Daniel Kötter

Gold & Coal

landscapes and bodies #1/#2, theatre, documentary film


feat. Darlane Litay, Ikbal Lubys, Helena Kobogau, Anna Zett, Hermann Heisig

Residenz Schauspiel Leipzig
22.-24.11.2019, 4.-6.12.2019 (UA)

landscapes and bodies #1/#2

Artistic direction: Kötter/Israel/Limberg  
360°-Film: Daniel Kötter
Stage: Elisa Limberg
Dramaturgy: Sarah Israel
Sound: Marcin Lenarczyk

Production: ehrliche arbeit — freies Kulturbüro with Leoni Grützmacher

conceived and performed by
Darlane Litaay, Ikbal Lubys, Agustina Helena Kobogau, Anna Zett, Hermann Heisig
Location Manager: Yonri Revolt
Production Indonesia: Ethnictro Music Education

landscapes and bodies is an immersive performance parcours that is dedicated to the political, social and ecological consequences of underground and and open-cast mining.

The five-part performance series landscapes and bodies will be developed by Kötter/Israel/Limberg in collaboration with musicians, performers, theoreticians and local mining workers from Indonesia, DR Congo, Estonia, Leipzig and the Ruhr Region. The respective works explore the local and global influences of the extraction of raw material on landscapes, living environments and the living together. Each work is understood as a case study. The five parts can be freely combined in guest performances.

The titles of the subprojects refer to aggregate states and processing mechanisms of the raw materials which on the one hand serve as concrete models for the theatrical transformation processes and on the other hand as metaphors for dealing with fundamental questions of local and global coexistence.

GOLD (landscapes and bodies #1)

GOLD investigates the forms of space and ways of life in the area of the world's largest copper and gold mine in Timika, West Papua, Indonesia. Since the 1960s, the US mining company Freeport-McMoRan has transformed the 5000m-high Grasberg, originally the sanctuary of the indigenous Amungme population, into an open-cast mine several kilometres wide, perforated by thousands of kilometres of shafts and tunnels. The mine is rigorously sealed off from local resistance and secured by Indonesian police and military. Outside this special zone, more than 19,000 illegal miners filter the mercury-containing tailings in the riverbed for gold dust. And the world's largest mangrove forest on the coast, the habitat of the Komoro communities, is threatened by the Freeport port, from where industrial gold and copper dust is exported. The subproject GOLD approaches these three spatial practices with microphone, camera and the performer's body as a collaboration with the Indonesian experimental musician Ikbal Lubys, the Papuan performer Darlane Litay and the filmmaker and activist Agustina Helena Kobogau.

COAL (landscapes and bodies #2)

The brown coal reserve in the region around Leipzig formed one of the most important energy sources of the socialist GDR. Numerous villages had to give way to the gigantic shovel excavators, their inhabitants were resettled in specifically raised socialist housing blocks in the periphery of Leipzig. Since the German reunification and the following change of the system and structural changes, most of the opencast mines and industries were closed down. Today, the renaturalized Leipziger Neuseenland with its bungalow settlements on the banks of artificial lakes attracts in particular the middle class and tourists. At the same time, climate activists in camps are fighting for the closure of the remaining opencast mines. Together with Leipzig citizens, former and current miners, landscape designers and the artists Anna Zett and Hermann Heisig, COAL deals with the landscape as a metaphor for the simultaneity of past and present energy spaces in the environs of Leipzig.

Thematic background

Underground and surface mining are not only global economic strategies of exploitation, trading and transporting raw materials depending on a constantly changing demand for natural resources. Mining is first and foremost the practice of the fundamental transformation of space and as such it moves and distributes individuals, groups and entire peoples within it. Mining irreversibly changes the everyday experiences of local communities and their natural living environments: villages are resettled, temporary camps for miners are created, new mining cities are planned and built, mountain peaks are turned into open mining pits, open cast mines turn into touristic lakes, forests become deserts and rivers become slag heaps. The relationship between natural spheres of life and rural and urban forms of settlement, between landscapes and the distribution of bodies in them - the fundamental concepts of coexistence - are profoundly changed, transformed and recoded. For the artist collective Kötter/Israel/Limberg the questions of mining are primarily spatial-political questions of coexistence and thus genuine questions of 360° film and theatre.