An estimated 800,000 refugees will seek asylum in Germany this year. As volunteers and politicians plan practical measures, artists are crafting their own responses – as in the second instalment of the Maxim Gorki’s Berliner Herbstsalon.
Following the inaugural event in 2013, this year features theatre, visual art and performance informed by the refugee crisis, or, as organiser Çagla Ilk prefers to call it, the “forced migration experience”. More than 35 artists and groups – including Chilean filmmaker Alfredo Jaar and the Center for Political Beauty – will participate.
In mainstage production In Unserem Namen (In Our Name), director Sebastian Nübling combines elements of Aeschylus’ ancient Greek tragedy The Suppliants with Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek’s 2013 play Die Schutzbefohlenen to question our fears about migrants. The audience will be seated amid the performers and encouraged to participate as actors speak in their native languages, from Arabic to Farsi (Nov 13-20, 22-24, 20:00).
On the public performance front, Berlin-based group Bankleer presents Tohubassbuuh, a metaphorical take on the crisis in which the group tours Berlin’s monuments, depicting historically informed but fictional scenes along the way. At the Heinrich Heine monument at Kastanienwäldchen, for example, they’ll relate the prolonged struggle to find the statue a permanent home in Berlin (Nov 13-18, 21-22).
Meanwhile, artist-activists Anonymous Stateless Immigrants have put out an open call to design a refugee monument honouring victims of border controls. Submissions – short texts, drawings and photos – will be accepted from the public until Nov 13 (more info at refugeemonument.org). At that point, ASI will print them onto transparent sheets for display at the Palais am Festungsgraben.
2. BERLINER HERBSTSALON Nov 13-29 | Palais Am Festungsgraben/ Maxim Gorki Theater, Am Festungsgraben 1-2, Mitte, S+U-Bhf Friedrichstr.