Theory Of The Bench (Manuel Bürger)
"The average duration of a Bench Session is 4-8 hours, considered as good range of quality time for proper contemplation and distraction. The start and end have no necessary relation to the solar day, but it should be noted that the very last hours of the night are generally unsuitable for Benching. But this duration is merely a statistical average. For one thing, a Bench Session rarely occurs in its pure form: it is difficult for the participants to avoid setting aside some minutes for taking care of banal tasks like phone calls. But more importantly, a Bench Session often takes place within a deliberately limited period of a few hours, or even fortuitously during fairly brief moments; conversely it may last for a day without interruption."
Together with the Australian artist Thomas Jeppe, Manuel Bürger, the designer of diverse material and immaterial identities, wrote the book Theory of the Bench (Naives&Visionaires, 2014). In it, the Situationist practice of dérive is examined through the act of sitting. Instead of running through the streets spontaneously with a map like Guy Debord and cease driving things physically and emotionally and allowing oneself to be carried along, the city rotates around the subject in benching. To do so, one just needs the right place: the bench. Sitting around and observing is by no means relaxation or indolence, but instead playful and deconstructionist. Manuel Bürger explains why using images and text – a keynote lecture with which we will close the PAF, in order to open things up again next year somewhere else.
Alte Münze: Festivalzentrum, Molkenmarkt 2, Mitte, 10179 Berlin
For all participants and guests of the Berlin Performing Arts Festival.
Part of the ancillary program conceived and developed by the Performing Arts Festival team.
Manuel Bürger (*1980, The Laboratory of Manuel Bürger, Berlin) conceives and designs identities and communication for customers within the culture sector. His work is based upon the idea of highly referential density, strange narrations and over complexity/irritation. Together with Leif Randt and Jakob Nolte, he has also recently began operating the Internet label Tegel Media.
Alte Münze in Mitte has been the home of Berlin’s mint since the 1930s. Here, Reichmarks were printed by the National Socialists, then East German marks, followed by Deutschmarks and euros after German Reunification and the introduction of the euro until the mint was moved to Reinickendorf in 2005.
The premises are currently managed by Spreewerkstätten. Since 2013, they have successively developed various areas in Alte Münze and made them usable. Culture makers, music producers, artists working in all genres as well as art and music festival presenters and social startups realize a wide variety of projects in Alte Münze today in the culture and creative economy sectors and program the event areas.
The future of Alte Münze is currently the topic of active debate by Berlin’s cultural policy makers. In light of this, PAF is even more excited to be able to be a guest here. It allows this much-discussed location in the middle of the city to be temporarily experienced together by audience members and artists.