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Hoisted from Comments: Dieter Wieland

Gaststaette with Lueftlmalerei

I'm going to outsource today's post to occasional GJ commenter Noribori, who favored us with a fascinating cultural reference in a recent comment:

A German equivalent of Kunstler might be Dieter Wieland. Born 1937, he started a series of films in 1972, called "Topographie", broadcasted from BR (Bavarian Broadcast). More than 250 of his films were broadcasted since, some of them often rebroadcasted. Like "Grün kaputt", which bemoaned the demolition of the Bavarian landscape by land consolidation (Flurbereinigung) and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. Other themes were the replacement of traditional structures (hedges, fences, doors, windows, roofs, backyards) with ugly and cheap counterparts from home improvement stores, the complete subordination of a livable environment under the requirements of modern car traffic, the wrong tone and escapism of pseudo-bavarian architecture (Der Jodlerstil). He pioneered these themes before the Green Party or official preservation agencies even existed.

The style of his films was extraordinary, these were rare highlights of Bavarian television, and he became widely recognized. Most remarkable was his voice and his language. He created unforgetable expressions, declaimed in an often acrimonious, mournful, bitter tone. Many people don't know his name, but when you mention expressions like "Krüppelkoniferen", "Lederhosenarchitektur" or "Triumph des rechten Winkels" they remember having seen his unforgetable films decades ago.

His themes are widely accepted now, he was even decorated with a medal by his "enemy" Edmund Stoiber. But he still insists we are making the same mistakes again and again. When the wall went down, there would have been an opportunity to try better landscape and town planning. Instead the same suburban belts (Speckgürtel) as in West Germany were built around the eastern cities, areas (dominated by one-family houses) which are neither urban nor rural.

His highly recommendable book "Grün kaputt" is only available second-hand now. His films are neither available on DVD nor on the Internet, you may only find them distributed by friendly people who recorded them from TV. Sometimes some of his films are rebroadcasted.

Let me join anonymous in thanking Noribori for this knowledge, especially the fantastic Wielandisms like Krüppelkoniferen. Anyone know where to find some of Wieland's videos or films?

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