Thomas Krempke

Videoladen
Zurich

Born 1957 in Zermatt. Raised in Zurich, where he still lives today. Activist at the Videoladen and co-author of Züri brännt. Today he works in post-production for feature and documentary films, and is a photographer and author.

00:00 Start. 00:18: Background. 01:23: How I started getting into film in grammar school. 03:16: I’m studying German philology and get into video / Foundation of the Videoladen Zurich. 04:08: The Video Portapak and the invention of interventionist video. 06:54: Why I participated in the Videoladen / The first productions / «Video uf de Gass». 09:05: Exchange with video groups in West Germany / Establishing a video library, with videos on the movement against nuclear power plants / Counter-public. 10:59: From university, I change to Photography at the School of Arts and Crafts (today: ZHdK). 12:30: 30. May 30, 1980 Opera house riot / Begin of «Züri brännt». 15:41: Montage of «Züri brännt» as a collective process. 22:50: Autumn 1980 Feedback on rough cut of «Züri brännt» at the Rote Fabrik. 24:01: January 1981 Premiere of «Züri brännt» at Solothurn. 25:06: Distribution of «Züri brännt» by the Film Cooperative / The 16mm copy by Jürg Hassler / Zurich premiere in Edi Stöckli’s sex cinema. 26:30: Echo abroad. 26:59: Observer becomes activist / Decline of the AJZ / The AJZ film emerges «Keine Zeit sich auszuruhen» («No time to rest») in cooperation with Christoph Schaub. 28:49: My further development into a professional filmmaker. 29:53: Credits.
Commentary

Züri brännt

Videoladen
Zurich

100 mins, 1981, ½ inch, black-and-white, subtitles D/E/F/I, 8 mins (excerpts), original preserved in the video collection Stadt in Bewegung (Swiss Social Archive and Memoriav), but not avaiable online. For sale on DVD, together with the brochure “Züri brännt,” at the Videoladen or from any bookstore.

The video film of the Zurich youth riots of the 1980s: street riots, nude protests, punk music, lived autonomy. The Zurich movement renounced Zurich’s puritanism and demanded life, space, money—all of it, and right now!

Voice-over commentary
It took a long time for Zurich to catch fire, but when it finally did, there was nothing to fuel the flames. Concrete won’t burn. Top security prisons won’t burn either; they’re modern—no more burning at the stake today. Our desolate playgrounds, decorated with plastic Hollywood monsters are also modern, rectangular, and gray. Everything here is  neatly under control and fits into the normal run of things—like all things, which are smooth, bare, and clean. A barren desert lies under industrial mist, skyscrapers rise in simple elegance, a cold world, devoid of life. The monotonous sound of footsteps echoes from empty corridors as civil servants go about their work; vast tarmacked areas surround shopping centers, as empty and contented as a father’s mind on Sunday afternoon. But down below, the plaster is starting to crumble, where modest trickles from Kleenex-cleaned asses dribble into stinking sewers, the rats have been living and breeding happily for some time now. They speak a new language, and when this language is brought out into the light, all that’s said will no longer be done, black-and-white not necessarily be right, old and new will blend into one. Cripples, queers, winos, junkies, eyeties, blacks, terrorists, arsonists, tramps, jailbirds, women, and all kinds of dream peddlers will gather to bury their fathers.

1 Lovesong

Videoladen
Zurich

1984, realization: Thomas Krempke and Christoph Schaub, 15 mins, Betamax, color, 9 mins (excerpts), original online: video collection Stadt in Bewegung (Swiss Social Archive and Memoriav) and on the Züri brännt DVD

Documentary about the history and eviction of the squatted building on Badenerstrasse 2 at Stauffacher in the context of the City of Zurich’s housing policies. The focus is on the political debates with the council and the demands of the new urban movement. Apart from the political issues, the scene culture is reflected in masks, happenings, and music.

Voice-over commentary
On January 1, 1985 pension funds—the so-called second pillar—will become obligatory. Anyone with an income of over 15,000 francs will be forced to join. This will amount to 15 billion every year. “What are we supposed to do with this money?” the presidents of the pension funds are asking themselves. The answer is simple: one third in stocks, one third in loans, and one third in real estate. Which means that every year 5 billion are channeled into construction. That’s fifty brandnew shopping centers per year or 10 million bottles of champagne. This money avalanche as well as the foreign capital invested in Switzerland are the reasons for the construction fever that is spreading among the citizens. Today the Stauffacher—tomorrow the world.

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