Born 1962, Germany, Gmelin's work explores the role of memory, particularly exploring its cultural and political significance. He often uses his own family history as a starting point for his work.
Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II consists of two films: the first film is by the German director Gerd Conradt from 1968, in which students (including Gmelin’s father) carry a red flag through the city of Berlin to the city hall, where they hang it from the balcony as a gesture of anti- capitalist protest. The second is a remake from 2002 that shows Gmelin and his students passing a red flag through the streets of Stockholm, but failing to raise it. Shown next to each other, the differences in the works become obvious and are an invitation for reflection on the changing meaning of political symbols.
For the performance Understanding Negative Dialectics, children will read a theoretical text written by Gmelin’s father in 1968. The text describes the necessity for social change, and the relationship between the individual and the collective. Initially, Felix Gmelin produced a film version of the work with his own son, then ten years old, struggling to read the text to the camera. His difficulty in understanding the text poetically underlines the tension between a theory and the subject of the text. For Version Control, the work will be repeated with children from Bristol, reading an English translation of the original text.