HER FACE 她的脸: Cloud Tongues 云母语



They say mother tongue is the language you count in. But I count in all languages. Hierher, hierher, nicht links, nicht rechts, nicht vorne, nicht hinten, aber hierher, hast du keine Angst? 一二三四 cinc sis set ocho nueve. One speaks a language best when drunk. “师傅我去中央美术学院”。My mother once said: “lo que tienen las nubes, es que no las puedes meter en una caja”. Mein seltsamen Lungen, wie sich spreizende Pfauen. When I don’t want to be understood, I speak Mandarin. But they are all entangled in a way — a constant chain of mistranslation. 母语在哪里?Com comença un a oblidar la seva pròpia llengua materna? Yo, que ya he luchado contra toda la maldad / 它与我们在一起,它像我们一样, / Tengo las manos tan deshechas de apretar / 它是我们的手指, / Que ni te puedo sujetar / 它是我们对世界的脸。/ Vete de mí…


Theatre about diasporic poetry, disappearance and hauntological reoccurrence.

‘My death will be mine alone. Once one passes the door, one cannot transfer even any experience at all to others. (Auch mein Tod wird allein meiner sein, ich kann ihn nicht abgeben oder austauschen; ist die Schwelle einmal überschritten, kann ich nicht einmal mehr irgendeine Erfahrung davon anderen vermitteln.)‘ (Susanne Gösse). How can the untransferable dreams and myths be celebrated again, when ‘death’ interrupts the game of ‘life’? Endless piles of paper rise, as do endless fragments of words and luminescent poetry. The act of ‘translating’ produces linguistic friction, as well as bled wounds. There opens a fugitive path where German, Chinese and more languages are connected, ‘on a merry-go-round of tortured and bleeding words’, producing delirium and joy of disorientation.

 ‘Where is the mother tongue? It is with us, it is like us, it is our finger, it is our face to the world (Zhang Zao).’ ‘Her face’ is a face that has gone through multilingual and polyphonic surgery. The frame shatters, the portrait collapses, and mercury cascades on the floor, into individual rooms and households in this Berlin winter. The linguistic rubbles of poetry that have remained restless enter the rooms as if exiled. ‘All doors open. All doors close’ …

 In this performance series, situations will contextualise each other and resonate with each other, exposing and concealing the inherent ‘theatre’ mechanism in the topography of everyday urban life. A mixture of nonfictional and fictional: private alchemy, family events, bathtub ballet, culinary eroticism, pensive reading, private parade, paranormal solo concert, toxic imaginary autobiography, etc. All stories depart from the texts left behind by a Berlin resident. The series collect fragments of poetry by Hölderlin, Celan and the Chinese exile poet Zhang Zao, who lived in Tübingen, thereafter gifted them - to eight families in Berlin, to the kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms. Eight or more homes will be transformed temporarily into theatre. The coming spring, these theatre situations will be collected and sculpted into the ruined walls of the 'adjacent' ‘Zeitspeicher' (Wasserspeicher).

This is another transcultural performance project by Paper Tiger and Kunstrbetrieb Birach in collaboration with with the rubbles of old palaces on the free theatre scene, in the aftermath of the pandemic. ‘Theatre’ will wander as an exiled spectre between the urban, historical and cultural spaces of Otherness. Celan once described, one / bowstring / spreads its pain among you (die Eine / Sehne / spannt ihren Schmerz unter euch).

Her Face consists of eight performances and an exhibition between November 2022 and April 2023, the first being Cloud Tongues on the 12th of November 2022.

Her Face has been realised by Paper Tiger and Kunstbetrieb Birach. Its first performance, Cloud Tongues, has been done in collaboration with with the rubbles of old palaces.

Supported by Neustart Kultur #Prozessförderung (Fonds Darstellende Künste).