Commentary Reinhard Manz

I met Reinhard Manz during the famous youth riots in Switzerland during 1980/81. Reinhard Manz was one of the co-founders of the Video Cooperative Basel (Videogenossenschaft) and together with his colleagues they also documented with video the tumultuous events around the local autonomous youth centre, which later was closed down by the authorities. Already at the time I noticed that the Video Cooperative Basel was open to video practitioners from a variety of backgrounds, also from the visual arts. Reinhard Manz was an excellent video artist himself. In the video collection Stadt in Bewegung (City in Motion), the early video art of Reinhard Manz is well represented with Transportgesichter, Weg-Beschreibung, Zeit-fragen und Entschriftung der Greifengasse.

Listening to Reinhard Manz in the interview it becomes clear how he found his very own version of video art practice during his studies in Berlin, where he was inspired by Joseph Beuys and his notion of the social sculpture. (see Reinhard Manz, Video 11.45: Trainticket to Berlin, on to 23.21: Departure from Berlin).

How Reinhard Manz managed to bring his passion for video art and his involvement with community video under one umbrella is astonishing. Please do have a look at one of his video documentations of the rebellious youth movement in Basel of 1980. In contrast to this type of interventionist documentary watch Transportgesichter, a video that features sharp observations of the everyday.

Wishing you an inspiring viewing session,

Heinz Nigg

In the 1970s and 1980s, young activists discovered video as a new medium and used moving images in their struggle for access to cultural expression for the many, not the few. They were researching and developing new forms of independent and participatory media work. This was an important step towards realizing the utopian promises of the digital age.