Excerpt from the text of the performance "Tatort Kunst" (Crime scene Art)
Sara: [...] I think of nothing and start drifting away. I'm drifting away with pleasure. Further away. Even further away.
And suddenly I'm where I spent the evening: in a gallery in Admiralty Street.
There's an opening today. Anna Boghiguian is exhibiting.
There she sits like a queen at a table near the entrance.
She's really fat. You can't even see the chair she's sitting on. It's like she's floating in spite of her weight.
She wears a wide black dress like a robe, maybe it's dark red, it's made of velvet and, I think, embroidered. She has shaggy grey hair, stinging eyes and no teeth in her mouth.
She doesn't talk to anyone and nobody talks to her.
All the guests are busy with themselves. Most of them were dressed up. Everybody wants to meet someone, no matter how. It's like Monopoly, there are winners and losers. You are introduced or you have to stage something and that often ends miserably. Everyone wants to build a hotel on Park Lane, but you have to be a good player. Or be lucky.
The wine's good.
"A closer look at the installation reveals individual themes: the history of trade, slavery, colonialism, conflicts and wars. Distribution of power and associated injustices," it says on the info sheet that I collected.
The history of trade does not seem to interest anyone here.
In the best case, those present calculate how much money the person they were introduced to can be worth to them.
In the worst case they are happy that they can get drunk that night for free.
Some just want to be seen. They smile, they show white teeth.
They don't think about slavery and colonialism, only not, it could cloud the shine of their teeth, it could let them rot all at once. The artist at the entrance scared them.
No, they don't look into the corner either, where the young artists, all dressed in black, crouch together and step from one foot to the other, always ready to step forward, to break away from the group, to be introduced to someone, no matter who.
The Force here has a lady, a poisonous lady, some say, who, in a yellow costume worthy of the cover of Vogue, limps a little as if dancing, walks through the room.
Everybody's been kind enough to clear the way for her.
They bow, bow their heads, almost without noticing, without letting the interlocutor of the moment notice anything.
Everyone hopes to wrest a smile from her, some young artists also some look away shyly, who already suspect that they are the losers of tomorrow.
They're here for the wine.
A girl they will not meet, they know that, on such an evening the girls look further up, they show what they can show at all, they wait for a miracle.
They drink wine to get an attitude.
A prop is always good for it, every actor knows that.
And the salt on the pretzels, which of course are not missing, is prickling, otherwise one or the other could start to cry.
The exhibited figures certainly not, which hardly anyone pays attention to.
I'm looking at her.
Despite slavery, colonialism, conflicts and wars, they progress proudly and easily.
I'm looking for the historical facts mentioned on the info sheet. I find a cardinal, I find soldiers from times long gone, I find a woman in pink, who is she?
A courtesan? A princess?
An ordinary woman who the artist's gaze accidentally fell on?
But I also find inconspicuous figures.
Figures worthy of only a glimpse.
Shadows, actually, that just march.
They don't know where they're going and they don't ask.
The one in front of you or the one behind you? That would have to be clarified first and the question itself is difficult to formulate.
All are anyway witnesses of memories that have become rotten.
porous with time
from the usual lies.
Nothing's right, nothing!
Voice (off): Every story is a fake.
Sara: Maybe we need other stories. I'm sure we need other narratives. We need true stories!
Voice (off): There is no truth.
Sara: You have to look for her.
Voice (off): Do you know the joke: If twenty men had to throw their tails into a bucket, they wouldn't recognize it in the crowd anymore.
So it is with the truth.
Sara: At that moment, an employee of the gallery flits past me, a robot with a perfect pompadour hairstyle.
Voice (off): We have the end of history behind us, after twenty years we have to finally accept it. Art shouldn't take itself too seriously. Neither is politics, by the way.
Life is a game and art is a business.
The characters you're looking at are progressing, but they're not going anywhere.
The next gallery, the next museum and not the next battle is waiting for them.
You don't think anyone here wants to seriously deal with slavery, colonialism, conflicts and wars?
Even feeling guilty?
Sara: It may be old-fashioned but I think that art should try to tell the truth about the world.
Voice (off): Then you have understood nothing.
Sara: The robot scurries back past me and suddenly I'm no longer in the gallery in Admiralty Street. […]