This article was written on 12 Mar 2018, and is filled under Actualities, Performance.


'Genitiv – Performance at Hamburger Bahnhof.' Used with the permission of Fabian Knecht.

‘Genitiv – Performance at Hamburger Bahnhof.’ Used with the permission of Fabian Knecht.

We are 4: two adults, two children, 4 and 8, walking back from the Museum für Naturkunde, along Invalidenstraße, 10557 Berlin. We stop at 50-51, location of the Hamburger Bahnhof, the city’s Museum for Modern Art, and exhibition space that day for the “Festival of Future Nows”.

We visited this festival, about the making of the future in the present, earlier in the week. A crowd now fills the courtyard where we stopped, then, to eat sandwiches, drawn from a zipped plastic bag (by IKEA). The crowd stands around the low concrete wall where we earlier sat, with the unruly growth and pioneer existences of ‘The right to be lazy,’ by John Knight, to our backs.

We stop walking and move towards the crowd to see what is happening now. We jostle a bit and stand beside two people with TV cameras.

Where to look? I ask my partner for the time. 14:39. I take out the programme, still in my bag. I follow the timeline to page 5 where it says work number 47, ‘Genitiv’ by performance artist Fabian Knecht, will take place at 14:41 in the Courtyard. Where we are.

Where to look? I turn to the site map in the centre of the programme, aware of the time, and my eyes grab the pages. Work 47 is not indicated. Not placed.

14:40, and my eyes give up on text and map and follow the gaze of the crowd. Up.

14.41. Fabian Knecht. Dressed in black. Standing on top of the Hamburger Bahnhof. All eyes fix on a figure 23m higher than us.

The figure steps up to the edge of the building and falls forward. Arms gently to the side, body straight. Bare feet.

I nearly did not know where to look but in my uncertainty I saw this.

I push away the noise of the landing, into a giant cushion made of unmarked cardboard boxes, piled meters high.



Lilian Moncrieff

Lilian Moncrieff is a Lecturer in Legal Theory at University of Glasgow. She is interested in how we ‘order’ our perceptions in space and time, and in the mix of sensory and speculative tools that we might use to relate to the world, to build a better future for all of us now.

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