Jan Ralske’s work for Carnival and War

This article is a part of the room: APT/ART #2: MAKE CARNIVAL NOT WAR

By Monica Bonvicini & Jan Ralske
BetaSP or Dvd, color, 7’37”. 
Music: “Forgiven” by Kurt Ralske and vocals by Marion Davis.


Some archaic structures that are no longer needed in the post-industrial West, like factories, are easily adapted to function as cultural/art institutions. 

But since wars, like heavy industry, have been re-located from Europe to the Third World, a problem has arisen: what to do with the old bunkers. 

The video was made during a visit to the bunker of Magletsch in Switzerland.  The huge bunker is one of the few that is still used by the Swiss army.

Built during the second world war, it was refurbished in the seventies, with the very delicate touch of a psychologist who decided to paint all the officer’s spaces pink, including  sleeping rooms and bathrooms. When questioned about this naïve decorative element, the commander of the bunker refused to describe the color with the right name: pink. He instead insisted on calling it red, saying it was an aggressive and motivating color for the soldiers… 

As always with military logic, a parallel and rather schizophrenic universe seemed to be in play here. The superfluous hole-in-the-ground bunker suddenly offered us a stage for a delicate story of repressed boys in uniform, not quite sure if they are in the right place at the right time.