Installations, videos and projects in public space


by Oliver Ressler

The Fittest Survive

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Oliver Ressler, 23 min.

Factors like “danger”, “risk” and “wilderness” are no longer considered only in the dark, suppressed underside of the globalisation dream. These possibly deterring factors have become a resistance to be overcome by, apparently, only the best and the strongest. Thus, to a certain extent, mastering these daunting elements have become standards for achievement in the economic discipline. The crisis regions’ growth markets make particularly clear that the law of market economics requires hardness and ruthlessness. This warlike character of market economics transforms life into a fight in which specific individuals face ever-higher demands for better performance.

In order to prepare for this competitive, social Darwinist, pecking order of global capitalism, privately-owned, security enterprises offer their self-developed, civilian training programs that simulate conflict-situations – in varying complexities up to war scenarios. One of these enterprises, the British AKE Group, promises, according to their web page, to provide “…clients the competitive advantage of engaging safely in areas that might otherwise have been closed to opportunity.”

The video “The Fittest Survive” is based on filming the five-day course “Surviving Hostile Regions” done in January 2006 in Wales, Great Britain by the AKE Group. The course instructors are British ex-special force soldiers. The participants are businessmen who are preparing for business in Iraq and other dangerous regions, government officials and mainstream journalists who, with their dishonest discourse of democracy and human rights, help to legitimise and secure the ideology of market-economics expansion.

The video, primarily filmed by hand camera, follows the survival-course participants as they experience the staged reality of live shell bombardments, an assault by armed guerrillas, the rescue of accident victims, and moving through mine fields. Above this training camp in Wales, low-flying British fighter planes hold manoeuvres and foreshadow the real war theatres in which the class participants will soon be.

The video “The Fittest Survive” is available in English, German and Spanish versions.

 

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