The street is more like a machine of movement equipped to make traffic run smoothly than, in its original and spontaneous form, a breeding ground for life. The efficiency controlling the traffic grid does not merely affect the existing living area, but also the form and pattern of a new way of living. Residential areas have turned into traffic zones; inhabitants are pushed back into their homes. The function of the street, of the home and the working environment is marked off – there are no in- between spaces left, nothing but trajectories.
With sound and image, director Jef Cornelis and screenwriter Geert Bekaert (°1928) evoke the deterioration of the street, once public, into a fragment of an unnatural, ruthless production system. This film was made at the occasion and as an extension of the exhibition De Straat. Vorm van samenleven (The street. A way of living together) that took place at the van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (2 June - 24 September 1972). The exhibition assigned a central role to ‘the user’. It was hoped that raising issues concerning the environment and the way it was planned and designed, would activate public awareness and participation in cultural and social processes. After all, the street was “from, for and by everyone”, an expression and manifestation of society itself, so this are probably the reason why Cornelis refused to take part to the exhibition and instead proposed to broadcast (precisely on September 14th 1972) his film on Flemish television. As a result, the exhibition was not confined to the walls of the museum, it reached out to the television network in order to involve television in an actual social process.

Original broadcast date: 14/09/1972