HEL on earth text
english translation of texts used in STRANGE MATTER – HEL on earth performance
part ONE the dreaming collctive/ Berlin Mitte
Dreaming Collective I
The dreaming collective knows no history. For it, the course of events flows along as always the same and always the newest. The sensation of the newest, most modern is just as much a dream form of events as the eternal recurrence of everything the same. The spatial perception that corresponds to this perception of time is the transparency of the flâneur’s world in terms of penetration and covering. The spatial perception that corresponds to this perception of time is superposition. Now, as these forms dissolve in the illuminated consciousness, political-theological categories come to light in their place. And only under these categories, which freeze the flow of events, does history form within them as a crystalline constellation.
Dreaming Collective 2
(…) in the dream context we look for a teleological moment. This moment is waiting. The dream waits secretly for the awakening, the sleeper surrenders to death only on revocation, waits for the second in which he escapes its clutches with cunning. So too the dreaming collective, for which its children become the happy occasion of their own awakening.
(The true image of the past flits by)
The past can only be captured as an image that flashes into existence never to be seen again. It is grateful for its fleetingness if it is authentic. (In it lies its only chance. ) Precisely because this truth is transient and a breath carries it away, much hangs on it. (For appearance waits for its place, which stands better with eternity).
(Quotes from: Walter Benjamin, Passages, On the Concept of History)
part TWO HEL on earth
Hel on earth
death and birth
harvest and thanksgiving
the dead are still living
from underworld to daylight
no matter if you´re black AND white
The largest ox in Berlin stands on Alboinplatz overlooking a dead ice hole. It is a squat, white-tiled bull monument, designed in 1934 by sculptor Paul Mersmann, built as part of a job creation scheme for unemployed artists.
Between Tempelhof and Priesterweg there are several dead ice holes, but the Blanke Helle under the bull from Alboinplatz has the geological level, round, with steeply sloping banks, unfathomably deep. This small lake, flanked by the 1920s housing estate “Blanke Hölle” and a cemetery, is Berlin’s real attraction:
Blanke Helle namely is the entrance to the realm of Hels, the Germanic goddess of fertility and the underworld.
The next entrance is the Hörselberg near Eisenach.
Hel is associated with the word hell. This is misleading in that the place of the dead is not divided into hell and paradise among the Germanic peoples. It simply denotes the abode of ordinary mortals who have died of old age or disease. Those killed in battle are more likely to be taken to Valhalla.
Hel is depicted divided in two, one half of her face bright and beautiful, the other exposed to decay. According to the legend, she sent black bulls up through the dead ice hole as harvesters; the bull monument is tiled in white in contrast, perhaps a dualistic reference to the bright, the blank lying. Hel also includes the expression, nothing or something HIDDEN from ethymology.
The sculptor Paul Mersmann allegedly hid a warning against the Nazis in a small vial inside. Did he hope the monument would be razed in later times and he would be seen as a visionary?
Athanasius Kircher, a polymath of the Middle Ages, speculated in his 1678 work Mundus Subterraneus, the Subterranean World, that the lakes, seas and waters, as well as the volcanic caves of the continent, are connected underground.
This is how Tannhäuser comes into play.
Anyone who thinks from Tempelhof to the Hörselberg cannot avoid the Tannhäuser saga. Hels’s realm there is the love realm of the goddess Venus, who casts a spell on the bard Tannhäuser with her debauchery. For years he lives in the underworld. Later, when he returns to the world to confess his sins, the pope chases her back into the sex cave. His crook would sooner sprout and grow leaves than Tannhäuser would be forgiven. Bards have no lobby. In the end, the crook turns green without Tannhäuser knowing about it.
In the film Blade Runner, the Tannhäuser Gate is mentioned later, a door in space and time that leads directly to the Alboinplatz in Tempelhof.
For Athanasius Kircher, not only the lakes and waters of the world are connected underground, but also the fires, the volcanoes.
More and more, our world seems to be hollowed out and liquefied by magma and water. What seems to be solid matter becomes uncertain ground.
The embers of the fires on the Greek island of Lesbos penetrate underground, below the consciousness, to us, burn themselves as failure into the conscience of the conscienceless fortress Europe.
