Feldaufnahme (field recording)


Agriculture in Europe has changed a lot within the last decades and years. Like with other plants, the harvest of corn is done with big machines. A girl with a microphone gets lost in the cornfield. A farmer looks at his plants. They are all in a cornfield, the parallel montage evokes some dramatical stories, but the film is mainly about observing the harvest and the change of the landscape.

(Elderly farmer from the off in Low-german)
This belongs to the farm of
Borkmann and is rented out.
There is also no follower
on that farm.
The main house is rented,
some families live there.
At last everything is changing
in the farming business …

The harvest has been accompagnied with a camera and besides the big machines, I started to film the camera assistant who enjoyed listening to the sound of a cornfield for the first time. If you have ever been in a cornfield you can imagine that it’s not always easy to find your way out – it’s like a djungle! However, the sound of the big harvesting machines cannot be overheard, unless you’re completely into something else…

A motivation for making the video was to document the big change of the landscape: http://apothekebillig.com while from midsummer on, you cannot see very far anymore due to the highth of the corn, after the harvest you suddenly can look very far. Suddenly, you see farms and a horizon where there used to be a „green hell“ like some people say. Allthough corn as a plant has only been cultivated since 50 years in the region Münsterland (close to the dutch border), it nowadays covers about 50% of the surface of the region. This is due to the growth of animal production: stables with hundreds of cows or even thousands of pigs need a lot of food! As still new stables for even more animals are being built, it is harder to get land for growing food for a farmer. And renting land has become more and more expensive of course. As a consequence, farmers need to expand or quit farming. Invest or stop. The number of farmers decreased a lot wihtin the past decades for different reasons. But the growing concurrence within an industrialized agriculture makes the farmers become ‚agro managers‘.