Making Camp: Landscape and Community in the Interwar German Youth Movements


Kenny Cupers | 2012

Far away from the city and its complex engagement with modernity, setting up an overnight shelter in the natural landscape hardly seems like a novel, let alone modern experience. Yet, despite the simplicity and apparent timelessness of making camp, this article reveals that in the interwar period camping became the object of intensive reform and design efforts aimed at the construction of a new world. Although these various reforms are not strictly “modernist” – their proponents were far removed from the radical social and artistic groups that would later be collected under the term “the Modern Movement” – they can be understood, in their aim to transform society through social practices and physical design – and perhaps ironically, because of their representation of these practices as timeless, anti-urban and anti-modern – as key to the twentieth-century modern project.

Image: Meeting of the Zehlendorfer Jugend, 1930, © Jungenschaft des Bundes Deutscher Bibelkreise