October 25, 2008 - Siemens Arts Program - Fressen oder Fliegen (Feasting or Flying)
October 25, 2008

Fressen oder Fliegen (Feasting or Flying)

Christoph Schlingensief
“African Twintowers. Stairlift to Heaven” (2007)
Foto: FBM-Studio, Zürich
Installationsansichten, “Christoph Schlingensief: Querverstümmelung”, migros museum für gegenwartskunst, Zürich

Fressen oder Fliegen (Feasting or Flying)
Art into Theatre – Theatre into Art
November 1 – 16, 2008

Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany

A cooperation between HAU and Siemens Arts Program


With Jérôme Bel, Phil Collins, Keren Cytter/Susanne Sachsse, Thomas Demand, Diedrich Diederichsen, Tim Etchells, Harun Farocki/Antje Ehmann, Anselm Franke, Peter Friedl, Tellervo Kalleinen/Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Katarzyna Kozyra, Melissa Logan/Thomas Meinecke, Mobile Academy, Rabih Mroué, Peaches, Rimini Protokoll, Christoph Schlingensief, Tino Sehgal, Tris Vonna-Michell
as well as
Hans Ulrich Obrist talks with: John Bock, Olafur Eliasson, Douglas Gordon, Keren Cytter, Harun Farocki, Anri Sala, Christoph Schlingensief

For detailed information on the program and advance ticket sales,
please visit www.hebbel-am-ufer.de or www.siemensartsprogram.com

Orchestrating a dialogue between the visual arts and theatre, this project sets out to explore the reciprocal impact and attraction between the two media. On view across the three stages of the Berlin Hebbel am Ufer theatre are works by visual artists, newly-emerging commissioned works, together with existing installations. Out of a series of discussions and on-site inspections with artists, there evolved a festival program which is to be performed over 16 days on the three stages of the HAU. Here the focus of interest lies both in the theatral moments of the visual arts, and in the encounter of a diverse array of artists with the specific aesthetic of the theatre. This raises the question of the significance of mimesis describing processes which oscillate between representation and imitation.

Sharing the same title of the festival “Fressen oder Fliegen”, the work by Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann alludes to the statement: “Some dissect a bird in order to eat it, others in order to discover how to fly”. In their video installation, created especially for the festival, the two artists explore the filmic “shot-reverse shot” technique, dissect scenes and camera angles and project them simultaneously onto the stage.

The artist Thomas Demand, who in recent years garnered acclaim with his photos and films of environments reconstructed from cardboard, familiar to us only from their photographic and filmic representation, causes rain drops to fall into the theatre. Only after a while does one realize that the drops are not of water, but are artificial animations – fashioned by hand image by image. The film projection fills the stage, hundreds of raindrops cascade onto the wet floor which in an empty hall resonate like applause.

The art of illusion, or “pretence” was originally a theatrical theme. Yet the issue of role and role reversal is also germane to the visual arts when installed within a stage-like setting in which the visitor is cast involuntarily into a particular role. Keren Cytter has fashioned an installation which transports the visitor into the house of the desperate Cartier family. Burdened by massive debts they decide to kill themselves and their children with insulin, although the dose only proves fatal for the youngest child.

On two evenings during the festival, the curator Anselm Franke will examine the theme of mimesis by illustrating performative strategies in art from a different perspective. The video work by the visual artist Phil Collins, for which he initiated a laughing competition, investigates forms of participation using mimetic strategies, or “pretence” as evinced in the subsequent performance of Jérôme Bels “The show must go on”. In his choreography, Bel trawls through the great pop songs of music history for gestures and movements which have become established in the collective cultural memory, and which are then imitated by his performers.

A further strand of the festival is devoted to artists working both in theatre and in the visual arts. One such example is Christoph Schlingensief who in “The African Twin Towers – Stairlift to Heaven” literally places the viewer into the image. The festival is accompanied by a program of discussions, performances and lectures by guest speakers, including Diedrich Diederichsen. To open the festival on November 1, Hans Ulrich Obrist is staging a public “Interview Marathon”, during which he will be interviewing various artists over a period of six hours.

Siemens Arts Program

Siemens Arts Program
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