Hartmut, Dasniya Thomas Brasch Fesseln

Last week I was helping Hartmut and Dasniya, filming along the Spree around the Berliner Ensemble, for a project on the Berlin writer, Thomas Brasch. We met again this morning (after a surprisingly fast training ride through Tegelwald), to photograph and film some more. Tying up piles of manuscript, including Mädchenmörder Brunke, something about 2000 pages being sent by fax … well, they did the tying and stacking, I just messed around with camera and ended up with 15 minutes of hopefully useful footage and another gig of images.

Quite damaged ropes

This is a story about a ladder. One which we borrow on occasion, when we need to hang the rings in the Alte Kantine from the beams we once drilled through to. We borrow this ladder from the sculpture studio in the centre of Uferhallen, behind the café. One day, a couple of weeks ago, while walking it to the Kantine, we were told of someone coming shortly to Berlin who was planning to suspend 60 or more people for a film in the biggest hall.

We’d been meaning since then to ask again for the person’s name, as the only Swiss photographer with that name seemed to not have made a history of hanging up large masses of people in dirty machine halls. And as we’ve been slowly working on mass suspensions in such places, it seemed unseemly for such a thing to happen in Uferhallen without us. Sunday though, the ladder was required once more.

Dasniya returned with ladder and with someone I thought might be a extra for our rehearsal.

Actually, he was that Swiss photographer, and the ladder had neatly intervened to arrange our meeting precisely as we began our own rope installation. We talked briefly, and perhaps twice during the rehearsal (once amidst ‘responsible/unhelpful 30 second shibari’) he returned to watch.

Some talking, some phone calls made to Dasniya. Leading to this afternoon in Matthias’ studio with a score of people here to film Michel Comte’s Madame Butterfly – The little girl from Nagasaki, and some buckets of clay. Massive sculptures and friezes fill the space, into which dancers shall be dressed in gauze kimonos, tied (yes, in our beloved anarchic unshibari), and suspended.

An attempt was made on Dasniya after lunch, using our dear Parsifal ropes, and the vats of clay, draped across a work-block and more than smothered in the slippery sticky goo. Embedded in handfuls rubbed and squeezed into the ropes until hands, feet, torso were rough, unshaped clumps. The ropes have never been so surprised, and for the first time no amount of delicacy could extract them – if they could even be found in the benthic geology – and so scissors were resorted to.

Which is to say, Dasniya and I have found ourselves working with Michel and a large group on his film for the next week or so. So much for going to Paris, and all because of a ladder.

(I have photos and even video, but perhaps I am becoming responsible, and shall confer before uploading.)

temperance at cinedans

On a whim in May, because it landed in my maiming lists inbox, I decided to send temperance to Cinedans, promptly forgetting all about it in the whirl between then and a month or so ago. Then I find out it’s been accepted into the Festival and promptly forget to blog about it. So: temperance will be at the 2011 Cinedans Festival in Amsterdam from December 1st-4th. I’ll be in Brussels then, and shall try to find one of those €14.50 tickets from there to (the other) there, for a day/weekend of dance film, visiting Lewis if he’s in town, and canals.

die singende stadt — parsifal and calixto bieito

The last day screening, Dasniya and I climbed the stairs of Hackesche Höfe Kino for 90 more minutes of the inescapable Parsifal. Die Singende Stadt, an un-narrated documentary of the making of an opera, here being in Stuttgart, the opera of course Parsifal, and as far from Roméo Castellucci as possible, the director is Calixto Bieito. Between the two Parsifals is Parsifal, Andrew Richards is this role in both.

Early tomorrow we shall find ourselves south-westwards going, to Stuttgart to see just this. Flamethrowers, apocalypse, suppurating goiters, a very scary Klingsor who beats young boys as angels as swans, the swan Parsifal downs, and of course Parsifal himself. Erlöser?

Werner Bab

One of the first sites I did as a freelancer was porting from a dead cms into WordPress for photographer and documentary maker (and philosopher) Christian Ender. Imdialog! is a documentary project on Werner Bab, a Berliner Jew who was sent to Auschwitz in 1942. He survived there, as well as Mauthausen and Ebensee, to return to Berlin after the war.

Christian documented Werner’s journey through the camps in Zeitabschnitte des Werner Bab, which has been shown across Germany in schools and around the world accompanied by Werner, who would speak on his experiences.

Werner died on 31st July, aged 86.


In den Abendstunden des 31. Juli 2010 ist Werner Bab plötzlich und unerwartet friedlich eingeschlafen, wenige Wochen vor seinem 86. Geburtstag.

Die letzten fünf Jahren engagierte sich Werner Bab unermüdlich und warb für Demokratie, Toleranz und Völkerverständigung.

Mit seiner lebensbejahenden und positiven Einstellung stand er in über 150 Gesprächen vor über 20.000 Schülern als Zeitzeuge zur Verfügung.

Offen beantwortete Werner Bab die gestellten Fragen zu seinen Erlebnissen als Häftling in den Konzentrationslagern Auschwitz, Mauthausen und Ebensee, um vor den Folgen totalitärer Regime zu warnen.

Um dieses Engagement zu unterstützen wurde der Verein „imdialog!e.V.“ gegründet, welcher nun aufgelöst wird.

Diese Internetseite, das hier bereitgestellte Gäste- und Gedenkbuch sowie die in 19 Sprachen untertitelte Dokumentation „Zeitabschnitte des Werner Bab“ werden in Erinnerung an Werner Babs Wirken weiter aufrechterhalten.

In stiller Trauer,

Christian Ender

Im August 2010


On the evening of July 31, 2010, Werner Bab passed away peacefully. His death was sudden and unexpected, just a few weeks before his 86th birthday.

