Staging Realities I

1. - 31. May 2018

In spring and fall of 2018, the Kunstverein in Hamburg will feature a number of short interventions engaging with performance as a possibility to purposefully manipulate the experience. While the formulation “alternative facts” has recently been elected ugliest word of the year 2017, philosophy has been aware since the Enlightenment at the latest that the actual value of “truth” lies in the productive argument about it—under the condition that all participants agree on the space of negotiation. Against the background of the current debate on so-called post-truth and its entry into day-to-day politics and the press, the project celebrates the potential of the arts to envision fictions and alternative conceptual spaces. For it is precisely these shifts in our perspective and the expansion of our horizon of experience, that make up the special attraction of art, or, as the band Tocotronic, fomed in Hamburg, put it in a nutshell: “Pure reason must never win. We sorely need new lies to guide us through the universe.”

On several evenings, themes such as body, identity, history, language, and science will be highlighted in regard to their forms of possibility and their potential to deconstruct and destabilize alleged facticity. A special focus will be placed on gauging the way music and singing, as the most emotional but also the most manipulative forms of communication, are used as transformative means.


5/4, 7 pm

Nicola Gördes and Stella Rossié (*1986 in Lennestadt and *1989 in Bochum, live and work in Dortmund, Münster, Hamburg) with THUG LIFE

Nicola Gördes and Stella Rossié explore sociocultural and pop cultural phenomena and fields of action in their works, often employing precise humoristic shifts to render the specific set of rules, traditions and characters of such gatherings absurd.
With their most recent performance, THUG LIFE, Gördes and Rossié stage an evening at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, during which everything seems to take place as usual. The lights are on, the guests show up, people greet each other, drinks are served, and the curator goes through his speech one more time. Then a weird haunting hour having to do with the creation of myths and legends sets in. The title of the show was coined by 2Pac, an icon of West Coast gangsta rap. His presumed murder in 1996 at the height of the rivalry between East and West Coast is a cold case to this day and has triggered diverse conspiracy theories. Reports on alleged sightings appear in the press time and again, as with other celebrities of the past, like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe or Kurt Cobain. In 2017 the bullet-ridden car in which the rapper sat when he died was sold as a particularly grotesque fan article for 1.5 million dollars at an auction.
With THUG LIFE, Gördes and Rossié engage with this special form of remembrance culture and its occasionally insane features and transfer it to a performance at the Kunstverein.

5/17, 7pm

Adam Christensen (*1979, Aylesbury, UK, lives and works in London)

Adam Christensen’s works encompass video, performance, writing and music. His artistic practice is informed by emotional and physical experience and environments. The work draws on elements of biography and theatricality that combine and intertwine with the audience to blur the lines between the artist and viewer, life and fiction. His performances explore the everyday and mundane as spectacle and back to the everyday again, thus highlighting the private as a space of performance with a combination of readings of confessional texts, music and a little bit of stomping.