Louise Décaillet, Marta Górnicka’s Grundgesetz The Chorus as Portrait and Proxy of Political Community PAMIĘTNIK TEATRALNY 70, 3 (2021)
University of Zurich
Grundgesetz The Chorus as Portrait and Proxy of Political Community
On October 3, 2018, as part of the Day of German Unity, a remarkable performance was orchestrated in the center of Berlin. Polish singer and theater director Marta Górnicka brought together fifty amateur and professional singers from various social backgrounds, forming a chorus in front of the Brandenburg
Gate. There, they all declaimed the text of the Grundgesetz, the German constitution. On May 25, 2019, the performance was staged again at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to mark the seventieth anniversary of the German Constitution. Announced by the theater as a “choral stress test, the
performance intended to ask on whose behalf the constitutional text speaks,that is to say, what political community can be represented by the introductory
sentence of the German constitution “Wir, das deutsche Volk” (We, the German people). This question was enunciated through the very form of the chorus, mixing political intervention in the heart of public space with a collective performance based on singing and choreography. Standing next to each other in colorful clothes, the fifty singers first form a line that slightly exceeds the width of the Brandenburg Gate. To celebrate the occasion, a black and white photo of a crowd of young people storming the Berlin Wall was hung on the monument, with the tag “Freedom.” Between the singers and the Gate, three hefty silhouettes of security guards, as big as the Gate’s pillar and as if cut from the same black and white photos as the crowd, turn their back on the audience and supervise the uprising. At the center of this tableau, Marta Górnicka takes her place as conductor, facing the singers, and launches the recitation of the constitutional text. Alone, a female voice starts chanting the preamble full article here:
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