Fire a Thousand Poems—A Fluxus Happening

Throwing a stone is a criminal offense. Throwing 1000 stones is a political action.  – Ulrike Meinhof

Theater HochX, Munich, November 3 – 6, 2020

Concept and idea: Michael Grossmann | Evening director: Jacqueline Reddington | Dramaturgy: Stella Grossmann | Cast: Tim Blunk, Paul Brody, Katharina Heißenhuber, Stefan Merki | Musicians: Paul Brody, Katharina Heißenhuber, Oliver Klenk | Compositions: Paul Brody, Reiko Füting, Sunbin Kim | Texts: Tim Blunk, Paul Brody, Michael Grossmann | VR videos: Michael Gebendorfer | Videos: Tim Blunk, Michael Gebendorfer, Michael Grossmann | Live video: Michael Gebendorfer | Photography: Denice Breaux, Rae Breaux, Rowin Breaux | MAZ technology: Christian Felder | Panel discussion moderation: Dr. Johanna Zorn

Fire A 1000 Poems occupies Munich’s Theater HochX from November 3rd to 6th. Over the course of a week, the theater will be turned into a discourse space that can only be entered by five spectators. The starting point is former political prisoner Tim Blunk’s experience of solitary confinement at USP Marion. Locked down and separated from other prisoners, he discovered art as a means of ensuring his physical, psychological, and political survival. Through art-based correspondence, Tim Blunk connected with other political prisoners around the world.

The isolation of the individual is transferred to the locking out of the audience. In the afternoons, five spectators are invited to a walk-in installation with reading, live concert and VR.

Video installation let in. For the discussions and readings at 8 p.m. (Central European Time,) the room is only accessible via live stream. What can be seen live and what is pre-produced, what is real and what is not, is blurred. A discursive examination of the political possibilities of art – not only in isolation.

Finally, on November 7th, there will be a panel discussion on the subject of art and politics.

Programmheft: Fire a 1000 Poems — The program for events, November 3 – 6 at Theater HochX (in German)

Letters to a screen—Munich premiere

Letters to a Screen deals with communication, distancing and alienation. It is loosely programmatic and drawn from two times and places (West Germany in late 1977, the United States in mid-2020).

In this time, communication has become ever more distant, both physically and mentally. This is especially true for the younger generation, who are dependent on precarious temporary work and deprived of time and money to form social bonds.

Human beings are social creatures, and even in an atomised existence, they need social bonds just as they need food and water. A starving person will even eat rotten food to survive. So, many young working people seek second- or third-hand sources of sociality, using readily available virtual media – but none of these can truly fulfill our need. Social cognition is blunted as communication becomes pushed off to more far-off media.

To represent this growing alienation between people, Kim’s piece explores three „levels“ of communication as translated to music: real performance (live musicians), semblance of a performance (recordings, of both composed and quoted music), and artificial imitation of music without performance (VST / MIDI sequencing). Reality is stifled and artificiality dominates. The theatrics of the piece depicts the desire, and indeed need, to perform after all, so the real music – the real message again and again creeps to the surface, but struggles to break out under the second- and third-hand layers.

It will be performed by Katharina Heißenhuber (vocals) and Oliver Klenk (clarinet).