Fear as a Chance
Christoph Schlingensief founds the Church of Fear
By Ernst Corinth
[This article published on June 9, 2003 in the cyber journal Telepolis is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.telepolis.de/deutsch/inhalt/sa/14963//.html.]
"My Fear inc." now follows the "I co." Fear has long been a mass p;henomenon. 2.3 million people in Germany suffer in pathological fear according to a 2001 study of the Technical University of Dresden and the Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry6 in Munich. Fear is the most frequent psychic sickness among women.
The director, artist and former party founder Christoph Schlingensief  now relies completely on fear. More specifically, he propagates the confession to fear and calls into being a church of fear . This church of fear which has its own communities in cities like Berlin, Munster, Zurich and Paris understands itself as a community of non-believers or, as a press release declares, of people who "want to distance themselves and renounce the offers of faith of generally acknowledged sects in politics, economy, media and culture."
Faith is produced most effectively, says church father Schlingensief, "where nothing is more urgent than unbelief in the parliaments, stock exchanges and television studios." The starting point of the Church of Fear is the confession of fear, the confession of one's own imperfection and vulnerability from which propagandists in all camps and systems seek to profit.
This has a true core though it sounds a little twisted. People are recruited for crusades against evil in a religiously garnished way in large-scale politics. In the private sphere, success and careers have long been a kind of substitute religion. People learn manners and build up their stamina in courses. Whoever can't keep up is quickly stamped as a loser. Whoever doesn't want to keep pace is declared an unrealistic, starry-eyed na´ve heretic.
Schlingensief is also a heretic. He draws through the land and the media with slogans like "you are owner of your fear" and "It is time to frighten offensively." With seven volunteers, he celebrated a public confession of fear in Venedig. Even if this unusual church ultimately fails, it puts its finger on the wound of a society possessed by fear. Failure was never a problem for Schlingensief but a chance. The man is and remains a hopeless optimist.