Florian Schneider

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diversity, migration, politics, racism, Society
Film (documentary)
Media Arts (digital arts)
Europe, Western
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June 22, 2010
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Florian Schneider
Florian Schneider. © S. Bolesch


Practicing the Collective and Subversive

Florian Schneider, born in 1967 in Munich, is a German filmmaker, media artist and activist. As a curator, he is concerned with film, documentary formats, and the possibilities of the internet. His works always stand in a political context. His central interest lies in transgressing boundaries – between mainstream and independent media, art and activism, theory and open-source technology.
In 1992 Schneider began designing and setting up film and library databases, web servers and intranets for the Institut Jugend Film Fernsehen and numerous smaller non-profit organizations. Since 1995, he has served as a consultant to internet projects and websites run by various institutes and initiatives. In 1998 he conceived the internet gallery Teleportacia.org (with Olia Lialina), an artistic product of his dealings with the net culture, and conceptualized and realized hybrid media labs for the Kiasma and MACBA museums (Helsinki and Barcelona, respectively). In 2001/02, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth and the European Commission, he developed the internet platform D-A-S-H – Networking Against Exclusion. In 2002, in cooperation with ZDFonline and arte, he also launched the online platform WASTUN.org, which was commissioned by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

He has dealt with film and video since 1990 in a wide range of forms, and increasingly in his own works. For his first film, “leben still / leben tot” (living quiet / living dead) (jointly with Jochen Kraus) he won first prize in the section ‘New Films from Bavaria’ at the 1993 Documentary Film Festival in Munich. This was followed by “Tanger Nonstop,” a conceptual documentary film about Tangiers, a city which has given rise to a literary and cinematic mythology. Schneider and Kraus made the journey to Morocco to shoot the film with the Hamburg band Kastrierte Philosophen in tow and the novel “The Process” by Brion Gysin, twentieth-century artist, writer and long-time resident of the city, in their duffel bag.

Schneider continued his political activity with “Raus aus dem Schatten – Die Kirche St. Bernard und der Kampf der ‘sans papiers’.” In summer 1996, 300 “illegalized” immigrants occupied St. Bernard’s Church in Paris, demanding equal rights and permanent residency permits for all. “Raus aus dem Schatten” (Out of the shadows) reconstructs the events and development of a movement that transcended the borders of France to take on importance across Europe. In “Die Unorganisierbaren” (The unorganizables) of 2002, Schneider documents the labor struggles of people in California – garment workers, cleaning personnel, temp workers – who, in the absence of a lobby, first have to create one in order to assert their interests.

Schneider has filmed a number of television documentaries and conceived the program for two “theme evenings,” on migration and activism, for arte, the German-French cultural broadcaster. His engagement in the critical debate on the new communications and migration regimes also found expression in his co-founding of the noborder network, which grew out of his earlier project “Kein Mensch ist illegal” (No one is illegal) at documenta X in 1997. His aim – the motivation for many of these activities – could be characterized as “globalization from below.”

Since 2008, Schneider’s artistic works have appeared at numerous biennials and art festivals around the world. Results of the multimedia performance project “Wörterbuch des Krieges” (“Dictionary of War”), in which 100 concepts related to the subject of war were collaboratively collected and defined, was published in book form by Merve in 2008.

Schneider was among the curators who selected Hila Peleg for the first Berlin Documentary Forum at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2010. Under the title “Missing Image,” he presented the films of the German documentary filmmaker Michael Mrakitsch, who died in 2010. Mrakitsch had worked primarily for German television. His credo, “The debate with this society must be held in the social medium that dominates,” was one that Schneider surely was able to identify with: like Mrakitsch, Schneider searches for subversive and collective practice in the dominant media.

Florian Schneider currently lives in Brussels and Munich. He is an advising researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie of Maastricht, and is working on a doctoral project on the subject “Imaginary Property” at Goldsmiths College in London.

Author: Bert Rebhandl


Wörterbuch des Krieges

Intermedia project,
A project by Unfriendly Takeover and multitude e.V

Missing Image

Intermedia project,

Die Unorganisierbaren

Film / TV,

Raus aus dem Schatten - Die Kirche St Bernard und der Kampf der „sans papiers“

Film / TV,

Kein Mensch ist illegal

Exhibition / Installation,
documenta X


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Berlin Documentary Forum 1

New practices across disciplines

(02 June 10 - 06 June 10)


Project Kein.org

Project Noborder.org

Project Dash.org