STASI HEADQUARTERS CAMPUS FOR DEMOCRACY.
PLACE OF REPRESSION, PLACE OF REVOLUTION, PLACE OF ENLIGHTENMENT.
... PLACE OF ART AND CULTURE?
A theater beyond the theater building. With the performance SEID DOCH LAUT we occupy the place that was the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security for 40 years. In order to secure the power of the SED, the Stasi staff organized the surveillance and oppression of the GDR population from here, from here Erich Mielke gave the orders to shoot to death along the inner-German border. The misanthropy associated with this place is still radiated by the buildings on the site. We choose this place because from here the repressions and decompositions of the opposition group “Women for Peace” started, here the feedings took place. From here the IM (informal collaborators) were infiltrated into the peace group. By returning to this place, we deny the state security the word and tell the story solely from the perspective of the “Women for Peace”. The performance will take place in House 22, the “Feldherrenhügel” in the center of the area, it is the former conference hall for festive events. The size of the space is used, the spatial separation between spectators and performers is eliminated. Inspired by the Political Night Prayers organized by the Peace Women in the Church, the place of repression is transformed into a place of democratic exchange.
By taking place in this historically charged place, the performance enters into a relationship with the place, the original place. Unlike theater construction, this place is not neutral. The place has a history that does not apply to the presentation of theater. Its meaning and use experiences an alienation. Therefore, the performance equally draws attention to the space. So it is an influence in both directions. We overwrite this place, but not for the first time. It is a place of overwritings. Each one leaves traces. There are six layers of paint on the wall paneling. We move on the stained carpet of the Deutsche Bahn, which sold the site in 2011, it is said for one euro, the walls are whitewashed, the old lamps on the ceilings hidden under fluorescent tubes, the future use of these many rooms in the former Stasi headquarters partly unresolved, the land now worth a lot of money. Spaces and places for art and culture are becoming smaller and smaller due to rising real estate prices and speculation, displacement is taking place. Art can help to protect our democracy, because through art we express our feelings and our world views, and these can also be critical. A strong democracy lives from freely working artists. A place for artists’ studios would be a future project for the Campus for Democracy.