“Keeping one’s mind on the emptiness, on the space one can see anything can be in it, is, as a matter of fact, in it.” John Cage
The Brühl in Leipzig has changed its appearance many times over the past centuries. Its building structure is composed of elements that reflect its history: its former significance, historical landmarks and ruptures are obvious — signs of loss and personal tragedies are perceptible until today. The point of departure for the early plans for As If Nothing Happened were the historical references and the future purpose of the Brühl. The project began with looking at the role of the Höfe am Brühl in an inner-city context; as an ensemble, which, as a physical manifestation of history, will have an impact on everyday life in the city in the future. The reaction to this reality — in its historical as well as its present dimension — is delivered without the use of words, only with the use of light. No material is added. The aesthetic dimension is based on exploring the current state of what is already there.
The material and method used for the piece is a score which focuses on the appearance of the building complex and changes it by way of interference in the lighting control at certain key points. The work creates a metaphorical connection between the past and the future at the end of each day. The choreography of light based on the score has three stages:
In the first phase the outer lighting as well as the neighbouring street lights are switched off. In the second phase all the outside logos are turned off simultaneously. In the third stage the illuminations of the window displays are switched off one after another according to a matrix at regular intervals, starting at the corner of Plauensche Straße. The band of light withdraws along the sides of the building complex and vanishes on both sides in sequence — in analogy to the movement of a baton, which gives an impulse to the orchestra and then returns to concentration.
Once all segments of the band of light have gone out, the Höfe am Brühl rest in darkness for a few of minutes. The building structure is now a darkened phantom in a state of momentary entropy. Inside, systems and people come to themselves and, thrown back upon themselves, can begin to understand the dimension of their place and their actions and put these into order — as a historical moment that contains ourselves.
Eventually all light sources are switched on again at the same time.
Stefanie Manthey, FAMED
3D-Renderings: Christian Kügler,
Photos: Stefan Fischer