The revolt of ’68? In Germany? That was in Berlin! Or at least mainly. Wasn’t it? In fact, it has strong roots in Munich. Its anti-authoritarian activism can largely be traced back to the Schwabing bohemian scene. The driving force was the artists’ group SPUR and, above all, the SUBVERSIVE AKTION around Dieter Kunzelmann, which was later joined by Rudi Dutschke. They were inspired by the Situationist International in Paris.
In their art project “boykottiert die systeme!” (“boycott the systems!”), Rudolf Herz and Julia Wahren are investigating the revolutionary movements of the early 1960s in Munich. Herz’s research uncovered countless original documents and new findings. And it led him to activists from back then, some of whom are now very old and scattered all over the world. Herz invited them to Munich, to stroll through the city, to visit historical sites and to a memorable reunion – a search for traces of the past, in a race against time.
Herz and Wahren are now making the subversive spirit of the pre-March revolt visible: in films and in transmedial artistic performances in public space. “boykottiert die systeme!” gives the beginnings of the movement a face for the first time.
Public space was the activists’ playing field. The performative approach, with Fluxus and (neo-)Dada, opened up completely new possibilities for political expression; art and demonstration became one, social criticism and sabotage went hand in hand.
This new, close connection is present everywhere in “boykottiert die systeme!”. Birgit Daiber, former member of the SUBVERSIVE AKTION and later Green Party member in the European Parliament, talks about the reinvention of the world in Schwabing in the early 1960s during a tour of her former area of activity – flanked by unexpected readings from leaflets. In January 1961, the SPUR group called for “Gaudi an die Macht!” (“Pleasure to power!”). Julia Wahren turns this young artists’ manifesto into an anarchic musical language performance on Rindermarkt with students from the August Everding Theatre Academy and performers from Munich’s experimental music scene. “Mescalin ins Festessen!” (“Mescaline in the banquet!”) was one of the many ideas that SUBVERSIVE AKTION came up with on its list for disrupting documenta ’64, which was never completed. Julia Wahren and Kammersänger Christopher Robson turn this list into a multi-stylistic Sunday afternoon aria in front of the Kunstbau at Lenbachhaus.
Herz and Wahren are presenting the seven films featuring the activists from back then on July 24 at the Münchner Werkstattkino. The project “boykottiert die systeme!” is followed in 2024 by the exhibition “Revolutionäre Ungeduld” (“Revolutionary Impatience”) by Rudolf Herz at the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich.
Rudolf Herz, born in 1954 in Sonthofen, lives and works in Munich. Julia Wahren, born in 1968, lives and works in Munich.