My choreographic installation Raum#1 was designed to be a 15-minute performance for one dancer and one audience member at a time. Over the course of 4 days, 50 people were given appointments to come see the piece. They were led individually into the cellar under Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei and experienced the piece, which took place mainly in darkness, with brief flashes of light, showing scenes, actions, movements – usually as images to be watched, only occasionally going into some kind of contact with the guest. Despite its format, the piece was not, in that sense, interactive. The one-on-one situation, the darkness, and the underlying sound (a recording of the room’s atmosphere amplified) was intended to put the guest in a certain state of concentration, of heightened sensibility.

The content of the images was based on the atmosphere of two different books: One was Frauen gegen Hitler – Berichte aus dem Widerstand (Women against Hitler – Reports from the Resistance); This was a book I had discovered as a child, by chance; I found it one day on my mother’s desk. It’s dark atmosphere of monotone terror and description of prison conditions in the Third Reich fascinated me, but I had forgotten about the book completely until many years later, when I visited a course being taught on Holocaust images in the contemporary BDSM scene. Asking my mother to send me the book again, I realized that the stories inside were actually rather dull and badly written, but my childish imagination of this atmosphere remained.

The other text that also informed the installation was a short story by Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges, La Escritura del Dios (The Writing of the God), which describes an Aztec priest, incarcerated with a jaguar, who searches for a divine script in the patterns of the animal’s fur.

Neither of these two texts was taken very literally. While I used a few brief images relating to them, I attempted to work mainly by association and the “physical” qualities of the spaces described, transporting what I hope to be the atmosphere of these stories, not the stories themselves.

Although I’m still interested in creating pieces for a stage situation as well, I found the idea of preparing a room for people to visit extremely rich with possibility.

Choreographed and performed by
David Bloom
Lighting design
Benjamin Schälike
Guide
Federica Fiore
Photography
Anne-Mareike Hess
Sound support
Alex Arteaga

A very special thanks to Claudia Garbe, Grit Sperschneider and the Kulturbrauerei, Nik Haffner, Gabi Beier, Thilo Wittenbecher and the MimeCentrum, Ingolf Watzlaw, Ka Rustler, Caspar Graf von Rex and the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch”, and Katharina Resch.

Press and Reviews

  1. An online review by Dr. Torsten Flüh at NightOut@Berlin