Agricola de Cologne’s “Silent Cry”
Today on 17 February 2005, Wilfried becomes a pioneer by opening the 1st Internet based new media work in Palestine –The RRF Project @ the International Center Bethlehem. Why Bethlehem? well, Bethlehem is the twin-city of Cologne, and nobody had done such project in Palestine before. The RRF Project – RRF ist standing for “Remebering-Repressing-Forgetting” is dealing with essential questions of human existence- and some of the fundamental issues are “identity” and “memory”. Both terms depend on each other – Wilfried is referring to his own life, when he started in 2000 a new life, there was no memory and no identity, yet. Both were re-shaped only slowly. Finding out how other people, other artists in the world deal with these basic issues – this was the topic of The RRF Project.
Before today in the evening the exhibition will be opened, Wilfried will be holding a lecture at the Catholic University Bethlehem, an introduction into the interactive installation of The RRF Project at The International Center – this is a cultural center of the Christian Community in Bethlehem, including also the guest room, where Wilfried is residing like in 4 stars hotel. The students mainly young Arab women are unusually interested in the aspect of interactivity, they cannnot imagine how the viewer can become interactive by dealing with an art work, while viewing an analogue picture is not requiring any physical activity. Only a few hours later, the gallery will be crowded. It is like all students of the university would be attending, and then – they see the objects of desire, the computers where The RRF Project is installed – and- then it happens, slowly the young people understands the principle of the interactive art work, how they can take influence on the perception of the work by following the complex interactivity – and when they recognize the principle – Wilfried is being touched profoundly by the naive enthusiasm, these young women have found the gate to a new world – a new way of dealing with art – artistic contents.
Wilfried is thinking, such revelations are the most precious moments in life! If an art work is experienced like that just by one single person, it would be worthwhile to create an artwork for that very moment of revelation.
The days in Bethlehem allow Wilfried also to explore the Christian dominated city by walking, and then – he istanding in front of the hugh wall, the Israeli are errecting in order to separate Israeli from Palestinian territory – Wilfried is touched by the innocence of young arab children who use the area of the unfinished wall construction as a play ground. Luckily his video camera is ready to record the scene – when Wilfried returns to Cologne he will make one of his impressing videos, entitled – Message from Behind a Wall.
Primarily this dying is related to “Agricola de Cologne”, this media art project creating Wilfried’s new identity and memory initiated on 1 January 2000. By initiating NewMediaFest2020, the dying process of “Agricola de Cologne” started and will be finished only at the end of the year 2020. On 00.00h on 31 December “Agricola de Cologne” will be dead, and Wilfried’s physical shell will be left hopefully still alive. So, by following The 365 Diary, the viewer/ online user is participating in this dying process recalling much of the memory generated during the past 20 years.
Dying is not new to Wilfried, and it’s nothing Wilfried is afraid of. He died many times due to experienced traumata, but the most damage of dying was representing the coma 1998/99 leaving a chaos from which Wilfried finally nevertheless was rising like phenix from the ashes. Dying in 2020 means something else, it is saying farwell to a world he had been building up during 20 years. But its time to say farewell because a period running for such a long time is finished, and nothing is left to say.
Wilfried was afraid of the moment to say farewell to all which was chracterizing him, the enthusiasm – the flight of the phenix, but his wings are lame, and Wilfried feels a new burning desire for something completely different, a new challenge which is appropriate to his age, but it is not clear yet, how the new might look like.
When Agricola de Cologne started 20 years ago, he was ageless, like an avatar, it was the self-created image of the abundance of energy and creativity. It was Wilfried who was growing old, and at a certain point his real age and the agelessness of Agricola de Cologne did not correspond with each other any longer.
During the 2nd half of these 20 years, Wilfried lost everything which was motivating him to fight and overciome the highest hurdles, his partner, his mother, all friends, his health was attacked every two years by accidents or physical attacks, and for some reasons Wilfried always survived indicating it was not the time to go, yet.
The accident in 2017, was so traumatic, that Wilfried – left with the paralyzis of his left body side was about to give up and he started already to handle his death, when something unexpected happened, that an Indian guy, named Sudipta Dawn was inviting him to collaborate. This had an enormous pushing effect and Wilfriedd stopped the dying process which had already begun.
But it was nevertheless the beginning of the end, because the general circimstances of life and art, which was representing simply all to Wilfried, had changed, Wilfried does not like this world any more in which he is living, he does not like the daily corruption and the carelessness of people. Grown up since 2000 with technology, technology had change people’s mentality profoundly, Facebook was generating a new typ of people focussing exclusive on themselves, so in the end in terms of the art Wilfried was practising for the past 20 years, there was nothing left to say. Wilfried was speachless.
The city of Cologne which Wilfried had been chosen as his centre of life more than 40 years ago is representing nowadays a nightmare in many concern, and now the unexpected happened, Wilfried did not want his identity project “Agricola de Cologne” to be connected with the name of the city any longer, because he did not identify himself with the city and was the city is standing for, , so ”Agricola de Cologne” was suddenly condemned to death, if Wilfried wanted to continue in which way ever under which identity ever.
NewMediaFest2020 is the media art project collecting most of the memory of the past 20 years – Wilfried likes the idea to share this memory with those people, who made “Agricola de Cologne” only possible, his artists collegues all over the world and it feels much better to share the dying process, as well.
It is so sad to die, but Wilfried is happy already today, when “Agricola de Cologne” will be dead, what’s happening afterwards time will tell.