The Jungle Book
HD-Video, 12 min., 2013
The Jungle Book is short video loosely inspired on the children’s television series Sesame Street. Sesame Street, together with a number of other children’s programmes with an educational curriculum, have been running in the United States and Europe since the late 60’s. A product of public broadcasting, children’s television series are mostly meant to be educational shows, with a strong emphasis, on socialization and pedagogy. Sesame Street for instance, regularly teaches pre-schoolers the value of sharing, friendship, kindness towards the disadvantaged or the socially vulnerable, and the importance of helping the elderly –in short, the values and beliefs of Social Democracy. Though these children series are still regularly aired, the future of public broadcasting is by no mean bright. In most south European countries for instance, the public channels were recently privatized. Under the weight of the sovereign debt crisis the welfare state is also about to crumble, and, together with it, the shared belief in universal education, access to health care or unemployment assistance. Social democracy might soon be but a faint memory.
The Jungle Book is a children’s program for the coming neo-liberal era. Instead of community minded and affectionate, Jan Peter Hammer’s characters aim to teach children the values and set of beliefs that will lead them to thrive in this new social environment, from busting state pensions while blaming the elderly to experimenting with privatized currencies and other rent-seeking financial mechanisms. In the words of the immortal William Temple “there is no reason why a four year old cannot earn a decent living”.