Valeria Schwarz with the collaboration of Joanne Pouzenc
We Have Never Been Here Before*. 2015

hypnotic tour through a fictional city. 45 min.
Hôtel Belvédère du Rayon Vert; Cerbere, FR

In a world that is really upside down, the true is a moment of the false. Guy Debord

Adam Curtis’ The Century of the Self, a series of documentaries produced in 2002 for the British television, shows how after the Second World War corporations and governments supported the application of Sigmund Freud’s ideas in order to control the masses, turning them into good consumers. To ensure the growth of the economy and its exponential expansion, a shift from a needs- to a desire- based society was necessary. Therefore, people had to be trained to desire new things beyond their real needs. The satisfaction of citizens' inner irrational desires would make them happier and thus docile. This process led to the creation of a new imagery with the help of spectacle and entertainment methods that not only failed in making people happier, but also turned them into beings impossible to satisfy because “The more [the spectator] contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires”.

In the context of a global crisis within the ecological, financial and, finally, the psychological realm we need to revisit our individual and collective desires as well as needs. We haven’t been here before is a hypnotic tour through a fictional city based on solidarity, knowledge exchange, sustainability and use value instead of price. Participants are invited to the cinema of the Hôtel Belvédère du Rayon Vert. With their eyes covered with sleeping masks they are guided through one possible future city, in which happiness relates neither with consumerism, nor with individual satisfaction.

*The title has been generously borrowed by John Jordan and it is copy-left.