Stefan Hayn

Stefan Hayn, NEVER EVER CLEVER, 2015

Deliberations on Children's Film

In Büchsenhausen Hayn would like to undertake a critical examination of contemporary premises and manifestations behind the visual narrative for children in various media – film, television, (audio-) book, Internet. His interest focuses on ideas articulated in these formats regarding the significance of images and narrative within the traditional context.

In the German-speaking countries children’s film, children’s media, family entertainment seem to have been (re-)discovered as a “highly-promising market sector” in the last ten to fifteen years. The branding campaigns to seduce a young audience across the board early on, meanwhile, are being copied successfully from the Disney productions originally seen as an all-powerful competitor. Beyond this profit aspect, however, a far-reaching analysis of content, visual quality and “morality” standards will be one of the study’s foremost interests; looking at how they are maintained above all by critically positioned forums (production and reception) and consortia dealing with “other”, “high-quality” children’s film. A majority of current German children’s media, according to Hayn, is characterized not least by a retro-trend. Here, it seems that standards of the media workers’ own childhood and youth, now that they have become parents, are being staged for children by the parent generation in a sentimentalizing, ironically heightened or distanced way – “Cold War”, anti-authoritarian ideas and, subconsciously, authoritarian national-socialist (still) influenced worlds of emotion.

Before the background of more recent psychoanalytical studies on the psychosexual development of children, another intention is to examine selected examples from the field of children’s media for their implications in this respect. A further aspect of the research will comprise narrative and artistic works that adopt an interim position, as they do not address (only) children and young people explicitly, but refer very precisely to childhood and youth and so (need to) deal with the question of how (intimate-personal) childhood experiences can be related/shown in order to make the outcome watchable for children. What taboos and limits are touched upon, breached, and possibly violated in this context?

Hayn’s work project will also seek to incorporate practical-empirical cooperation with children and young people, authors and artists, responsible parties in the media, therapists, educationalists and teachers. The results of the research will be shown in public presentations and discussed with invited guests.

Stefan Hayn lives in Berlin. His films released since 1989 question artistic as well as cinematic categorisation, and reject simplistic genre attributions. His works (films, painting, essays) have been presented in a wide range of art and film contexts. He has taught at Berlin University of the Arts, specializing in the interrelations of film and painting.

Stefan Hayn is a painter and filmmaker. In his more recent works he attempts to enable an emotional experience of film-immanent processes or – in comparisons within the exhibition space – processes of painterly or filmic perception including their social-historical and biographical-individual connections. He also reflects on artistic approaches aiming towards openness in conceptual-essayistic works. He presents his films in cinemas, on TV, and at international festivals. Most recently, the Heidelberger Kunstverein and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna showed a selection of his film works and paintings.

For a filmography of Stefan Hayn, see also: Stefan Hayn