MASSE MENSCH
MASS HUMAN
2013

The specific architectural and social constellation of the Kunsthalle Luzern within a round building – home of the Bourbaki Panorama painting – is the starting point for a situative intervention which questions roles and attributions within a building where usually it seems clear who is doing what and where.

Context: A wide glass facade separates the narrow space of the Kunsthalle from the wide foyer of the Bourbaki building and makes the exhibition space look like a huge vitrine. The foyer is part of a bar, but also used as a passage area to reach the cinemas in the basement or the public library and the panorama painting on the upper floors. It is partly furnished with seats and creates a place where one can wait, discuss or work at a table without necessarily consuming anything. The exhibitions at the Kunsthalle are usually best viewable from the foyer and on the other hand visitors of the shows inevitably watch the people sitting on the other side of the glass at their tables. The display window produces a double, reciprocal situation of being exhibited. At the meantime it is a tight acoustic and institutional barrier.

Performance: 50 performers find themselves inside the empty, fully lighted Kunsthalle for four hours, doing no more than standing, lifting an arm from time to time, stepping forward towards the glass
and putting one hand on the glass or speaking inaudibly, addressing someone outside. Looking
from the foyer, one sees these „exhibited“ people
of any age, doing nothing that makes any obvious sense: they neither do yoga nor take part in a conference nor act in a play.
The well-known situation of the display window is irritated once something happens that cannot be classified. The thin lines between institutional, private and public space become visible, the borders between the space that one consciously perceives and the space one blanks out, slightly shift.
The public mainly consists of random passersby and guests from the bar who attend the performance without previous knowledge.

Performance after a concept by Urban Mäder, Judith Huber and Miriam Sturzenegger
50 performers
Duration: 4 hours

Kunsthalle Luzern and Bourbaki Bar/Bistro, Luzern, 2013