In Lord of the Flies, William Golding describes a group of children being washed ashore on a desert island, where they design their own social structure as if it were a natural process. It is remarkable to witness how quickly the theoretical ideal formulated by the children becomes blemished. Their society degenerates into a very cruel, unjust and violent one. As introduction to Living a beautiful life, Schnitt shows a fragment from Der Katzenprinz, a Czech-East-German film made in 1978. Here, as in a vision, we see the reverse; cheerful, naked children living in a paradise where even wild animals are free from cruelty. The fragment is rather over the top, and, due also to the imagery, recognizable as an exponent of 1970s ideas on freedom and happiness. Which in turn confronts us with the fact that, by now, these ideas have become rather tainted and have been superseded by sense of reality. Although? Has anything taken their place? The video continues with a man and a woman who, as an Adam-Ken and Eve-Barbie, describe the paradise in which they live. Everything, life, environment, work and health - literally everything is perfect. Ahead of us, they - perfect human beings - have achieved everything anyone could wish for. The enumeration of achievements soon becomes unbearable. The immaculate accumulation of all those personal ideals, ambitions and targets which, indeed, are often being mentioned around us - makes us yearn for sin. (Vinken & van Kampen)
During a 3 months stay in Los Angeles Schnitt visited different schools and asked the kids the question: 'how do you imagine a beautiful life'? Their statements are the source for the filmtext.
Courtesy of the artist