Anarchie & Disneyland

Universitätstrasse 89 together with Christian Schmid

1982, 70 mins, U-matic, black-and-white, 13 mins (excerpts), original online: video collection Stadt in Bewegung (Swiss Social Archive and Memoriav)

This is the story of the fight for Universitätsstrasse 89, a private property in Zurich, including its occupation in the early 1980s. Impressions from the apartments, interviews with passersby and residents, as well as public representatives. Discussions inside the house.

Interviews on the street in front of Universitätsstrasse 89
A    It makes a terrible impression. It’s an alien object in our neighborhood Oberstrass. And the people who come and go there are a disaster. It’s a branch of the AJZ (autonomous youth center), nothing more.
B    It’s not ideal. If you shook it, all kinds of things would surface. Sometimes some girls are sitting up there in the windows with their legs dangling out. And there’s long-haired folks. I wouldn’t mind something else to be built there, it’s an old place.
C    When you look at the people coming out of there, you get the feeling that it’s something that doesn’t have a place in today’s society. Or maybe they want to radically change society.
D    What a terrible hovel! It doesn’t give Zurich a good name. A Tschinggen-Bude (a ramshackle place with Italian immigrants)!

House plenum (Residents A, B, C, D)
A    And you want to make a report to the police because people are sleeping in our attic! Can you tell me why? I just don’t get it.
B    Okay, it just became too much for me: Everywhere you go in this house there are people you don’t know. You don’t know what they’re doing here, if they are housemates or some layabouts or visitors. Or if they’re maybe robbing the attic just now. It’s happened before.
A    Yes, I know that.
B    We’ve had money stolen before too. We’ve all heard the stories.
A    From inside the apartments, that’s true.
B    And every person you see, you’re thinking: What kind of guy is that? The fluctuation in the house is high, and there is no central supervisory body where you can get information.
A    You’re living off your art, and for you, everything is art, even a complaint to the cops. And that crosses the line for me. Not everything in life is a piece of art.
C    There are certain limits!
D    Yes, for you maybe. And I understand that there are limits. But right now there are only two people sleeping up there, and I think that’s definitely inside those limits. For us on the first floor: Do you have an idea how many people come in there every day that you have to kick out again? Those freaking bums and alcoholics, you know. But you don’t see me calling the cops. I’m taking care of it myself, I’m simply kicking them out.