Dora García and Susan Philipsz at dOCUMENTA(13)

Klau Mich: radicalism in society meets experiment on TV

A project by Dora García for dOCUMENTA(13) in collaboration with Ellen Blumenstein, Samir Kandil, Jan Mech, Theater Chaosium Kassel and Offener Kanal Kassel

An introduction to the project by Dora García

Authority, the Institution, has been challenged in many battles across numerous fields, but especially in those where it chokes the most: the courtroom, the school, the museum, the government, the army, the prison, the asylum, the family.

When I was in Trieste, at the ex-psychiatric hospital of San Giovanni, where Venetian psychiatrist Franco Basaglia carried out his process of de-institutionalization of the mental hospital—successful in so many ways—I saw this old grafitti on the walls of the asylum (it’s written in French: for a brief moment I had a vision of Félix Guattari with a spray can): ‘Caserne = Asile = Prison = Famille. Le Feu Partout’ (Barrack = Asylum = Prison = Family. Fire to it all). Radicalism (Fire) against the institution. What is an institution? In Basaglia’s words: that which cannot change. What is radicalism? The quality of being very different from the usual or traditional; fundamental; favoring extreme change.

KLAU MICH (StealMe), takes its name from the book by Kommune Eins members Rainer Langhans and Fritz Teufel, following their 1967 trial in Berlin, known as the “Arsonist’s Lawsuit.” Kommune Eins was the first politically motivated commune in Germany, created in 1967, and had distributed flyers encouraging people to burn down warehouses so as to experience that “Vietnam feeling.” After groundbreaking debate and strong support for Langhans and Teufel from intellectuals, the court ultimately ruled in their favor: the flyers were defined as art, and therefore innocent.

Anti-institutional movements spread all over the world in the aftermath of 1968. In Germany, they had a special significance because of the strong authoritarian tradition in politics and society. The “Klau Mich” case presented a new form of dissent in the courtroom, full of sarcasm and nerve.

KLAU MICH: Radicalism in Society Meets Experiment on TV is a television talk show broadcast every Friday from the Ständehaus in Kassel through Offener Kanal Kassel, a permanent theater rehearsal that can be followed in real time every day online, and a video and blog archive. The project aims to recover the atmosphere of true public debate and new forms of narrative, experimental theater and means of challenging the audience that were once to be found on public-access television; while making a very conscious use of this “license to kill” or censorship emancipation that art has seemed to enjoy at some glorious moments in time.

First show: Friday June 8 1:50 pm.
Ständehaus Kassel
Every Friday at 1:50 pm., during the 100 days of dOCUMENTA(13)

Susan Philipsz – Study for Strings at Hauptbahnhof

At the Hauptbahnhof the piece Studie für Streichorchester by Susan Philipsz is installed, an elaboration on the same titled piece by the Czech composer Pavel Haas. It was written and first performed at the Jewish Getto of Theresienstadt in 1943. During the Second World War from this station trains were leaving deporting Jews from Kassel. Haas was deported to Auschwitz and killed very soon after.

The Hauptbahnhof was Kassel’s main central station, until all long-distance trains were relocated to the newly built Bahnhof Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe in 1991. Today it is only a local commuter station, and large parts stand empty or are used for new purposes.
The Bahnhof was built between 1851 and 1856 following sketches of Gottlob Engelhard in the style of Romantic Classicism. At the beginning of the 20th century the station was extended, but mostly destroyed again through bombing during WWII. It was reconstructed between 1952 and 1960 under architect Friedrich Bätcher in the style of 1950s, with restoration and integration of some of the old features. In 1953 it was connected to the city center via the newly constructed pedestrian zone, the “Treppenstrasse”.
In 1995 the disused railway station was turned into a cultural venue and became known as the KulturBahnhof. It includes the BALi cinemas, Caricatura, a gallery for comic art, the restaurant and club Gleis 1, the gallery Stellwerk, the KAZ (Kassel Architecture Centre) and the Offener Kanal Kassel (an interactive radio station). In 1997 and 2002 the KulturBahnhof was used as a venue for documenta X and 11.

Susan Philipsz was born in 1965 in Glasgow and lives in Berlin. Her solo exhibitions have included the Ludwig Forum, Aachen (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011), Artangel, London (2010), and the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (2009). She has participated in a group exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), and in the Biennale of Sydney (2008), and Skulptur Projekte Münster (2007). In 2010, she won the Turner Prize.