Miniature logo
sitemap | contact

"The spectator is an element of the 'machine'", says Alexander Schellow with respect to the six theater-miniatures in which, in collaboration with David Weber-Krebs, he has tied together  the genres  of film, theatre and performance. Behind the metaphor of "machine" we find in the six miniatures of about ten minutes each a computer-operated structure of videos, light, sound and two performers.  Each visitor enters the room alone to look at a chosen miniature.

This happened in the specifically prepared Virchowsaal of the Sophiensäle in Berlin. Schellow and Weber-Krebs are both well known for their comprehensive approach of media. Here, they have used the existing and used floor panels to build a temporary stage structure with three walls and a screen, and have thereby created a minimalistic performance device. The visitor's chair was oriented towards the stage. The producers have invited six authors who normally write academic texts, screen and theatre plays or prose, to compose a script of ten minutes each which could be played for only one spectator in the so arranged spatial setting. In the so-called main film, the respective core piece of the miniatures, the texts are shown at the lower side of a single, hardly readable grey picture. They feature thoughts, invectives, dialogues which are presented to the spectator in the usual rhythm of sub-titles. They sometimes address him or her directly or give at least a clue for identification. Each module begins in the same way: a supporting film in the form of a drawn animation shows sequences of a wide old room which the film explores quasi with a searching eye. After some seconds only one recognizes what he sees: it is the Virchowsaal in which the theater-miniature is actually happening and which we have seen in semidarkness when shortly entering the room a moment before. With this superposition of the real and the medium-generated space the spectator experiences a back-coupling of his perception, which throws him back to himself and to his own capacity of short term recollection. Some of the six miniatures went beyond the defined stage-situation by broadening the geometry of interdisciplinarity into its surrounding with loudspeakers, lights and performers. By that the authors of the theater-miniatures were not interested in a comparing experience. The spectator could choose and see only one of them. While five out of six contributions tried to create a fictitious, a narrative situation, one followed the rules of enlightenment by revealing the stage props, the mirrors or a dripping water tap in a completely lit room. This module did without a main film instead of which an actor spoke a text, leading the spectator "behind the scenery". Each of the modules - the artists call them "incidents"- activates the attention of the spectator, sensitizes him for the conditions of subjective cognition, ties the real to the media-generated space and the spectating subject to the installation.

With their structurally elaborate setup where minimalistic means meet a multi-layer space, Schellow and Weber-Krebs implement an artistic course of action which the philosopher Gilles Deleuze has outlined it in his book "The Fold". He advises to settle in between two genres of art "to attain a unity of arts as 'performance', and to draw the spectator into this very 'performance'. In the architecture of baroque he discovers an" operative function" which creates and unfolds endless folds. These are antagonistic incidents, which annul the usual differentiation between figure and ground, thereby creating a "soft space". The baroque fold widens the perception of surface. Folds provided movement to the convention of central perspective and played with the blurrings of the human eye. For this geometric unsharpness the authors have found a medial platform: the grey pictures in the main film show mist, which is an established metaphor in the history of art and cinema. In the context of the theater-miniature mist is a surface of imagination for the reading spectator. The interaction of mist and text throws the spectator into the "soft space" and refers him back to himself and to his recollection.

Vera Tollmann, for "was verbindet uns", 2008