In response // Everything that happened and would happen

Part soundscape, part monochrome nightmare from the eyes of a passive observer, part endurance test… ‘Everything that happened and would happen’ is a new work from Heiner Goebbels co-presented by Artangel and Manchester International Festival as a pre-Factory event. Taking place between Wed 10 and Sun 21 October 2018 at Mayfield, for tickets and more information, visit: MIF

I was fortunate enough to attend the dress rehearsal of this bonkers new performance last night and I’ve decided to channel my inner William James with a stream of consciousness / observational poem:

Echoing conversations in artificial light,

Black brick on grey archways, corrugated windows,

An OSB bar with casually conversing clientele,

School benches with go faster stripes,

Counterfeit candles in jars adding to the strange light.

A collection of chairs, multiple heights, comforts, arms, legs,

The quiet contemplation of the gathered.

Self assured murmurings of a curated audience,

An ancient noticeboard stuffed with staples and fragments of the past.

Dust sheets and drum kits,

Huge cylinders of percussion,

Blankets for laps and hats for heads,

Rows of organ pipes mirror the corrugated walls and window coverings.

The deep groan of brass and scattered percussion,

Black boiler suits, the audience in excited chatter,

Not noticing beginnings.

Beautiful folds in printed monochrome fabrics,

Shell motifs; letters; glyphs; rolls of carpet,

The swirling shadows of icons carefully placed,

Creaking pulleys.

A dance floor emerges like a slowly swirling vortex,

The passage of time marked in slow, measured movement,

Creaky wrist percussion all knuckles and rolling motion,

Concentration camp Barbie considered.


A growing sense of attending a dystopian field trip,

Giant shadow robes, 

Night terrors writ large on silent wheels,

Conspiring in groups.

A tunnel made of smoke echoes the space and history,

Foam cylinders as flopping appendages,

Playing with shadows like an Anthony McCall installation,

Ancient sounds echo the railway.

Psychologists said,

Psychoanalysts said,

Evolutionists said,

Communists said,

They said,

And on the other hand they said.

Folded sheets pulled like Nowka Bais gliding slowly to victory,

Illuminated by the passive lighthouse beam searching the space.

Squeaking erupts like a classroom of chairs when the school bell rings,

Boulders like scotch eggs on an Escher landscape.

‘Everyone gets what they deserve,’ 

Pre written postcards: The accommodation is wonderful.

Human pyramids presented with no comment,

WWII was protecting humanist ideals,

Dadaism repeats,

Stripes of light like the room unwinding,

Rolling and rotating.

Lots of people did not know the theory and so continued to make history as though nothing had happened.

Glowing ghostly trolleys dancing to ethereal music from a long forgotten ballroom,

Lining up like minecarts,

Spectators waiting for a crash that never comes .

The crackling static of bubble wrap,

Burning cylinders like an electrical fireplace from a long forgotten childhood,

Unrolling furlongs of tarpaulin sheets,

Jagged cloth like animal skins placed carefully and shifted,

Mesh sections to stop projections,

More frantic and colourful movement as time progresses,

The Fabric and texture unfolding colours and shapes,

The glossy strain of human form moving under plastic.

A small exodus as the delicate drummer beat the gong,

One final banner raising outside amidst bricks and silent trains sailing past,

Illuminated weary travellers pressed sleepily against windows, oblivious.

How long would people stay to watch banners in the breeze?