The show takes up the idea of a »Totaltheater – total theater,« which Bauhaus director Walter Gropius designed in 1926/1927 for Erwin Piscator: »I have not only envisaged the possibility of film projection upon the whole cyclorama of my three-fold stage by means of movable projectors,« wrote Gropius, »but I can also set the entire audience inside a film, as it were, by projecting on walls and ceilings.« In large format projections more than sixty films by Bauhaus authors will be presented in parallel to make the immersive virtual environment experienceable. Films of various lengths run in loops at forty media stations and continually spawn new interrelationships. Thematically and formally the films fall into four categories, and in the exhibition, they are shown: Abstract Films, Political and Experimental Film Essays, Architectural Films, Extended Forms of Films (light projections, film clips for the theater, film performances, film scores).
Persecution by the Nazis, emigration, and war destroyed parts of the Bauhaus film corpus with the effect that the ongoing development of the modern film in Germany came to a halt. Some Bauhaus authors could only realize the films they had conceived in their years at the Bauhaus after the war – partly because their projects needed color film and that had not yet been introduced. The light projections, dance and object theater, which were always presented live in the 1920s, can be viewed on recordings from the post-war period.
The show highlights particularly the important role of the seven Bauhaus women who made films. Two of them coauthored seminal German avant-garde films but up to now they have remained uncredited. In symbiotic living and working communities these women – amongst them Ellen Auerbach, Ella Bergmann-Michel, Ré Soupault (geb. Erna Niemeyer) und Lore Leudesdorff – brought the new formal language of the Bauhaus to the classic works of Absolute film.
Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy advocated establishing a »central experimental film section« at the school. As one of the most important image theorists of the twentieth century and one of the leading innovators at the Bauhaus he placed film and photography at the center of his thinking about »Neues Sehen – New Vision.« However, he was not successful in securing the necessary funding from industry for this venture. In spite of this, new research has shown that more than 28 Bauhaus authors did actually worked on film and light projections.