June 09 to 11, 2017 URBAN BODIES PROJECT - HAMBURG URBAN BODIES PROJECT
Theater der Welt
Abstract ... by Caroline Herfert ... From: # 12 Angedockt: All eyes on the harbor! A review of "Theater der Welt" in Hamburg and its topics: Globalization, Escape, Migration./Universität Hamburg / Germany
Research Center Hamburg (post-) colonial heritage
One of the most exciting and touching experiences of this festival for me are site-specific productions that have been developed in and for Hamburg and which deal with the registration of history (-ies) in the urban space. They contributed to the realization of a central concern of the international festival: "Bringing us closer to unfamiliar worlds, changing or expanding our own view of the global through the lens of the local" , according to Thalia director Joachim Lux.
One of these remarkable, creative explorations of Hamburg, which aimed to perceive the city with different eyes, was the "Urban Bodies Project" by Yolanda Gutiérrez. With the imperative "decolonize!" the production took the audience on an artistic-scientific search for traces of colonial inscriptions in the urban landscape. With headphones we were listening to ideas on the topos of the ship and the plantations, which for example are reflected in the architecture of the Chilehaus; There were facts about the trade with colonial goods and the wealth that the Hanseatic city earned in trade with the colonial world - and which the Speicherstadt represents until today; We read passages from Achille Mbembe's "Critique of Black Reason", recalled memories of the genocide of Herero and Nama, but also of the renaming of street names with colonial references in the Hafencity. Accompanied by performers and dancers *, and interrupted by their interventions, this complex audio walk from the Chilehaus to the festival grounds at the Baakenhöft was able to create dynamic tensions between past and present, historical abysses and diverse perspectives on the Hafencity as the youngest district of Hamburg.
Hardly somewhere else, the colonial past of Hamburg so noticeably manifests itself as in the harbour. On the 1887-built 'Kornhausbrücke', the gateway to the port, the sandstone figures of Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Gama are there high up on a pedestal along with a world map and a golden sword. And in Hamburg's youngest district, HafenCity the streets, squares and buildings, are teeming with references to names of so-called "world conquerors" such as Marco Polo or "colonial goods". A new wave of romanticizing colonial nostalgia?
The German Mexican choreographer Yolanda Gutiérrez explores traces to colonial stories in the port together with the scientist Tania Mancheno and an ensemble of five dancers and performers for Theater der Welt 2017. A site-spefic walk from Speicherstadt into the HafenCity, exploring the urban space and places and monuments through dance in a new context. The HafenCity is the playground of a braided way, stories and bodies that invite their presence and background information to new interpretations. Through interventions, urban rituals, and large-format video projections the city and their past questions, is being overwritten and transformed - a trans-disciplinary experimental arrangement to the decolonization of the Hamburg City area.
Decolonize your mind! Decolonize your body! Decolonize your city!