“What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space?” (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science)

Ensuing from intensive research on the socio-cultural memory of the Germans before and after the turning point of the Second World War, a dystopian-satirical science-fiction story was created, in which various forms of utopian promises of salvation from the 19th and 20th centuries clash. Special emphasis was placed on the motif of outer space in literature and music, from Arnold Schönberg to Karlheinz Stockhausen to the esoteric new-age kitsch of the 1980s. The prophetic post-modern lyrics of Nietzsche and the monumentalist rhetorics of East German propaganda clash with hits from the Wunschkonzert der Wehrmacht (Request Concerts for the German Armed Forces) from 1941.

By making a collage of archive material and fiction, by merging historical discontinuities and contradictions into an aesthetically coherent story, the psycho-social process of “historicization” is emulated, in which the contradictory fates of the individuals merge into a great narrative of the collective designated as history. Yet the collective memory, for whose sovereign right a battle is fought in art and culture, is always a compromise, an amalgamation of conflicting points of view and aesthetics, a narrative which always serves more the cohesion of a group than the truth in the scientific sense of the word. In his approach, the author of the audio play was mainly inspired by Nietzsche’s key text On the Use and Abuse of History for Life and the writings of the sociologists Jan and Aleida Assmann on the collective memory.

Besides the 43-minute audio play, which Max Lange wrote and produced, a 30-page booklet was written in cooperation with the graphic designer Bárbara Acevedo Strange, disclosing the sources of the audio play and offering a theoretical extension of the artistic work. Several video works which follow the cosmos of the narrative were also developed.

Link to the audio play

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