Public Interventions in Berlin and San Francisco
Access Exit is a series of ten embodied interventions in collaboration with performance artist and scholar Raegan Truax, taking place at, on and around “public” sculptures from June 2014 – ongoing. The work questions how we access and exit public spaces, dialogues, historical context, memory, time, artistic practices, relationships, authorship and notions of monumentality.
Our point of departure was a 90-minute performance in Berlin on the sculpture 13.4.1981 by Olaf Metzel. Commonly referred to as “Randale-denkmal” (riot-memorial).
Metzel created the sculpture in 1987 using metal crowd-control barricades. It was installed as part of Berlin’s ‘Sculpture Boulevard’ to celebrate the city’s 750th anniversary and referenced a violent riot which took place on 13.4.1981 at the intersection where the sculpture was erected six years later.
Metzel’s sculpture incited new public protests, became a regular meeting site for alternative thinkers, punks and political protests, and was removed the following year by the mayor, who called the sculpture a “pile of junk.”
Fourteen years later, the sculpture was privately acquired to be re-erected outside of Universal Music Headquarters on Berlin’s MediaSpree.
Inserting our bodies into this fraught history, each of the per- formances that unfolds during our collaboration activates and moves rhizomatically across socio-historical and artistic points of access and exit.
After performing together in the creation of Access Exit I/IX, we began to alternate our performances and build our work by ex- changing 9-minute films and other physical materials from each subsequent intervention. Performances combine movement, stillness and an embodied response to the existing public sculpture and our continuing dialogue as collaborators communicating with and through our bodies across time and space.
The series of interventions marks an opposition of two bodies, state and citizen, sculpture and performer, the choreographed social sphere and the performance choreographically interfacing with a live public and across different public spaces. The physical and the nonphysical web, through which we exchange different documents of our work, also creates a new work/virtual performance which activates a new set of mechanisms and questions about access and exit.