Hong Kong, July 2006
“Sieben Linden” (Seven Linden Trees)
- A German Ecological Village
text, portraits and landscapes by Birgit Wudtke
“Sieben Linden is a social and ecological settlement in the region of Sachsen-Anhalt (former East Germany). The ecovillage Sieben Linden aims to provide a model for a future way of life, in which work, leisure, economy, ecology, urban and rural culture can find a balance. The inhabitants are searching for the answers to the pressing issues of our time; looking for human-centred solutions in a place of creativity and learning. This model shows how humans can live and deal more responsibly with nature.” (www.siebenlinden.de)
“In October 2000 I lived and worked in the village and took photographs of the inhabitants and the surrounding landscape. The confrontation with a different system of living and working together was quite intensive and created a subliminal stress for me as someone who was a stranger to the community. Later I realized, that I am not able to work as a documentarist and that I no longer really believe in this genre. The photographs I took were in fact the images of my own visions: a life apart from the common patriarchal structures and consumer habits. But as an outsider, I don’t think I would ever be able to recognize an insiders view or to really comprehend his way of perceiving things. I believe that there is a big difference between visiting a place and living in a place.
In the year 2002, I was invited by the Artist Residence Straumur to live and work in Iceland for a period of three months. Suddenly, the idea of a “living in harmony with nature” seemed absurd. The human body appeared to me so fragile between those bizarre lava formations. Powerful inventions, such as cars, completely lost their protective appearance. My German educated mind, which was geared towards environmental protection, was irritated by this community with no trees at all. What a beautiful moment when I saw the colourful, bloated plastic balloons floating up towards the sky! How repulsive it was to be attacked by a swarm of flies! Another place is like another point of view.”
Biography Birgit Wudtke
Birgit Wudtke started her photography studies at the Hamburg University and took part in Wolfgang Tillman’s mentoring sessions at the Academy of Fine Arts. Later, she completed her MA at the Bergen National College in Norway. During that time, she began to work as a contributing photographer for magazines and artzines such as Spex, Greenpeace, Neid-Magazine and Plotki. She was invited to take part in an artist’s residence programme in Iceland, where she developed the concepts for her exhibitions and a book publication (). After initial experience with solo presentations, she chose to enter more collaborative platforms and to set up the international network and virtual gallery www.fromBeetoBee.Net as co-founder and artistic member. Wudtke believes that the idea of the genius in art is the result of an outmoded form of education on the part of the academies and a promotion-concept by the art market. “I am solely imaginable in a system of cooperation and interferences”, she points out.