Three birds with one stone. An exhibition

By Haug / Kaegi / Wetzel

You walk into a shop, intent on buying an ironing board. When the bar code is scanned, a public announcement is set off describing the item you have just bought and stating the exact price for all the other shoppers to hear. Everyone applauds. Immediately afterwards, the shops assistants and fellow shoppers return to their normal business. After a brief moment of astonishment you take the ironing board and go home. Should this happen to you, you are likely to have experienced a “détournement”, a short moment in which your perception of the world has been thrown out of joint.

This theatrical intervention into every-day life is part of a collection of utopian ideas which have been installed in the hall and gallery of the art space Theaterlabels in Heidelberg: the handwriting of 80 Heidelberg citizens was “borrowed” for this. They were asked to write the pre-formulated ideas onto small pieces of paper. These were enlarged and pinned onto the big wall of the exhibition hall. Another piece of paper describes a court room scene in which the listeners are not interested in the verdict, but in the way it is staged. Other notes are about performances taking place underneath the tables of a gourmet restaurant. The most radical performance concept consists of a singular encounter. The pieces of paper are presented on a golden background together with 100 old chairs taken from the auditorium of the Heidelberg theatre. Some chairs are for sitting on, others lean against the wall. Some have been turned into swings, from which it is possible to take a closer look at the notes.

A theatre following the end of theatre:
Transplanting the theatre interior into the unfamiliar surroundings of an exhibition space opens up new perspectives on the future of that bourgeois institution that is theatre.

The exhibition focuses on the different and diverse Rimini productions of the past decade. Visitors are invited to discover the differences in answers given to the same questions by 100 people from Vienna and 100 people from Berlin, or meet an Indian call centre operator in a live telephone call. In the entrance area of the exhibition they may, by means of written documents and projections, re-experience the great theatrical spectacle of a board meeting staged under the strict direction of the Daimler AG Department for Investor Relations at the ICC Berlin in 2009.

In computer science, a protocol is a technical term describing a set of rules applied to a given situation. So a protocol determines the outcome of a certain process, without the elements of the process being known in advance. If the name Rimini Protokoll is seen in this light, the collection of ideas in the Heidelberg art space is more than an accumulation of funny or humorous situations. Instead, the ideas can be seen as an archive of situations to which the principle Rimini Protokoll may be applied in order to provoke a small (or big) “détournement” in the potential participant. Anyone who has ever been part of such a protocol moment knows that the world looks a little different afterwards. Lastingly.