project image
Katrin Woelger

first performed on August 17, 2020
On and in the river Danube,
performed once in 2020




“stromaufwärts” with “Die Fabrikanten”

In August 2020 I had the task, the commission and the pleasure to perform on a Zille, a small boat, while moving upstream on the river Danube, remembering myths and works and stories. The company, Die Fabrikanten, was celebrating their 30th anniversary and invited artists, with whom they had worked before to accompany them (one by one for two days).

Free to choose time, location and length of the performance, I decided to go on the boat without a concept. The only thing I knew was that I would like to jump, fall or slide into the water.

On the first day I jumped into the water in the middle of Regensburg. The following talks, discussions and impressions led to the performance the next day. After a rather sleepless night I had gotten up early and taken a barefoot walk. I came to a deserted house, which I inspected. I came across corn, harvested by beavers, found the neophyte Impatiens glandulifera and Valerian, a calming plant. I took a long swim, talking to the river, thinking of the tales of the nymphs in the Danube, of “The Song of the Nibelungs” with the strong character of Brunhilde and about history and time, religion, and the perception of women.

I took the plants on the boat. After departure and some time on the river I took my lipstick and marked my eyes and nose. I took the plants one after the other, destroying them by hitting them against the planks as hard as I could. I bit the corn and spit it to the left and the right. I turned around and looked to the back, then continued until the last plant took me with it into the water. There was a lifebuoy drifting away, I swam as fast as I could and got it. I took off my rainbow-colored jacket in the water. The next phase of the performance was playful—swimming, screaming, diving, laughing, the boat turned and took me in, I took a sip of rum and asked the crew to let me get out, which they did immediately. Still wet, I changed under a tree and waved them farewell and went to the train station, where I took a train home.

Each part of the action and each plant had a symbolic meaning. This performance was my commentary on the fairy tales of the nymphs in the Danube, on the “Nibelungenlied” with the strong figure of Brunhilde and on history and time, religion and the image of women, an attempt to bring the brutality and joy in fairy tales into the present, to find missing thoughts and connect them with the now, performance as a mirror of reality, independent of time.