The Memory Machine

A TANZFONDS ERBE Project (2014)

The Memory Machine is a poetic and humorous translation of how the brain works when we re-member. How we always deconstruct and reconstruct the actual lived events. How we (un)consciously erase or add facts. How memory is always subjective and selective. We fed the machine with personal memories from the 80ies and 90ies by key players in the German dance scene: choreographers, dancers, presenters, critics and academics. The 80ies and 90ies was an extremely fertile period in which the heritage of German Tanztheater got both renewed and challenged by the further internationalization of the contemporary art and dance scene. The history is recent enough to have only first-hand witnesses but already there is a distance in time, rewriting the factual events.
The core of the machine at randomly triggers fragments of these personal memories, archived on audio tracks. Other voices, the spectator has to catch out of the air and more lines of memory fragments are spun across the space as a spider web or are literally shredded. All our experiences are mediated by our senses, also our memories. The Memory Machine is a visual labyrinth in which you have to find your way. It is a murmuring space in which you have to focus your attention in order to hear fragments of a collective memory. These fragments can be put together in a free and associative way. The machine invites you to wander around and interact with it, gathering different fragments and by doing so reconstructing your own (hi)stories.

We are all memory machines.
(Guy Cools)

With memories of:

Cornelia Albrecht, Gabriele Brandstetter, Dieter Buroch, Dana Caspersen, Guy Cools, Ingo Diehl, Luc Dunberry,
Viviana Escalé, Kerstin Evert, Sigrid Gareis, Thierry Guiderdoni, Claudia Henne, Walter Heun, Reinhild Hoffmann, Rui Horta, David Kern, Hanna Koller, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, Heike Lehmke, Bettina Masuch, Anita Mathieu, Jean-Paul Montanari, David Morrow, Bertram Müller, Gabriele Naumann-Maerten, Kajo Nelles, Micha Purucker, Jan Pusch, Martin Puttke, Omar Rajeh, Madeline Ritter, Vera Sander, Jochen Sandig, Katja Schneider, Katharina Sehnert, Gerald Siegmund, Meg Stuart, Virve Sutinen, Christiane Theobald, Helena Waldmann, Arnd Wesemann


October 25th – November 1st 2014: Theaterfestival Favoriten 2014


Idea, Concept, Direction: Stephanie Thiersch; Machine Concept & Construction: Jasper Diekamp; Dramaturgy: Guy Cools; Performance/Research: Tommy Noonan, Anton Skrzypiciel; Performance support: Simona Ferrar; Research support: Heike Lehmke, Viviana Escalé; Technical support: Oliver Kunkel, Sven Mause, Tim Becker, Matthias Krauß und Gerd Nesgen /PING tonstudios Köln; Camera support: Tom Schreiber, Lucy Milanova, Karl Hofmann, Martin Gasch, Nikolas Kuhl; Assistance: Jan Rohwedder; Transcription: Ines Disselbrede, Heike Lehmke, Karolin Henze, Stephanie Thiersch; Management: Béla Bisom; Production Management: Karolin Henze


Stephanie Thiersch/MOUVOIR in cooperation with Freihandelszone – Ensemblenetzwerk Köln, co-produced by tanzhaus nrw. Funded by: TANZFONDS ERBE – eine Initiative der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, and Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes NRW, Kulturamt der Stadt Köln and Kunststiftung NRW. Supported by O Espaço do Tempo Montemor Portugal.