The World is My Home / Die Welt ist meine Heimat

VIDEOFENSTER 2021 is an immersive urban video-art and film project that will take place in Cologne’s Ehrenfeld neighbourhood in Germany. The works exhibited by Video_Fernster will illuminate the streets transforming the windows and displays of local businesses into screens or micro-cinemas that configure a lively urban trail. Pedestrians and viewers will be drawn into an urban experience inspired by the CoronaVirus pandemic in which real and imagined perceptions, stories, memories and imageries of lockdown will be revealed at different locations in the neighbourhood. This first edition of Video_Fenster has a particular interest in examining ‘homes’, ‘neighbourhoods’ and ‘communities’ and their connections with identity, memory and representation. All works submitted should relate to one or more of Video_Fenster’s central topics; 1. Inside or Outside? 2. Home, a wide world 3. Planet House 4. Ehrenfeld’s Narratives. Descriptions of each topic are explained in detail in the Open Call.

Windows are the heart of the VIDEOFENSTER project. We believe windows can convey feelings of attraction, curiosity, exposition, mystery, secrecy and exclusion. They also make us instinctively aware of the divisions between private and public spaces. As such, windows connect both spaces and act as openings among these spaces. Physically they suggest an ambivalent topography where we can find space, time, sound, reflection, opacity and transparency as fluctuating effects that become mediators of our perception. During the development of CoronaVirus there have been times in which they have been the only connection we have had with the world outside our homes. They have become accomplices of our innermost desires and feelings. It is now time to invert the role of windows into sites of expression so we can finally come together. Each location can be accessed following our urban video trail. Every window gives access to one of the four themes of VIDEOFENSTER’s 2021 version and is designed as a site for displaying meaningful narratives that invite viewers to reflect and express their own experiences during the Covid_19 pandemic.

Video_Fenster_2021 is a thriving possibility for artists, filmmakers, Ehrenfeld community and general public to explore the city, engage with art and and share ideas. It’s also an invitation to celebrate the neighbourhood and its creative and festive vibe by enjoying artwork that evidences a reflexive examination of our spaces and exposes us to a series of intimate reflections that have been held among walls during this epidemic. In other words, Video_Fernster’s video trail transfigures the neighbourhood’s urban and architectural features into sites where subjective images explore the effects of living through a pandemic from a site that has been restricted to us, the city.

>>>> Themes

  1. Inside or Outside? / Drinnen oder Draussen?

    Historically the walls of our homes that have acted as shelters from our public life. With the CoronaVirus pandemic our homes have also become safe spaces protected from global health threats and invisible airborne enemies. Staying at home has become a sign of our times, a way of protecting ourselves and our communities. But it’s also become a paradox as it’s dismantled our everyday lives, the interactions with our communities, families, friends and workplaces. In this sense, homes have become isolation cells. In a matter of weeks we had to adapt to new forms of life among walls and we have had to immediately give up our use of public spaces. Habits and lifestyles have been dramatically changed and society is still adjusting to the many changes we have undergone in the past year and a half.

    Video_Fernster welcomes proposals that interrogate how the boundaries of our homes have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Has the pandemic affected our everyday life in terms of our public and private behaviours? Have the notions of being indoors and outdoors been challenged? How are we experiencing these spaces? Have our social interactions with neighbours and local communities changed? Are we living in the same way? Do we feel safe outdoors? Do we feel free indoors? Have our identities changed? Have the identities of our spaces changed? Where do we like being? These questions are only starting points to guide your imagination on the topic as new issues are constantly developing on a global scenario. We encourage and support any further ideas inscribed in the topic.

  2. Home, a wide world / Zuhause, weite Welt

    During the past year and a half we have seen the world through our homes and homes have become our world. We’ve discovered new dimensions to the intimacy of our homes and we’ve undoubtedly acquired new ways of sensing things due to the new forms of life lockdown has forced on us. COVID_19 has abruptly reinforced how our homes and living spaces have been taken for granted. During the pandemic homes have become sites of confinement, seclusion, isolation and retreat while still being our daily space for refuge, rest, intimacy and domestic tasks. Most have undergone a ‘lockdown’ effect that has affected its inhabitants socially and emotionally, obliging them to transform their daily dynamics and include new behaviours and activities such as schooling or working.

    Video_Fenster wants to reveal the stories that have appeared in the interior of our homes, narratives of spatial cohabitation and coexistence, abstractions of the different elements that constitute a home, relationships with objects and details and representations of what homes have become to us now. We’re interested in submissions that expand on the subjectivity and intimacy of the sensations we now experience in our daily surroundings and the new memories we have due to the confinement we have lived that has without doubt had global effects.

  3. Planet House / Haus Planet

    We are all part or something bigger than ourselves, our homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces. We are part of a bigger home, a home we share with every living being on the planet, the Earth. As members of a broader community in which we are dependent on a magnificent diversity of forms of life and cultures, the global pandemic has allowed us to become more aware of ourselves on a global scale. As we have been locked inside our houses our planet has had a chance to regenerate its resources and take a pause from the tremendous impact we generate on it. During months of lockdown the deterioration of our environment, the loss of species and habitats, global warming and the decline of the quality of our natural resources has slowed down. As a result, wild animals have reappeared in city landscapes decades after their disappearance, species that were supposed to be extinct have resurfaced and the effects of contamination and the indiscriminate abuse of resources -such as fresh water- have become a common topic as they directly affect the development of Covid_19 in impoverished communities.

    How conscious are we about the effects we are having on our real home? For how much longer will the earth be able to nurture our needs? Are we really willing to carry out positive change regarding the world’s ecological balance? Will we be the dystopian spectators of the earth’s extinction? Video_Fenster invites participants of the 2021 version to address our relationship with our planet through issues linked to how the consciousness and knowledge about the environment has changed due to our experience of isolation and lockdown. Audio-visual works regarding environmental issues linked to our life on the planet as well as acknowledgements concerning our interconnectedness with the planet, it’s resources and other inhabitants are very welcome.

  4. Ehrenfeld’s Narratives / Ehrenfelder Erzählungen​

    As an urban district, Ehrenfeld is a neighbourhood in the west of Cologne that combines both old and new. Having been known as an industrial workers neighbourhood, in the past years it has become an up and coming ‘creative’ district that has attracted new types of residents and crowds. Ehrenfeld boasts a strong local community, active residents, an intriguing and complex history and landmarks such as the biggest mosque in Germany, a maritime lighthouse on firm land and the colossal Colonius communications tower.

    Video Fernster is an opportunity to think about the importance of our neighborhood’s human, social, cultural, historic & urban fabric. It’s a chance to explore notions of public space, society and community highlighting the characteristics of the groups and individuals that have built and inhabited it. How has Ehrenfeld endured CoronaVirus? What has it lost? What has it gained? What can we say about it’s identity after months of isolation? Have the restrictions on our use of public spaces changed our perceptions of our neighbourhood? Has our sense of community changed? We encourage all contributions that explore our perceptions and experiences of the Ehrenfeld district since the appearance of the Covid_19 pandemic.