The New Patrons of Kasnevitz

Patrons: Katrin Eigenfeld, Peter Hübner, Martin Hurtienne, Christian König, Rainer Krowas, Marie-Luise Marlow, Christoph Muster, Martina Woldt

Mediator: Susanne Burmester

Artist: Christoph Schäfer

Duration: 2021 ongoing

Partner: Federal Cultural Foundation

Kasnevitz is a village that other villages could be envious of. Here, people are committed to the village community. They convince others of their concerns and find money for their projects. Most recently, a group of Kasnevitzers even managed to convert the former fire station into a village community center with the help of an architect and fill it with new life. Where the equipment used to be, a cultural program now takes place.

But now that the place is there for everyone, an unexpected problem emerges. Part of the village remains aloof. No real conversation or common perspective emerges. Apparently, it is not enough to build a house. The village needs more dialogue and more cohesion. The groups and small groups that have shaped village life for a long time should find their way to each other. That's why the New Patrons of Kasnevitz are commissioning an art project that involves everyone. It has an unusual goal.

Tractor on field path in Kasnevitz


Photo: Victoria Tomaschko
Garden in Kasnevitz


Photo: Victoria Tomaschko
Buildings in Kasnevitz


Photo: Victoria Tomaschko

The village is to become the stage for a new beginning, in which newcomers and those who have always been there, old and young, the church community and those who have never had anything to do with it, fall out of their traditional roles.

The New Patrons of Kasnevitz have commissioned the conceptual and drawing artist Christoph Schäfer. He has designed a multi-part artistic concept for Kasnevitz. In doing so, he is responding to the patrons' desire to change the playing field of activities around the village hall and to redistribute the roles of the actors in a joyful process.

In his artistic work, Christoph Schäfer is interested in how the relationship of imagination to reality can be put under tension. This happens in drawing works, in individual artistic projects and as a critical practice that shapes platforms of exchange with others. The basis of his work is always a process of thorough decoding of the social and political context. The participatory processes he organizes question decision-making structures by transferring creative power to the many.

Christoph Schäfer lives in Hamburg. Since the early 1990s he has been dealing with everyday urban life and initiating spaces in which collective wish production becomes possible. His work focus is reflected in a wide range of different works, including the independent urban planning project Park Fiction (1994-2005), which was invited to documenta11 in 2002, the drawing series Die Stadt ist unsere Fabrik (2010), which was also published as an artist book, and the transdisciplinary office PlanBude (2014). With Margit Czenki, he developed Parklabyr, which has been working at Museum Morsbroich since 2021 to reconfigure the relationship between art, nature, and a diverse urban society in Leverkusen's Schlosspark.

Can the expectations that one has of the other be broken through in the game? Can the rules be redefined if those who are always particularly quick to speak up make slower moves for once than those who listen first and think things over carefully three times? Will those who always roll up their sleeves get a free pass and sit out a round? Could the loud ones be quiet for a change?

The commissioning group sees Kasnevitz as a rehearsal stage for village cohesion. They want to give and share, invite and curiously wait to see what happens when unfamiliar faces are seen in the front row. They also see this as a good exercise for a society in which not everything can go on as it is. They see the village for all as a cheerful experiment with a completely open outcome.