“What’s happening now is the total occupation of the present.”

A festival with andcompany&Co., Sebastian Baumgarten, Ana Berkenhoff&Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt, Boris Buden, Laurent Chétouane, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, Thomas Heise, Interrobang, Boris Nikitin, Patrick Primavesi, Damian Rebgetz & Paul Hankinson, Annegret Schlegel, Kristin Schulz, Veit Sprenger, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, B.K. und Christa Tragelehn, Ginka Tscholakowa, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Helena Varopoulou and others
"What’s happening now is the total occupation of the present,” said Heiner Müller in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a border crosser between the systems and as someone who read the future by way of history, the dramatist recognized social patterns better than many others. Until his death he never tired of digging up the historical foundations of the reunified Germany and exposing uncomfortable continuities: violence, social insecurity, mechanisms of exclusion. His perspective remained inseparably linked to the failure of humanism in the 20th century, the experiences of the Cold War, the Holocaust and the specific German symbiosis of fascism, racism and capitalism in National Socialism.

By now the “new walls” that he prophesied have been installed, with which the European Union is sealing itself off from a flow of refugees. Instead of historical consciousness a diffuse crisis consciousness has become established, in which any examination of history and the failure of political systems appears to be anachronistic. But how can we recognize our present under these circumstances? In order to understand the present we have to be able to get some distance to it. When Heiner Müller died in 1995, his funeral was broadcast on television. 20 years later, at a time when this seems unthinkable, we are looking into the timeliness of his texts, statements and interviews. 
"Many of the best brains and giant industries are working on the disappearance of the human being… This illuminates the necessity of art as a means of making reality impossible.” (Heiner Müller)
From March 3 to 13 HAU Hebbel am Ufer, in collaboration with the International Heiner Müller Society, will present contemporary attempts to enter into dialogue with history and the present by means of Müller’s positions. In a lecture-concert the performance collective andcompany&Co looks into the forgotten socialist origins of Big Data and “singularity.” Director Boris Nikitin follows up on Heiner Müller’s "gaps in the system" and reminds us that the theatre is the place for human tragedy(ies), for our failings at a dream/belief/principle/destiny and for dealing with death. From the perspective of a queer “angel of history” the Australian musician and performer Damian Rebgetz develops a post-apocalyptic concert that reworks the myth of Jason and Medea in "VERKOMMENES UFER MEDEAMATERIAL ...". Veit Sprenger (Showcase Beat Le Mot) casts the ancient heroes in Heiner Müller’s “Heracles 2 or the Hydra” with a girl that doesn’t want to be subject to the fatalism of the spinning turning stage, while Till Müller-Klug & Nina Tecklenburg (Interrobang) provide the audience access to original recordings with Heiner Müller in their hypertextual telephone installation "Müllermatrix". In his work “Für Heiner Müller” Hans-Jürgen Syberberg transforms the entire space of HAU1 into a walk-in installation. He juxtaposes the restoration of his own parents’ house in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which he was able to buy back as a ruin after the fall of the Wall, with Heiner Müller’s "The Resettler Woman or Life in the Country" (1961) and current phenomena of escape and exclusion. 

The nine commissioned artistic works will be supplemented by an accompanying programme. The prize-winning documentary filmmaker Thomas Heise is showing his still timely portrait about radical right-wing youth in eastern Germany “STAU – Jetzt geht’s los” and is curating a film programme. In musical statements the young generation of pop and rap musicians will have a go at Heiner Müller’s poetry, in the HAU2 studio Kristin Schulz is setting up a branch of the “Transitraum” and at a round-table discussion with Heiner Müller’s contemporaries or experts on his work questions can be asked and issues examined in more depth – guests include Sebastian Baumgarten, Laurent Chétouane, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Helena Varopoulou, B.K. und Christa Tragelehn, Ginka Tscholakowaamongst others. In addition, the festival is also presenting works by up-and-coming theatre artists, including graduates of the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen.


Cooperation: HAU Hebbel am Ufer and the International Heiner Müller Society. Supported by the Captial Culture Fund Berlin.