Who the Fuck is Kafka

Stage Setting Theater Heidelberg (with Marc Bausback) 2016

Lizzie Doron herself, an elderly writer, meets a younger Arab-Palestinian journalist at a peace conference in Rome. Both are human rights activists, both work for peace.Although their direct interaction is marked by mutual prejudice and the family of both are not happy about their flowering friendship, Lizzie and Nadim decide to make a film together. The book traces the efforts to realise this project. They encounter thousands of difficulties, including armed conflict and lack of money. Both become more and more aware of their preconceptions and both see the need to overcome stereotyped reactions.The challenges reflect the real and imagined state of emergency in which Israelis and Palestinians both live. The film is never made. Regarding Israel and Palestine, at some point they decide that they live in the same lunatic asylum – only in different wards.

Happy Birthday

Performance, about 60 min., Chapter Arts, Cardiff 2014

The two quintessential figures of the exhibit, the Zombie and the Cyborg, are both fictional creations from WW 1. Western civilisation‘s decent into war meant that it was no longer possible to continue a transformative cathartic narrative of salvation by either mythological or real-historical means. This led to the effective dissolution of the classical dichotomy between the natural world and culture/civilization,a precondition for mankind‘s creation-myth, and is decisive factor amongst others to reflect upon.

The Zombie is thus an allegory in the image of the fallen angel, or the rotten mythological hero, in the sense of the lost or a bygone era. Meanwhile the Cyborg, representative of the dialectic between nature and machine in itself, is the first and foreseeable future the representation of the the potential for a post-humanistic discourse and new creation-myth possibilities.

Die Stunde des Cowboys

Performance, 2000-2012

“ (…) When he isn’t making proclamations or floating in water, Dettmeier is constructing and adding unique building blocks to the concept of mythology. His “Ghostriders” gallop on horseback through the post-industrial landscape of the Ruhr Valley. Christoph Dettmeier dances a strange and lonely duet with himself, a Waltz in a graveyard – either upon a bombed out German bunker in France or the ruins of Hitlers plans for a skyscraper metropolis. (…)“
Magdalena Kröner “ANTIFOTO” (Jahrgang 3/2012)

„ (…) In 2009, Christoph Dettmeier, …, did a version of “Ride ‘em Jewboy“: he sang along to Friedman‘s song immersed in the shadows of a slide projection of sites in Berlin that were significant to both Jewish life and Nazi rule. Dettmeier‘s act of mimesis enters into transatlantic feedback with Friedman‘s song – the irony cancels itself out to render an authentic sense of mourning. (…) “
Jörg Heiser „What is Appropriate“ (frieze, Issue 130, April 2010)

Fare Una Scenata

Fondazione Morra Greco/Neapel, 2008

(…) During the opening of “Fare una scenata”, Dettmeier realized a new version of his series of performances entitled “Country Caraoke”. Dettmeier beautifully sings karaoke of some of his favourite Country tunes about tragic love relationship, intermittent with a short lecture about the catholic female role models that are peculiar to the so-called Spaghetti Western genre. Dettmeier’s performance includes a slide show of urban wastelands – some from Naples – which are practically the “Monument Valleys” of today, and a formalized “dance” interaction between Dettmeier and a video projection. All these elements – together with a simple stage set – form the work, which remained on display in a transformed state for the duration of the exhibition, including an artist book containing the material used in the performance lecture on the opening night. (…)
Jörg Heiser, catalogue text

Der Westerner

In 1998 a platform was created for the examination of the Western as a contemporary social creation myth, first implemented in the social and spatial context of the Ruhr Valley, later as a global tool for the exploration of ostensibly surreal symptoms of the so-called structural transformation of all places – in the form of multiple sketches, pressings, objects, installations, photographic works, performances and videos.

“The public interest in Westerns has roots that reach deep back in history; From as far back as the Epics of Homer and through the Sagas of the Middle Ages up to the Sicilian trivial dramas of Paladini di Francia. (…)
The degree of the viewer’s sense of wonder is proportional to the talent of the director; the borders to the unreal expand, without oneself straying into the realm of the absurd or surreal. As with every form or storytelling, the Western has its own set of genre rules between point and counterpoint, just as the classical ballet has its own lexicon of rhythms and positions. Where the director is to focus his efforts; is getting the actors to move correctly, walk with the proper gait, and to convey the proper “look and feel”.
Sergio Leone, “At the edges of the surreal: the Western”

Fotosaloon

Zeche Zollverein/ Folkwang Museum/Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen 2003/2004

In the Zollverein Coal Mine complex in Essen during the summer of 2003 the visitor was given the opportunity to take a portrait as a westerner in a saloon setting at that magical moment, when the hero steps through the swinging doors. He stands at the crossroads between the perils of wilderness behind him and the imminent threat of civilization that encroaches towards him from out of the darkness.
In 2004 the mobile photo studio became a collaborative project with the Volksbühne Theater in Berlin. It was created following a conceptual architectural project of Bert Neumann, being the combination of the scenic western frontier town with a Polish mining district set upon the stage of a fairground.

Saloon

pq-projekte/Wuppertal 2002

A saloon was built in the open space pq-Project in the old Huppertsberg shoelace factory in Wuppertal. The creation of the saloon consisted solely of found materials from the immediate surrounding. One wall was removed, turning the saloon into a stage and the landscape to a terrarium.
During the exhibition the location was utilized as a locale for film screening, performances, and concerts including electronic improvisations from the September Kollektiv.

FINE

Galerie Simon Spiekermann, Düsseldorf 2000

During the exhibition “FINE” a shooting range was set up in the gallery. It was thematically stylized after the aesthetics of the “Spaghetti Western” where visitors could become participants by dressing up in duster jackets and cowboy hats. Participants were able to keep their own target sheet as a memento, which was stamped with the image of a westerner. Above the range the high scores were written down on a chalkboard.