The Human Version
…Von diesen Städten wird bleiben:
der durch sie hindurchging,
…Of these here cities will remain:
that which has passed past them,
Vom Armen B.B. (Of poor B.B.) – Bertolt Brecht
For the occasion of European Heritage Days 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to create a site-specific dance performance for Berlin’s Teufelsberg (literally The Devil’s Mountain) – a former US National Security Agency listening station, now an abandoned Cold War relic, built on the top of a huge mountain of piled-up rubble from the ruins of Berlin after the end of the 2nd World War. The piece draws inspiration from the site, and from Bertolt Brecht‘s poem Vom Armen B.B., written in Berlin between the two world wars, which charts a prophetic arch from dark forests to cultured urbanity, then back to darkness. It seems that Brecht identified within himself, and within the society of 1920s Berlin, something that is perhaps at the core of us all, the darkness of the dark forests, which seeps in on occasion, sweeping away all civilised pretensions. “In the earthquakes that are coming I shall hopefully / Not let my cigar be extinguished by bitterness” writes Brecht. Fittingly, the Teufelsberg ruin, the Devil’s Mountain, with its tall concrete towers, crowned with white geodesic domes that once housed sensitive spying equipment, stands in the midst of a forest. From here NSA agents could listen in on conversations and communications across town, East and West.
The piece responds to the unique setting, and the notion of wind as the carrier of sound, information and memory Berlin, a city through which the wind has blown with great force. And while it is still being re-built, in the wake of decades of destruction and dismemberment, still its towering ruins stand as monuments to the destructiveness inherent in civilasation. It is accompanied by Michael Neil‘s ‘The Tangible Whispers of Ghosts on the Threshold of Noise and Silence’ a soundscape composed of wind sounds.
Director & Choreography: Dan Farberoff
Choreography & Dance: Ewa Szubstarska
Dancers: Eynav Rosolio, Naama Toren
Vocals: Malika Alaoui
Music: Michael Neil – ‘The Tangible Whispers of Ghosts on the Threshold of Noise and Silence‘.
The European Union & The Council of Europe
Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz
Camera: Dan Farberoff, Daniel Büche & Lena Giovanazzi
Special thank you to event producers Geraldine Hepp & Mariam Frick
Video © 2012 Dan Farberoff