Broken Angel

Challenge: Noise Challenge #10: The End |

By: Stephen

I hate gratuitous noise. I can’t think of anything worth doing in Toronto so I offer a noise intervention I did in Frankfurt in May, a guerilla performance piece entitled GEBROCHENGEL (broken angel) which explored the gilded apology and sufficiency of monuments.

In Frankfurt near St. Peter’s church on Klaus-Mann-Platz, there is a memorial with an angel sculpture (aka Frankfurter Engel) for the homosexual men and women persecuted and murdered during the Third Reich. Like other “apologetic” monuments, the Frankfurter Engel statue is situated in a “dead” space – between the back wall of a building and the driveway of a Best Western; frequented by drunks needing a spot.

On 6 May 2013, the anniversary of Marlene Dietrich’s death and 80th year past the Third Reich, I collide the Frankfurter Engel with Marlene Dietrich (who rose to fame in the film Blue Angel, a gay and lesbian icon, and staunch detractor of the Nazi regime) by interacting with the space and sculpture while singing her signature song “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß” / “Falling in love again (I can’t help it)” a capella, accompanied by the surrounding soundscape of passer-bys, traffic, drunks, and street sweepers.

Shortly after I completed GEBROCHENGEL, there was a resurgence of anti-gay violence in Europe and North America which has colored my viewing of the piece. I traced the same trajectory through the space, each start offset in a clockwise direction. Over the course of 3 hours, I performed 12 times at random intervals, one for each year of the Third Reich.

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