The flooding of the Rhine prompted Hannah Schneider to make a film about the elemental impact on the Rhine promenade. The film work “While”, 2011, created in Bonn Beuel, shows in the sequence of individual images the process of transformation of the popular sidewalk, which was recorded over a period of three months. The rising water level, which changes the usual use of the promenade over the course of the film, is created by reversing the temporal shots – from the normal state in March to the peak in January.
The everyday recordings, which are reproduced in “While” with a documentary character, capture strollers, cyclists such as joggers, pigeons, dogs, sweepers or the docking “Rheinnixe” at different times of day and weather conditions. Where people stroll in the sunshine at the beginning, the rising water level increasingly gains space, so that the passers-by gradually disappear from the scene. Only one person is sitting on a bench. Dressed in a bikini, she lingers in place as the water floods the sidewalk, making railings, benches and trash cans disappear. The person keeping the measure does not seem to budge until the water is up to his neck at the highest level and he swims away on his way.
Hannah Schneider takes situational influences of nature – such as this flood – as the occasion for her artistic exploration: “My fundamental interest in space, surroundings, and situations includes climate change and the accompanying effects on our habitat.” Schneider’s attention is focused on architectural structures as well as natural events; she usually formulates her observations in site-specific works. The special significance of time for themes of sustainability and spatial change is taken up in the medium of film. The transformation of the selected place becomes traceable through the individual images, which momentarily detach themselves and successively reconstruct the naturally conditioned process of change. But how “natural” is this one? And at what point does the initially brief exception become the rule?
Text: Inke Maria Hahnen
Hannah Schneider (*1984 Filderstadt) lives and works in Cologne.