Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise

participatory action on Berlin’s S-Bahn Ring, apprx. 60 participants, apprx. 2 hours, score 10 pages,

presented by the NGBK (Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst) project WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY), YES! Association/Föreningen JA!, July 23, 2013

In July 2013, Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise (“Cyclical Group/Societal Trip”) was staged on the Berlin Ringbahn, on station platforms and in moving train cars throughout the cyclical S 42 line. The participants were given instructions that dictated their migration through the different parts of the city, giving new perspective to well-worn paths and provoking dialogue among strangers. The instructions included specific movements, thoughts, short texts for reading aloud, gave room for improvisation and possible involvement from the general public. The larger part of the instructions consisted of a written conversation for groups of four, ending with an encouragement to “continue the conversation as you wish” as a method for discussing complex societal issues.

Åsa Elzén





WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) is a series of events concerned with the topic of “we”, an inescapable utterance in the formation of collectivities, two letters that involve alignment, affects, bodies, spatial boundaries and political realities. The form of the play is inspired by “THE PEOPLEMOVER – A Demonstration Poem (1968)”, written by Mary Ellen Solt. THE PEOPLEMOVER is a collage of quotations from a variety of sources, reaching from historical records and political speeches to eyewitness accounts of demonstrations. The text brings up issues of political frustration, mistrust in institutions and the failure of democracy’s fundamental principles. WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) is inspired by the plurality of voices and their conflictive demands contained in the poem, as well as provoked by its patriotic belief in the US-American dream. Which are the demands nowadays, who are the ones that will express them, who are the ones that will be heard the most and why? What are our possibilities for change and how are they shaped by our desires and personal interactions? Is collective work still a political standpoint? A marketing strategy? A failed project or a necessity for our survival?

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Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise

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below: documentation from Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise