Zeitgeist [wenn][NEIN], 2019
Performance, Video documentation
The video is a documentation of the artwork Zeitgeist [wenn][NEIN] by Héctor Zamora, a one-off performance on the anniversary of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th November 2019, at the Gropius Bau. 100 performers, dressed in black, formed a line on the first floor of the building in the rotunda and in the atrium, simultaneously carrying out the performances of the words [wenn] (trans. if) and [NEIN] (trans. NO).
As a prelude or an introduction, the performance of [wenn] took place in the entrance hall of the Gropius Bau. Twelve participants formed a line along the railing of the rotunda on the first floor and slowly let little, dark grey papers printed with the word “wenn” float down to the visitors below. The people standing in the foyer were surprised by the paper messages. Snapped out of their thoughts, the visitors reacted with curiosity and were stimulated to think about the open possibilities of the word “wenn” (trans. if).
In contrast to the silent action [wenn], in the atrium of the building [NEIN] made itself clearly known. In a static, almost military manner, over 90 performers lined up in the first floor of the atrium. For half an hour the performers powerfully shouted the word “NEIN” (trans. no) in chorus every three minutes. The cry rang out, providing a moment of catharsis, filling the building with a tremendous sound, creating an unexpected and surprising moment for the visitors.
The intervention in the public space of the Gropius Bau, the dialogue between the two actions [wenn] and [NEIN], the relation of the performers amongst themselves, as well as between the performers and visitors on the first and ground floor, created a unique experience for everyone present.
Héctor Zamora’s performative action in the Gropius Bau is a reflection on the different meanings of the word “NEIN”: the authoritarian “NEIN” of the system and the “NEIN” of the society. The diversity of the meaning of the word opens up many points for discussion and reflection. What happens if we decide to say “NEIN”? Is one “NEIN” enough to provoke negation? Collectively we can use our “NEIN” to make things, people, politicians and systems vibrate. Can we take care of our needs and ourselves by saying “NEIN” to the imposed by the system? It is time. It is the “Zeitgeist [wenn] [NEIN]”.
Photos by Kathrin Sonntag