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8 February 2020


Videoart feature
selection ColognOFF – brave new world


Wilfried had been asked many times about his concepts for developing his Universe of immaterial art. People did not understand, that all the initiatives, projects and artworks were the work of one single person – Wilfried was always all in one person – the artist, curator, director of films, festivals and exhibitions, the creator, designer, programmer of all the art contents which gave people the impression, a team of a major company would be busy day and night – whatever he did, he did it according to the necessity of the very moment, for instance the necessity to use a computer, although he had no idea what a computer might be when he saw one for the 1st time sometime after the coma, thus he was doing things mostly in a spontaneous inspiration and less as the result of a previous intellectual process. The conceptual process started therefore mostly afterwards after he had initiated a project.

In order to verify Wilfried’s situation when he created himself as a virtual instance on 1 January 2000, one has to consider that Wilfried lost his complete memory due to the coma 1998/99, and he was 50 years old, when he started his new life. Thus, recently new born, he was no baby, but a person in an advanced age which is identified in our youth oriented society as old, as that period of life leading to death sooner or later, thus a phase without any real perspectives.

Wilfried tried to explain in his interviews how he started from point zero in its literary sense, so to speak with a completely empty hard drive – his brain, of course, it was not completely empty when he opened his eyes for the 1st time after he woke up from the coma, but the neural network was not activated, yet, there was apparently no memory in it which he could refer to when he started to explore the new world he was born into.

Nothing was left, no knowledge from his academic and art study, nor his experiences during his previous 50 years, he did not even know, what art might represent, at all, but that’s important, the general creativity which had marked his former life was forming obviously also the basic condition for his personality to be shaped anew, probably it was even stronger than before. It was remarkable that he found his way to art in an instance, as if this were his destiny. And it was the new form in shape of digital art, which, however, was not new to Wilfried, because he did not remember the old art before the coma – for him it was that art, at all, while the classic art media remained alien to him. Only much later, he allowed himself to be confronted with his artworks created before 1999. He could not believe, that he had done such wonderful works – he was looking at them like a person visiting a museum, probably full of enthusiasm on one side, but on the other side in a kind of emotional distance, as if he could not believe that he was the creator.

But differently than a baby, Wilfried was learning in a breathtaking speed, one could get the idea the neural network of his brain was about the explode, Wilfried was hyperactive, after he recognised, that he could speed up the increase of the internal networking structures by initiating one project after another, sometimes he was working on 4 or 5 projects simultaneously, everything seemed to influence the other, in a speed of time he got unexpected insights into art, or actually his specific art, like probably only few people get that way. Micha, Wilfried’s partner recognized Wilfried’s burning desire to compensate all the time and substance of life he had lost and at the same time the increasing danger for Wilfried’s physical and psychological constitution, because the coma had not only left the mentioned positive sides, but dangerous negative ones, as well.

One day when Wilfried had recovered for himself art as his living element, he was shouting out loud, and when Micha entered the room, he saw Wilfried sitting in the corner of the room in complete despair. When he asked Wilfried what had happened, Wilfried explained pointing to the paintings on the wall as if he has seen them for the 1st time, at all, they would mean nothing to him. Micha did not understand in the beginning, but when Wilfried was talking further on he recognised slowly what Wilfried tried to tell him about a serious problem, which he never had in mind, Wilfried felt he had lost the affinity for the material. Only slowly Micha understood, why Wilfried was so desperate, because he was about to lose art again, after he had found it as his specific living element. The consequences of this loss may be dramatic, because material values determine life, feeling, tasting, using the senses everything is depending on the material and physical, and now Wilfried was telling- he was losing the affinity for the material. It was not only a shock for Wilfried, but also for Micha who felt like on a sinking boat on the ocean.

One year after Wilfried woke up from the coma, post-traumatic symptoms appeared in shape of a deep depression bringing Wilfried close to death in another way. But it was not the therapy which Wilfried started in autumn 2000, but the combination of a loving partner and his own newly recovered love for art and the encouraging signals, were helping Wilfried to overcome the dangers, when he was accepted to take part in the 1st festival which was showing that art hadn’t been just a kind of therapy for establishing a new memory & identity, but external art professionals were recognizing Wilfried’s work as relevant, Wilfried felt his self-confidence growing, and all the people surrounding were really proud, how Wilfried was managing his life with flying colours.

Time had for Wilfried a completely different meaning than for the people surrounding him, the afore mentioned spontaneous inspiration did not allow him to plan on longer term. He got accustomed to make spontaneous decisions only, but for re-establishing his place in what he called the “ancient art world” which was not worthwhile, he was requested to think and plan on longer terms, like museums and public galleries or funding structures do, at least in Germany.
So, soon it became clear, that the spontaneous action was Wilfried’s approach to the essence of his being, while in his former life one characteristics had been, that he had developed a very complicated use of artistic media taking really much time and patience to execute. Some of his small paintings were taking many months to be finalized.

Persons who knew Wilfried before the coma, like his partner Micha, were puzzled, that despite of the radical break the coma was representing and despite the loss of Wilfried’s former identity, Wilfried personality seemed to remain the same in its basic structures, the values and priorities in life remained the same, because they were genetically rooted, it was not necessary to learn, and so it seemed to be with a lot of other aspects, also his creativity and his affinity to art, they simply are – and this was most surprising for his mother and Micha, who were praying day and night while Wilfried was suffering in his self-chosen coma, that when Wilfried woke up and opened his eyes he was recognising them immediately as what they had been in his former life – also the love for both had been genetically marked, while he did not recognize any other person in their former function as family member, friends or colleagues.

When Wilfried was able to stand up and coordinate his limps again and left for the first time his home, he saw the houses along the street surrounded by trees, but he was not able to give what he saw any meaning, when he asked passersby what kind of meaning the trees or the car driving along would have, they were thinking, Wilfried would be crazy. While walking through the quarter, in the beginning he often lost completely his orientation, but surprisingly he always knew how to get support, when he entered a bakery at the corner, for instance, and asked for a telephone in order to call Micha to catch him, although he did not know his number and could not know that the bakery might offer him a phone, at all. Micha was often requested to pick Wilfried up back home, but this phase of self-orientating in the new environment called life did not take too long, it seemed that the things take slowly their original place in Wilfried brain again, and after a while such structural problems were vanishing for sure, while new problems and challenges appeared.

a complementary video selection
video
Fabian Heitzhausen (Germany) – I’m Game, 2014, 3:08
David Finkelstein (USA) – Epistolary Fusillades, 2010, 18:11
Sandra Araujo (Portugal) – Runtime Error, 2013, 4:12
Edward Ramsay-Morin (USA) – As Dreams Sometimes Do, 2013, 3: 19

video
William Pena (Colombia) – Control, 2013, 3:45
Felice Hapetzeder (SWE) – Yesterday was no good day, 2014, 6:00
Analia Fraser (Argentina) – A glance / Una mirada, 2012, 11:00
Mr MVIN (Spain) – BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF CRISIS”, 2013, 1:50
Mauricio Sanhueza (Peru) – Do You Smell That, 2014; 2:15
Alexander Yeltsin (Ukraine) – Warning, 2014, 5:37