In the course of the pandemic, more and more new conspiracy theories come to light, which find willing disseminators.
What remains are children whose blood is sucked out of them in subterranean dungeons as the dwindling stage of politics and the pandemic. Europe is disfigured.
Tannhäuser is now sucked in by the clouds, flung upwards into the air in ever faster spins, the rotor blades of a prehistoric helicopter over Tempelhofer Feld, a boomerang that also flies through time, returning in an arc to the present that is already decades past. Their own children old men, stammeringly pointing at their young parents with fingers of spray.
With the Tannhäuser Gate, disparities of time arise in the city.
Tannhäuser simultaneously attends the Blutmai 1928, the police open the hunt against the demonstrators, every socialist a traitor to the fatherland, builds a bridge from 1928 to the First of May 1987, the May riots in Kreuzberg, under the pavement lies the beach.
He witnesses how history is rewritten again and again around the Reichstag, it is covered, later there are demonstrations against the ban on covering. Merkel’s muzzle is used by national socialists, the state reacts helplessly to the abstruse esoteric right-wing terror.
And in Berlin they dance in honour of the goddess Venus, they dance love, excess, commerce.
“And we danced until the end to the heartbeat of the best music
Every night every day we thought that was victory
That was years ago”
part THREE Solarisations
In the film Solaris, the sea begins to talk. The water seat of planetary memory, the water desert creates us anew again and again.
Death is only a brief temporary station in the cycle of memories. In the spaceship above the planet, memories come alive, lead a shadowy existence, awaken, become real. In the end, it will rain in the house.
The journey goes into the winter of the world. Follow only my tears, soon the little stream will take you in.
You’ll go through the city with it, in and out of the lively streets, you’ll feel my tears glowing, there’s my beloved’s house.
A stream of data, the networks thrown out, caught, the city goes for you.
The tears that remain foreign bodies in the water and don’t dissolve, but report to the right address by becoming hot, hot drops in the cold water, like oil in the water. On the winter journey, the information, the pain, is inscribed in the bodies like in hard drives. Read out by the lasers of the landscape, in perfidious mourning work, “on the swaying barge of the sea”.
The tears are now Strange matter that does not join the water in the water. Carried along in the melting snow, but glowing in the right place in the ice water.
And then come the thunderstorms, the rains over the city.
Tannhäuser, long since afflicted by the Strange Matter, wants to return to the underworld, but can no longer find the entrance. After me the deluge, is all he can still think. He breaks everything behind him, destroys the boat in which he himself is sitting, making the crossing impossible. Charon becomes unemployed, the realm of the dead unreachable ground.
part FOUR Strange Matter
On 13 September 2008, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva will be shut down after only 36 hours of operation. The Big Bang is simulated in an underground, 27km-long ring tunnel at a depth of 100 metres. Protons are accelerated to high energies and brought to collision. Gigantic energy fields have to be controlled.
The temperature in the underground ring tunnel is minus 271.3 degrees.
It is colder there than in space.
The gigantic helium-cooled magnets are lowered again. The ring under the earth steams. Now it is dark in the tube.
During an inspection walk through the tunnel, water is detected.
The water was created during the cooling process, but with the water strange matter is also created, matter made of elementary particles containing the strange quark.
It is matter that disintegrates as it comes into being, already dissolving again as it becomes, like a sculpture made of rain, like the impressions in short-term memory that are erased before they become consciousness.
The strange matter, must not become stable, it must decay. If it stabilises into larger quark units, it could eat the world, transform our matter into a black hole.
The subterranean world MUNDUS SUBTERRANEUS, as described by Athanasius Kircher, connects all the waters and all the fires of this world. Thus, the Strange Matter enters Lake Geneva via the groundwater, the Mediterranean via the Rhone, and from there it spreads to the other seas.
I imagine how the Strange Matter ionises the water, in its incessant process of decay and formation, the water level rises, spring tides come, coastal regions sink.
In humans, Strange Matter burns holes in the memory.
The simultaneous decay and becoming of the Strange Quark leads to disorientation. Like Schrödinger’s cat, the aggregate state of the world and the aggregate state of human thought and memory become unpredictable.
part FIVE Mare Nostrum
Strange Matter has penetrated the Mediterranean, the Mare Nostrum, our sea, the sea of the whites who godlike seek the golden canvas.
