Photo: Jakob Kirchheim. Reisefreiheit, Filmstill
February 14 until April 15, 2024

Jakob Kirchheim


Animierte Dokumentation, HD, 77:49, 2022

The 9-euro ticket made Germany-wide regional train travel popular in summer 2022.
For many years, I have been traveling between Berlin and Munich mostly in this way: exclusively with regional trains, several changes and many stops on different routes through the eastern German states. From Hof, I usually take the Alex-Bahn to Munich.

Extensive photo and video material was created on these journeys, which was used in five self-published books by 2013: Wochenend-Ticket, Quer durchs Land Vol. 1 to 3 and Regio Reisen Berlin – Chemnitz. In addition to annotated photo series and graphic photo editing, research on the places passed and the events associated with them was included in the illustrated books.

This material and footage from later trips forms the basis for the video Reisefreiheit. The title refers to both the time of reunification and the restricted conditions during the pandemic. Places, names and signs are repeated on the respective routes specified by the train timetable. Traveling in this way is very time-consuming in two respects: it takes a long time and the time can be experienced intensively in confrontation with the visual sensations that emerge. Such tour de force trips through East German and Bavarian provinces offer revealing insights into the sometimes “blossoming” landscapes, the state of the railroad stations, industrial and commercial facilities and what can be called the backyards of Germany.

From an artistic point of view, there are a variety of themes and challenges, from photographing from and in moving trains to reflections, blurring, image cropping and their subsequent design as image sequences-and their subsequent design as image sequences. Repetition in variations emerges as a basic motif. Photographic momentary perceptions, perspective, temporal conditions, subjective perspectives constitute the travel-film sequence. What has already been photographed is very likely to be reactivated from visual memory and photographed again, but in a different way. In the video, the montage condenses and contrasts the documentary with painterly-graphic interpretation or alienation. The video was started in fall 2020 and can be seen as a whole or as a sequence of 33 short films.