Secret.service, video still from "secret.service" (8:20min, 2015)
The main parts of the video "secret.service" are recorded at one of the leading European companies for data and document destruction — Reisswolf. The destruction itself is just one part of their service. In order to deal in a trustworthy way with clients’ data, the company created a high-security environment around the circle of collecting, transmitting and destroying data and documents. This closed and fully surveilled system expresses the main core of their service: trust.
Taking into consideration that the company – from a market oriented point of view – is reversing the classical production chain, one could assume that Reisswolf is producing “nothing.” (Of course, even by this reversed process, Reisswolf is still following guidelines of economy and thus keeps it running.) In this case, “nothing” is the waste of the waste – a zero point and the end of transmitting information. The video’s approach, among others, is to counter this very fact. However, if you look at cubes of shredded paper and dust pallets, you can comprehend them as sculptural works displaying encoded sensitive information. And this makes me interested in showing the potential of this specific waste by trying to re-read the shredded paper with a book scanner or remove small “letters” – let’s say “pixels” – from the huge paper blocks. At some points, the video works like an archeological window, in which “data-image-metaphors” appear. I also find the shape and the consistency of the compressed “dust-cylinders” very interesting. They remind me of a drill core. I like the idea that a geologist could actually draw conclusions from this “data-drill-core” about the origin, surrounding, history and thereby the content of the material. At the end of my video there is a sudden zoom into a big block of shredded documents. It gives the impression of a microscopic view, which is investigative and is at the same time a decay of rationality; what we see seems to be surreal and dreamlike. Here we have both mystification and demystification. At that point, we also realize that everything that happens at Reisswolf has something anachronistic. In the end, it is just a mechanical scrapping facility.
Fabian Bechtle (1980, DE) studied in Leipzig and Lyon. Based in Berlin, he worked with Armin Linke from 2009 to 2011. After that, with a DAAD grant for postgraduate artists, he moved to Belgrade for a research project where he also investigated the archives of Josip Broz Tito. Since 2015 he’s lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany. His works have been shown at PACT Zollverein, Essen; Goethe-Institute, Rome; Fabricca del Vapore, Milano; Bonner Kunstverein; nGbK Berlin; Museum for Contemporary Art and Museum for Yugoslav History, Belgrade; and Trehgornaya Manufactura, Moscow.