La Nueva Escuela (2021, 4K, 16:9, 60‭')

A Film by Florian Zeyfang‭ ‬/‭ ‬Lisa Schmidt-Colinet‭ ‬/‭ ‬Alexander Schmoeger

- In production – Project premiere in the exhibition “Bildungsschock”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2021

One of the first and most important goals of the revolution in Cuba in 1959 was the idea of an education for all and thus the determined expansion of access to education. A new architecture was imagined to overcome disparities between the country and the city that had originated in pre-revolutionary feudalism. The underdevelopment of the rural regions was to be counteracted; the advancement of the population outside and inside the cities was to be harmonized.

With this in mind, the first model schools were created in the 1960s, and a nationwide program was introduced in the 1970s, named "Schools in the field" (Escuelas en el campo). These boarding schools were meant to both teach student, and to involve them in the work of agricultural plantations (sugar, citrus, coffee and tobacco). As part of this program, around 350 new schools were built across the island – all using the same “Sistema Giron”.

The size of this educational program, and its standardized implementation, triggered the idea to work on a film and installation project about the “Nueva Escuela”, to be finalized in 2021. The idea to overcome educational hierarchies and to synchronize campesino and urban youth cultures will be scrutinized from several angles. We are interested in both the idea of systematic construction, and the economy of educational architecture as a moment of political development.

Camera:‭ Florian Zeyfang
Archive images: Studio Vittorio Garatti
Sound: Lisa Schmidt-Colinet
Text: Florian Zeyfang, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, Alexander Schmoeger
Montage:‭ ‬Florian Zeyfang
Digital Mastering:‭ ‬Christoph Manz
Thanks to: Vittorio Garatti, Christian Zecchin, Andrea Vertura