B27 / Berlin 2013

It was summer 2013, and Christoph asked me to film a documentary for B27, a choreography for finding home. Well, it is now that I understand that it was a choreography about finding home - at that point it was just a ragtag team of misfits: dancers, actors and a screenwriter, put in a room in Berlin, with three weeks time to find a piece to perform. And Franz Rogowski, who was trying to direct us.

Naturally, we started out by making a photoshoot for a poster for the non-existing play:

The play itself was to be discovered through experimentation, finding pieces that may work and combining them.
One of the things that were found was.. voluntary convulsions.

My guess is that you can not find home - any home - without being at home in your own body. A body is defined by it’s borders, by it’s freedom of movement.
And the ultimate self-movements of the body are exactly that - convulsions. Convulsions let you reevaluate your bodily borders and limits of control.

But see for yourself:


The other topic that I didn’t get at the time but start to understand now was.. let’s call it.. the reverberant effect of action.
To be precise: not what is done is of any importance, but it’s the things that are - secondarily - affected by the action. Not the words, not the meaning, not the decipherable expression, not even the stated reason for action - but the slightly different state of the world that is created through the performed action.

A beer bottle that gets shattered during a theater piece will startle you for a moment, your blood pressure will rise; adrenalin released. You think briefly how the cleaning person may look like who has to tidy up this mess afterwards. You notice a few glass splinters near the audience, twinkling in the flood lights, and you wonder if someone will step on them on the way out. Finally, you smell the spilled beer, and it reminds you of wholly other things. And who cares why the bottle was destroyed in the first place - the world before bottle destruction does not exist anymore. The bottle was destroyed, it has changed the chemistry of your body and filled your head with new associations; deal with it.

It can be speculated that an explicit declaration of intentions makes the achievement (of involuntary controlled things) impossible. Similar to lying down and trying to relax efficiently. It just doesn’t work. Involuntary controlled things or states seem to be achievable by misdirecting attention; creating a plausible cause for action, and then executing the action that has a desireable side effect.

Franz seemed to be open to forgo any misdirection. It was the state, the changing bodily state that was to be presented - resonating and unforced - that would include and induce the viewer. Thus, finding home in the moment.

But listen for yourself (german, interviewed by Christoph Rath):

I do not know what most of the team went on to do. But for me, Sigrid, Katharina, Jonas, Franz, Tati, Johannes, Felix, Annett and Melmun, for me, you’ll always be home, in Berlin, July 2013.