The cradle of Europe, from here the Romans set out, first conquering a hide, then the bordering countries around the Mare Nostrum, elephants marching towards them from the Alps, the ghosts of Africa in neorealism that hangs poverty out the window and invokes wealth and decadence, the New Land, rigid with filth, ruled by clowns.
At the same time, the sea is populated by other boats heading for Europe, the pale ones sense their proximity, they come on board at night, sit down at their bunks with wet hair, whisper dreams to them, of Blanker Helle, of brightness, of white death. The whites then dream of icebergs.
But during the day they are invisible, pushed away, well hidden in the skull even before consciousness. In which the world is flooded.
Some change sides at night, find themselves on another boat, under the surface of the water, surrounded by bodies, have trouble distinguishing arms and legs from the other bodies, are human negotiation mass.
Under the sea lies the city, the bodies of pregnant women, bloated, floating above on the surface of the water, life still smouldering in them, a dead ark, the embryos are still safe, still developing, the womb a shield from the sea that calls, through the skin and the bones and the little flesh, and the development goes on from the hairy animal to the gilled creature, there it stops, the embryos form the gills in their dead mother’s wombs, foreshadowing their future element, evolution goes no further, the wet element penetrates the bodies, inflates them, bursts the, the foetuses, protected in the amniotic sac, gill-men, drift down, begin to breathe underwater, behind the ears lie the gills, and while the increasing pressure deep down in the sea squeezes the amniotic sacs, the occupants are well equipped for a life on the ocean floor. Many gill-men float down. The unfortunate women who are thrown overboard because they are pregnant and useless, the slave ships on their way over to America, centuries later the refugees off the coasts of North Africa, a city has long since arisen, a civilisation of gill-men, who can breathe under water, but are otherwise like those above ground. They build glittering glass palaces with escalators, tame dolphins, send scouts up from time to time who report nothing but water above. We are the only humans. Those from whom we are descended have passed away, our ancestors, technological primitive humans, barbarians who throw people into the water they cannot even inhabit with their limited means, only now have we built our civilisation, we have moved the world to the bottom of the sea. For the ancestors, who are nevertheless still alive, they must present a strange image, stocky bodies, due to the water pressure, the language a gurgle, the clothes woven seaweed, the dark skin covered with shells. The dead are buried in upturned, small, glass boats, half of which are buried in the mud, the pressure should not weigh on the dead, the greatest fear down here is that one day they will be washed up. Entire landscapes sometimes float upwards to the surface of the water, while somewhere else solid land sinks from above downwards. Apocalyptics called shamans like to imagine that this could also happen to their glass city. They use the image of a gigantic scale that causes what is at the bottom to shoot upwards as the counterweight steadily increases. Once before, they say, one of the fields of the dead rose upwards, into the world of the lung people, to their great horror, as they saw the emergence of the greenhouses as a harbinger of the end of the world, in which their civilisation would be washed under water.
The apocalyptics then transplanted their dreams into the world of the lung people. They whispered to an architect that their glass palace would rise sparkling from the bottom of the sea to the sky, a grotto star, with glass architecture, Prambanan and Borobodur inside, floating in the core of a star that was inconspicuous from the outside. From the outside a rocky desert, a kind of meteorite, an agate, in whose interior crystallises the glass world in which the gill-men live.
Oh that the air were so still!
Oh, that the world were so light!
When the storms were still raging
I was not so miserable.
(Schubert, Winterreise, Song Einsamkeit, final part)
The white woman, goddess, Medea Mami Wata, many-layered, naked, the serpent coils around her in the film maturity exam. Garlanded she is with glittering jewels that bleach her still further. The pale dead are near. She promises the wealth of Europe, she entices, she lures, she is the goddess of seas, of water, of wealth, of delusion. Those who worship her wear white wedding dresses from the films of the dream factory, wade out into the water, Medea the Baptist, the lure of an incomprehensible goddess.
Then the last white people have disappeared on their boats.
The flooded landscape, the decaying shore, remains.