Art: You are here

Eine installative Performance von Dries Verhoeven
On Tuesday night at 11 pm I went to the Gasometer, an unused gas storage facility in Berlin Schöneberg. The artists furnished the venue as a hotel with 40 single rooms – for 40 visitors at a time.
I had to check in to the hotel and was guided into a single room, where the whole ceiling was a mirror and there was only a bed. I had to answer very personal questions on a sheet that was given to me under the door.
“What did you dream about last night? What was annoying today? What are you happy about?  What’s your favourite food? How does water taste?
Then, a woman started to read a text, in which she combined all the answers the hotel guests gave; she was basically talking about us,  to us, about me, to all the people who were there. She addressed us as people next to her in another hotel room, people who are close but far, people she doesn’t know, people she could go over to and still not get to know or look in the eye from 1 centimetre but still not get any closer to.  And the ceiling went up- and I was  part of the whole set, part of the performance, seeing myself lying in bed in my room and all the other people in their beds as well as the actors in some of the rooms. I was following the performance in the mirror above, with an almost unbearable suspense as I saw them moving around on the corridors, approaching my door.
The actors put us through an almost religious experience by performing a ceremony, taking each one of us to a room lit with colourful light where we were given a piece of sweet warm cake, the whole procedure accompanied by a soft singing of what sounded like a lullaby in Portuguese.
After I was taken back to my room – and bed, an actor came in  – really well choreographed simultaneously with other actors in other rooms – and they smiled at us and took a duvet out of our beds and gently covered us with it. And still, I could follow the whole performance lying in bed on your huge “TV” mirror 10 metres above. Then the actress in my room – and the others in other rooms – lay down next to us on the floor, really close, and then disappeared under our beds – closer than close – then came out again, smiled and left and repeated the procedure until everyone was covered neatly and have got company even if just for as short as a minute. The lights went out and all were in bed. The text went on about how we are so mercilessly alone all the time and how we can never get close enough to each other really. Then the actors came out from their rooms again and started to call our names in the dark, and when they found each of us they brought a little  light with our name written on it and stuck it into the plug next to our beds. The ceiling went back down again and I was – we all must have been –  left alone with the sweet feeling of being taken care of, a childish but also such basic need fulfilled. Then a gentle knocking on the door and someone saying : “You can come out now”.
Really impressive performance, thank you!