“The New York art duo TROUBLE, in collaboration with Berlin based promoters and people involved in the local arts scene, are planning to bring the infamous ‘You Are Here Festival’ (aka The Maze!), to Berlin’s West Germany venue in September of 2012. The ‘You Are Here Festival’, as always, will feature a life size sculptural maze which will occupy the entire venue. Performers, of which there will be three to five per night, will have to negotiate the confines of the maze in order to execute their performance. The ingenuity, flexibility, and at times, frustration involved with doing this is a central ingredient of the ‘You Are Here’ experience. ‘You Are Here’ also emphasizes the art and music of local scenes and communities. Whether in New York or Berlin, the ‘You Are Here Festival’ is a round up of local talent. Whereas many festivals pride themselves on flying in the best of the best from across the globe, ‘You Are Here’ seeks to reveal the exotic embedded in the familiar by requiring local artists and audiences to contend with unconventional performance circumstances. Of course there are some travellers too, and they are absorbed by the pop-up community of presenters and purveyors the festival engenders. Ultimately, the sprawl of the maze brings artists, producers, audience, and performers onto the same team as, night by night, they work together to make each performance happen, completely dismantling the fourth wall, by putting lots of other walls up!”
This is the initial explanation which greets you on the homepage of the You Are Here Festival’s Berlin edition website, with an accompanying schedule full of concerts and events, all of which take place within the confines of the wood and string maze which has been erected in West Germany for the two week duration of the festival.
This particular event was a sprawling three hour performance installation curated by Aidan Baker of Nadja, and realised by 11 Berlin based musicians in the following configuration:
Aidan Baker (Nadja) — guitar
Andrea Belfi (Hobocombo, B/S/S) — percussion
Soren Brothers (Man Meets Bear) — ukelele, melodica
Dirk Dresselhaus (SchniederTM) — guitar/flute
Will Gresson (Fausto Maijstral) - guitar
Jasmine Monique Guffond (Jasmina Machina) — laptop
Rene Margaff (Pillowdiver, Twopeopleinaroom) — guitar
Jeremie Mortier — percussion
Felipe Salizar — percussion
Stefania Predetti (OvO, ?Alos) — guitar/voice
Du Champ (solo, Fausto Maijstral) — baritone guitar
Each musician played for roughly half an hour, beginning at ten minute intervals and overlapping one another until the end. The structure of the maze meant that there were three performance areas within the relatively small space, and the maze grew noticeably more dense towards what is usually the main stage area of West Germany.
The recordings below were made by starting at one end of the room and walking through the maze to the other (and sometimes back again). Rather than try and capture the full performance, this gives you more of a sense of what it was like for the audience as they moved through the space as a whole. The last recording was made at the main entrance and is the last set played by curator Aidan Baker.
This was one of the most enjoyable shows from the whole year, not least because at least four or five of the performers told me about these little eureka moments they had during the course of the night when they stopped somewhere in the middle of the maze and realised that the initial plan, which had sounded perhaps somewhat dubious to some of us on paper actually worked really well. My thanks to the other performers, and especially Aidan for the night.