Editorial 2014

Heiner Goebbels

When our attempts to classify what we have seen no longer apply is when things start to get interesting. For this reason while our list of contents offers some help with orientation, its categories are only really valid at first glance. They may give an indication of the art form from which the artist or artists originate or to which they aspire – but not necessarily of what we are going to experience. Perhaps you will find your own terms for this or you’ll simply enjoy the fact that we have been rendered speechless.

What characterizes the Ruhrtriennale are the interactions between artists and spaces. These make strong artistic experiences possible for all of us and they are my highest priority: where else does one have the freedom to allow something to develop without compromise? The same is true of the special aesthetic challenges of the Landschaftspark, when the festival’s presence on the opening weekend in Duisburg is impossible to ignore.

Music theatre which is no longer aware of any boundaries with other art forms – with theatre and dance, but also with the aesthetics of installation and performance – has offered us particularly unexpected experiences in the last two years and this is where the focus of our programme lies. Louis Andriessen’s first piece of music theatre is an exciting opera of ideas which allows us to reflect on the relationship between the spiritual and the material. Romeo Castellucci will realise his radical response to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the Gebläsehalle and will also stage Neither by Morton Feldman in the Jahrhunderthalle. And young theatremaker Boris Nikitin invites us to an opera performance in the Maschinenhalle Zweckel; here three remarkable solo singers present ingenious biographical insights into their work with their voices.

Another piece of music theatre – and dance? and a concert? – is Surrogate Cities Ruhr, a choreographic work by Mathilde Monnier performed to an orchestral cycle which I have written about the rapid and ambivalent development of urbanity in cities. The polyphony of the soloists, the mechanical nature of the acoustic fabric and the architectonic structure of the music are each expressions of the polycentric Ruhr metropolis and these have inspired the French artist to undertake extensive research into movement involving people of all ages.

Visual artists show us the potential spaces which film can open up to us beyond what the film industry offers as entertainment. And while doing this the artists take a sharp look at what is a live issue not just for the Ruhr: industrial production in the 21st century. With River of Fundament the American artist Matthew Barney stages a richly visual and sonic Gesamtkunstwerk to the decaying locations of American industrial culture. And in the graphic visual forms in which Harum Farocki allows us to look at working conditions all around the world, Labour in a Single Shot becomes visible which, for all its distortion, at times reveals a personal love of detail in a very touching way. Boris Charmatz presents a filmic version of Levée des conf lits in the Museum Folkwang, which demands everything of the dancers and which he filmed on the Halde Haniel from a helicopter last summer.

And there are more rooms: After 12 Rooms in the first year and Situation Rooms in the second, Gregor Schneider – one of the world’s leading spatial artists – is developing a Totlast in and around the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg. "I’m looking forward", Gregor Schneider writes, "to digging up the museum including the park … Very close to the forgotten graves deep in the earth we are suddenly thrown back into the world. We will lie in each other’s arms and take a deep breath again. What a wonderful park. How beautiful our life is." This too will be 'experiential theatre'.

No Education is linked even more strongly to the main programme in 2014. Not only with The Children’s Choice Awards once again, but also with the participation of children and young people in Surrogate Cities Ruhr and freitagsküche. At the same time the ZEIT Forum Kultur will discuss questions of the direct artistic experiences arising out of our programme and the No Education projects.

Alongside a disarmingly direct work by Tino Sehgal (Untitled) (2000) we will be showing new work by a series of choreographers: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Eszter Salamon, Saburo Teshigawara, La Ribot – who last year kept us laughing for six hours and Boris Charmatz, who will be concentrating on the subject of food and consumption. After Lemi Ponifasio directed his first opera with Orff’s Prometheus so impressively, he will approach theatre with I AM.


The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – one of the best orchestras in the world – and Ligeti’s Requiem will complete an exciting and comprehensive concert programme of 20th century music: compositions by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Luc Ferrari, Olivier Messiaen, Edgard Varese, Maurice Ravel and many others can be heard performed by the hr symphony orchestra and ChorWerk Ruhr.

After performances at dawn and rainy excursions to the tip we are now daring to offer you the chance to attend a relaxed night concert of music by Morton Feldman. And we shall also present a marathon of all six Bach cello suites by Jean-Guihen Queyras as part of our Concerts in the Maschinenhaus. Along with many other series which we have established at the Triennale – Festivalcampus, freitagsküche, Children’s Choice Awards, tumbletalks – this will also be continued in the third year of my artistic directorship and offer some remarkable acoustic experiences with Fred Frith, Edin Karamazov and others. With the sampled sounds of old pianos, Matthew Herbert tells the spectral stories of their owners in this concert at PACT Zollverein.

Delusion of the Fury, Situation Rooms, The Last Adventures, Vortex Temporum, Playing Cards, Marketplace 76, Lecture on Nothing, When the Mountain changed its clothing, Twin paradox, Sacré Sacre, Disabled Theater and other productions which we have initiated or made possible in the last two years have been seen around the world as a kind of ›Tourtriennale‹ which is testimony to this outstanding festival and this region’s artistic productivity.

That this festival begins with a Dutch composer and finishes with an orchestra from Amsterdam is of course a coincidence – but I am pleased to use this as a way of welcoming my successor Johan Simons, who will be here to greet you next year. Many colleagues who make festivals around the world envy us not only for our incomparable spaces and the chance we have to produce art ourselves, but also because of you: our audience. You make a great impression on everyone with your curiosity, openness, artistic daring and the directness of your response. If there was an international prize for the best audience, then the Ruhrtriennale audience would have a good chance of being no. 1. I thank you for having accepted this subjectively chosen programme and for continuing to accept it.

With warm regards,

Heiner Goebbels

Artistic Director Ruhrtriennale 2012 – 2014