The Readymade Demonstration
re-staging the East German peaceful revolution

a project in the framework of Descent To Revolution by Bureau For Open Culture

REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (RG) organized a performative event in the city center of Columbus Ohio. The participants reenacted one of the East German peaceful demonstrations from fall of 1989.
The idea is to stage a readymade demonstration and to look at the demonstration as a cultural technique.

The Demonstration uses the original slogans from 1989. The work is not about history, but about how we perceive our personal role in society.

In preparation of the demonstration RG held a Banner Workshop. After an open discussion the participants were invited to take part in the making of the banners.

The historic context
This peaceful movement led to the fall of the iron curtain and changed the geopolitical landscape of the world. The main slogan of this movement "Wir sind das Volk" - "We Are the People" stands for the will to gain back power to the people.
In 1989 after forty years of existence the East German state - GDR broke down. What once started as a vision of a class free society failed in it´s real existence. Nevertheless it was the intention of the most demonstrators to create a just society on the basis of true Socialism. It became clear very soon, that this intention was just an illusion. Right after the fall of the Berlin Wall started a process of adopting the values of the Western capitalist consumerist society.

The contemporary context
Re staging the demonstration transforms it to the specific context of the USA. The concept of RG is an artistic "readymade" in form of a political demonstration. This shift of context can be described as a creative anachronism. Re-staging is a mode of understanding. It opens spaces for reflexive consideration of the current situation.
The current global financial and economical crisis brings up similar questions: how can social inequality be solved and how does this society affect the individual sphere? Is the capitalist economical practice of expansion and competition the ideal model for a sustainable development? How can society be redefined as a model of participation and action?
In front of the background of parallel societies and excluded classes there is an increasing need for a broad discourse and critical awareness.

Columbus Ohio 2009
see video here:
click here for more images on flickr:
click here for press release (PDF)
contact us for images in 300dpi resolution
have a look at the catalogue of Descent To Revolution (PDF)
link to interview with James Voorhies, curator