All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Boldly going where no socialist has gone before: Engineers and industrial scientists in East German popular culture and propaganda|
|On a planet far, far away, intrepid East German explorers, Dig and Dag, discover a civilization destroyed by atomic war. Soon they are to discover that on this planet, indigenous capitalist forces brought about conflict, militarization, war, and nuclear holocaust. The planet also has a second problem: its sun has burnt out. A dying scientist left an audacious technical solution which he was unable to put to use: A new sun, powered by atomic energy, was to replace the old sun. Technological masters, Dig and Dag rocket off to put the new sun in place. East Germany saves the universe! (Or at least one planet.) And nuclear technology, the source of destruction in the hands of capitalists, becomes a major force for good in the hands of socialists.
The comic series that this story came from was phenomenally popular in East Germany. Called “Mosaik,” it sold a quarter of a million copies per month during the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Fans still discuss their favorite issues in online chat groups devoted to it. This was just one manifestation of the wave of technological utopianism which swept East Germany in the 1960’s.
The East German Communist leadership decided in that era that the forces of technological revolution would play a leading role in modernizing the East German economy and society. Large numbers of young people were needed as recruits to the ranks of the engineering profession. The leadership promoted a utopian view of technology which was quickly popularized by writers, artists, cartoonists, and film makers. Awe-inspiring depictions of technology appealed to the emotions, overriding possible questioning of technology by the populace. Engineers and industrial scientists became subjects of great admiration.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, under the rule of Erich Honecker, strict censorship prevented the emergence of anything more than a fairly tentative and limited critique of technology. Nonetheless, a change of climate is unmistakable. Dystopian elements entered depictions of technology. In films and novels, engineers, architects and industrial scientists became more rounded figures, and their technical work became more problematic. Technology was, however, still seen as a positive force, and engineers were still seen as striving to better the world. What I find particularly interesting in the 70’s and 80’s is the emphasis placed on the individual creative process, reflecting a growing sense of individualism in East German society. Also, women enter this creative process, changing its face in subtle but important ways.
I will discuss not only comic books, but also novels and films, in my talk.