Allora & Calzadilla’s Ode to Joy

Allora & Calzadilla, “Performance still,” Courtesy Haus der Kunst

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla create public ‘situations’ where the audience commonly plays a communicative or interactive role. Their films, performances, sculptures, site-specific works and actions often address political themes through strainers of humor and absurdity.

From June 13th through September 14th, the collaborative will present Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano at the Haus der Kunst‘s newly redesigned Galerie der Freunde, the former “hall of honor” where Hitler delivered his notorious speeches on culture and “degenerate art.” Addressing the history of the space, Allora & Calzadilla (Season 4) will hold several performances based on the fourth movement (Ode to Joy) of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The iconic final chorus was highly regarded by the Nazi cultural ministry and even played on the Führer’s birthday. Incidentally, Ode to Joy is also the European Union’s official anthem.

Reinterpreting the composition’s internal contradictions, as well as critiquing how music can be used and abused for political goals, the performance shows a pianist standing and moving in the middle of a modified concert piano while playing the keys inside out. Creating variations on the movement, musically and literally, Stop, Repair, Prepare is a “goose-stepping journey of sound that originates where modernity begins and aims towards uncertain horizons.”

Stop, Repair, Prepare will take place concurrently with the exhibition Allora & Calzadilla: Wake Up, Clamor, Sediments Sentiments (Figures of Speech) at Kunstverein München, June 13 through July 13.