During the past five years, Werner Bab worked tirelessly toward democracy, tolerance and international understanding.

With his optimistic and positive attitude to life, he shared his experiences of the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Ebensee, answering questions from more than 20,000 students in over 150 discussions. His aim was to warn people of the consequences of a totalitarian regime.

In order to support this endeavour, the “imdialog!e.V.” association was founded, which has now been dissolved.

The Internet site as well as the guest and remembrance book will continue to be maintained to honour the memory of Werner Bab and his achievements.

On this site, one may also request free of charge the complete documentary “Zeitabschnitte des Werner Bab” (“Time Intervals of Werner Bab”). This documentary has been subtitled in 19 languages.

In deepest sympathy,

Christian Ender

August, 2010


rehearsing in café prückel

Today in Café Prückel, in the cellar, in the theatre. Filming some of the performance and performing some of it also. This is the second half of the work, after the upstairs half at café tables with opaque, anxiety-inducing, self-involved monologues. I felt as if I was back in Settlement again, the intensity of long physical improvisations with little to start with but somehow Hans has given enough that things happen of their own accord. Lewis liked it so much he’s thinking of staying.

Last night seeing Louise Lecavalier in Akademietheater, performing Children by another choreographer I have strong euro-memories of — Zürich in SiWiC, where all the people… began and where I managed my first proper Europe life (well several months of) — with Nigel Charnock. Barrel rolls and amusing to see where ADT got its aesthetic from, though what it did with the idea, and what subsequent choreographers and dancers have done with the idea…

Anyway, more to think upon what kind of dancer I’d like to be in my fifties, and in Louise having something of a real ideal to aspire to. When I think of people who are still in their peak in their fifties, it tends to be climbers and other non-dancers. It’s difficult to find someone who manages dance and who doesn’t look compromised because of their age. So, hopefully when I am 52 I will be learning new things in movement and not slowing down.

And Hans. We have a little over a week till opening (I think), and much of it came together today. A long day underneath the café. Not much to say on what we do yet, as it still feels private and unformed (and unlike last year, ImPulsTanz haven’t found out about supernaut yet), shall wait yet. Shall wonder on what I shall be doing also…

Some photos then (and suddenly unsure whether to covet Panasonic’s new LX5, or their impending 3D lens for their Micro Four Thirds cameras — well the latter is looming as a purchase if I ever earn enough anyway…).

slow southern steel

Waking up without coffee at the moment, and of course breakfast reading starts with Ideologic, and so I find myself late leaving as I watch the 2 minutes and 9 seconds of Slow Southern Steel over and over. Oh this is a film I want to see. Metal south of the Mason Dixon line, southern trash, Weedeater, Dixie Witch… more! more!

save the vca

It is a long time ago now, camping on the lawn outside the front of Victorian College of the Arts on St Kilda Road, some nights it rained and all the while we waited for a decision. It has been maybe ten years. A slow death that speaks perhaps of sadism on the one side and unwavering determination on the other.

Which is to say, it is telling that only a year or so after Professor Andrea Hull departed from her long-held position as the Dean of VCA, death is imminent.

At the time of tent city there was much animosity towards her. Student Union politics were often the province of ad hominem attacks as they were in addressing the real issue of tertiary education in Australia. The year after, Andrea invited me to attend the Queen’s Trust for Young Australians Forum in Sydney. Perhaps this, and our occasional chats when I would be passing through Melbourne, relieved me of some naivety.

I came to admire her a great deal, the personal sacrifices she made to be responsible for the College, her love of that odd assortment of buildings in the middle of the city – a more beautiful location for an arts college would be difficult to find – her belief in the staff and students and… in the necessity for and reason why such a place would exist. And of course the endless battle to keep VCA alive, every year losing ground, every year a little more taken away.

When I heard of VCA being digested by Melbourne University, and at the same time of Andrea’s departure, I wanted to write something more considered. Well, there isn’t time. I’d like to think Save VCA can do just that, but it’s been over ten years of intentional eroding of the College. Even if they were to stave off this attack there is so much lost and – I very much suspect – the political will in Melbourne and Australia to set things right is absent.

I was in Melbourne, working on hell, I wandered into VCA, to the Production Department, or School of Production as I think it became. The same pre-fab buildings and sheds with the vast Eucalyptus in the courtyard. Somehow shabby and yet I always felt welcome there. Maybe it was the horses from the Police stables.

So a handful of years since I graduated, and as ever, I was in search of lighting stock. JC was his usual obliging self, as was Roger. For no reason other than their passion for theatre they helped me again, far beyond what was required. I saw Roger again early last year, finding him in the audience at monadologie, and then later when I arrived home, chatting with Caroline, in whose home I was staying.

I don’t want to indulge in historical revisionism because there was plenty at the College I found problematic, but there are people I remember from my time there who inspired me, who encouraged me, taught me from their own vast experience, made time for me – and I was a difficult student – and made real my dim first wanderings in the joy and love of performance and theatre… brought this to life.

And this is what will be lost. There is no other way to train artists than intensely. Long hours in the studio, day after day, for years, a very personal nurturing of talent. It is a special, rare, priceless experience to have, to go through this.


Gunter Kroemer

Over much of this year I’ve been working with Christian Ender on rebuilding the code of one of his documentary sites, imdialog-ev, and in the process have been doing some basic editing and for another, Bedrohte Völker Amazoniens.

The exhibition documents the Nadëb-Makú Indians in the Amazon basin and Padre Gunter Kroemer, co-founder of CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário) who has been for nearly forty years an advocate for the rights of the indigenous peoples in the region.

Padre Kroemer died on Wednesday of a pulmonary infection, in Rio Grande do Sul.