28.10. 16:00 with Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc and Māra Traumane


The exhibition is embedded within the research project “Performance Art in Eastern Europe (1950–1990): History and Theory” which is funded by a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and hosted and supported by University of Zurich.

Supported by:
Stadt Zürich Kultur
Migros Kulturprozent
Dr. Georg und Josi Guggenheim-Stiftung
Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague


Seestrasse 395
8038 Zürich