The Headless City – An Event

Rowing a boat, reading, having a swim, looking at some buildings, [...]

Rowing a boat, reading, having a swim, looking at some buildings, eating some dinner, drinking, watching a film and talking about how to use the contemporary city.

Meeting points:

1. 11 am at the rowing boat jetty at Schlachtensee (S-bahn Schlachtensee) 

2. 2.30 pm at the corner of Riemeisterstraße and Hochsitzweg (U-bahn Onkel-Toms-Hütte) 

3. 7 pm at ZK/U

If you would like to participate to the boat trip, please send an email by Thursday 2pm to boat(at)zku-berlin.org

ZK/U fellow Daniel Jewesbury and Belfast-based artists Rachel Brown and Bríghdín Farren (who work collaboratively as Brown&Brí – www.brownandbri.com) are going out in a rowing boat on the Schlachtensee, to begin a day-long discussion about how to use the contemporary city. You’re welcome to join them at any stage of the day.

The city is a captured space; nowadays it’s simply a huge financial instrument, an abstract device for producing profit. It is entirely privatised, not just in the sense of its physical spaces but in terms of the potential for us, as citizens, to ‘be public’ together. What can we do about this? What response could we make to this dreary diagnosis?

The meeting point is the boat hire jetty at Schlachtensee, five minutes’ walk from the S-bahn station:


(This map also contains details of the locations for other events throughout the day.)

We’re going to talk about a text written by Denis Hollier, which is an introduction to a book of his about Georges Bataille, called ‘Against Architecture’ - there’s a link to this text below. Then we’ll go swimming and spend some time doing nothing, just having a picnic and drinking – a non-productive use of space and time – before we carry on with the event in the afternoon.

At 2 pm, we’ll take a walk along the Krumme Lanke, towards the housing development at Onkel Toms Hütte, designed by the utopian architect Bruno Taut in the 1920s. We expect to arrive around 2.30 pm. Here, we’ll be staging a performative reading of some texts by Taut, and questioning the narrow, prescriptive nature of Utopia. These texts will not be distributed in advance.

Finally, in the evening we’ll make a small dinner at ZK/U, give a presentation on the day so far, and screen a film – Marco Ferreri’s Touche Pas À La Femme Blanche (Don’t Touch The White Woman), starring Marcello Mastroiani and Catherine Deneuve. The film is a bizarre détournement of the Battle of Little Big Horn, set in the Trou des Halles, a huge hole in the ground in Paris in the 1970s. It speaks to us today just as directly as when it was first made.