“Worldwide Brecht – Contributions from Beijing, China”
Siting Yang: „V.A.B.E.L (Vom Armen BB Et aL)“
Liu Chengzhen: „Fuck Brecht“
Yi Dian: „b. solo b.“
Lai Haifeng: “Something about workers”
Film premiere in English and Chinese language with German subtitles
Curated by Kai Tuchmann
Film and discussion
Budding theatre producers from China relate the reality of their lives to texts by Bertolt Brecht. They discover places of biographical resonance, in the poem “Vom armen B.B” (Of the poor B. B.), for example. They chafe at this Western author, who only seems to encourage debate and confusion. They tell of the friendship between Bertolt Brecht and Bai Juyi, a Chinese poet who met Brecht in exile in the 1940s, and shed light on the current plight of the working class, about whom Brecht wrote time and time again.
„V.A.B.E.L – Vom Armen Bb Et aL“
A devised short film by Haohan Zhao, Jiayi Cheng, Jiayi Ou, Tianyi Wang, Diankun Feng, Siting Yang
It was a harsh winter for Bertolt Brecht in the city of Berlin, 1922, when he was an aspiring young lad fresh off his departure from “die schwarzen Wäldern”. The most modern metropolis of early 20th century Europe is luring Brecht to gain an artistic foothold. In one of Brecht’s early city poems, Vom Armen B. B. (1926-27), the post-revolution city space shows its merciless, mundane, and challenging face. It is a harsh winter for Brecht’s current-day Chinese friends in Shanghai, 2022. A security guard from Yancheng, Jiangsu, a masseuse from Huizhou, Guangdong, and a thief fresh out of prison from Greater Khingan Range, Heilongjiang—drifting and laboring in resilience, their accounts encapsulate the common experience of millions of underserved migrant workers in China. What brings their lives and desires to collide in Shanghai? What is the drive and agency behind their decisions? What do they have to say about Shanghai’s constructive and destructive impact on their work, life, or even, existence? Though not without disheartenment, Brecht embraces the city as a battle ground full of dynamic and possibilities, and awaits social and political change in the “wind” and the “earthquake to come” to shake the status quo. In today’s world, has the anticipated change taken place? Who is the historical agent to make the change happen? How would the change reveal itself in our protagonists’ stories? Vom Armen B. B. engages with migrant experience that puts one’s life into the flux of constant dislocation, and poses the Verfremdungseffekt on one’s own positionality on this world. Migrants are consumed out of their once stable identity, and have adapted into someone even foreign to themselves. Our adaptation, Vom Armen Bb Et aL. (V.A.B.E.L), seeks to embody this aspect of content in creative formal devices, and presents the protagonists’ story as a Brechtian Fabel that is shaped in close regard to their social interactions and casualties. In V.A.B.E.L, the protagonists’ humorous dialogues in different dialects, coupled with puppetry, collage and more, together compose the city poem of Shanghai, China, 2022.
Conceived and directed by:
A film based on resarch.
In this video work, four students reflect on their relationships with Brecht- including all their emotion, anger, rationality, analysis, confusion, discovery. Under the banner of “misreading”, they juxtaposed historical materials with recent productions , combined personal feelings with academic concepts. Who the fuck is Brecht anyway? He is a German who brings us debate and confusion. In the second half of the 20th century, when Brecht entered China, chaos began to diffuse. Yes, we need him. His ideology is no problem and contributes to our Communist cause, but this strange western writer… Who is he? What is the alienation effect? How does it create the distance between the stage and the audience? How to deal with the fucking empathy? Why couldn’t we swear at Brecht? Since we don’t understand Brecht, but we are required to understand him. Just like all good scholars and artists of the last century, we constantly misread Brecht. Why can’t misreading be allowed? Is there a real, essential Brecht? We create another “Brecht” and use it to pursue our own political goals. Fuck the real Brecht.
Han Lele, Yang Lin, Lian Zikun, Sun Yaqi.
Yang Lin, Han Lele
„B. solo B.“
A shadow play film.
What is exile?
The answer is given by Brecht in the 1940s. Is exile simply a material change in time and space? Or is it a change in the human mind? After a war and a return to East Germany, Brecht met the Chinese poet Bai Juyi in the 1950s and became interested in his poetry. The two men’s similar lonely exile bridged the gap between Brecht and Bai Juyi, and Brecht translated some of Bai Juyi’s poems into German on the basis of the English version.
A cloud wrapped around Brecht, and when it dispersed again, Brecht had become a large bird. After the big bird passes through layers of mist and meets Bai Juyi in the Imperial City, they swim together through the deep, black pools of ink, through layers of clouds and shadows, and recite „Buy the Flower“ together in the late spring in the hustle and bustle of traffic. Finally, the big bird changes back into Brecht and returns to Buko, whispering ‚The Great Quilt‘ on his lips.
Yi Dian, Wu Anqi, Li Ruobing, Shen Wenjing, Qu Xueyu, Chen Ziying
„Something About Workers“
Many of Brecht’s works focus on people at the bottom, such as soldiers, citizens, servants, vendors, and workers, such as his two poems—Questions from A Worker Who Reads and The power of the workers. In China, there is a young poet named Xu Lizhi. He used to be a worker on the Foxconn assembly line. He wrote poetry as an amateur and published it on the Internet. In September 2014, he committed suicide by jumping off a building, leaving behind nearly two hundred poems. Someone compiled it into a collection of poems for him and published it, named A New Day. Xu Lizhi is less than ten years away from us. Reading his poems can bring us some spiritual resonance, but we can notice that his former situation is silently disappearing. The reason for this demise is precisely the networking and intelligence that we are experiencing every day. These new trends have caused some new changes in the conditions of workers, but perhaps some essential things remain unchanged.
written und staged by :
Lai Haifeng, Ou Jingwei, Peng Yanhan, Yu Lihui and Zheng Haoyue
A short concept film
Brecht`s poem Orge`s wishlist was written in 1917. Since then the text has become a good reference to the life of the current era in China. When enrolling in Academy, we also had a vision similar to that of the 19-year-old Brecht. We firmly believed in living a free and romantic life, as well as making artistic creations that stands for people. After graduating, fierce and cruel social competition, pervasive gender violence and austerity and collective-unconscious political discourse environment almost defeated us. If one wants to really face the reality, you have to face the source of pain again and understand the darkness in poetry.
Orge`s Gaze re-examines the words used in the Orge`s Wishlist from a social and historical perspective, most of them have strong political implications and are connected to problems in current society: ‘skin’, ‘girl’, ‘woman’, ‘hostility’, ‘dwelling’, ‘art’, ‘teacher’, ‘gods’, ‘death’, etc. In our own lives, men use ‘white, young and weak’ to describe a group of women who are easily controlled and suitable for use as a sexual tool. The ‘undamaged white skin’ in the original text not only reflects the serious objectification and gaze of women in the patriarchal society, but also reflects the increasingly serious problem of racial discrimination.
Wang Guanyu, Sun Peijie, Ma Yixuan, Zhao Yingru, Zhang Yuanrong
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von: