Solomon & Co

Bremen, 2011

To begin the performance the audience gathers in front of a stage with two podiums. Stewards give directions and snipers watch over the proceedings. The buildup holds a similarity to the staging of a political event for a mass audience.

Each member of the audience is presented with a balloon by a steward. Those in attendance are ushered back to a safe distance from the stage. The audience is encouraged to applaud as Elianna Renner and her mother Judith E. Renner-Wassermann, alias ‘Solomon & Co’, come onto the stage.

An alphabetical word exchange between Elianna Renner and Judith E. Renner-Wassermann then takes place over an old-conical factory PA speaker. The word pattern, which is recited calmly and earnestly, utilizes one first letter accordingly and at first seems to have no real meaning. After listening for some time, however, the power of the individual words, combined with the random and subjective chains of association of two individuals, forms an intentional poetry. The designated space (audience/stage) is declared to be a free space for association, transcending political, historical and generational confines, and in which cycles of recollections are being produced.

After the last word has been spoken Elianna Renner and Judith E. Renner-Wassermann leave the stage. At the same moment the stewards release the balloons, the audience copy the action and the snipers fire into the air in a salutary manner. After the performance is over, its venue lives on as an abandoned site. Podiums, banners, stage and balloons are left to decay. The words of the finished performance keep on playing in a loop. They become a monument to the completed action and allow the visitors to the Kunstfrühling to enter the exhibition through their associative dialogue.

As visitors come into the entry hall of the exhibition, they are met by a video projection on the floor in which all the words of the performance silently run across the floor in the form of film credits, whilst the audio track can be heard rudimentarily from outside the hall.

Solomon & Co was performed at the opening of the Gedok Performance Festival during Kunstfrühling 2011 in Bremen. The name Solomon & Co originates from the family name of Elianna Renner and Judith E. Renner-Wassermann’s grandmother. It accentuates the matrilineal nature of a family in which history is passed on orally. This passing on of knowledge is also embodied through the word exchange: despite generation gap and differing experience, mother and daughter share similar associations which create an identity to be passed on at a level transcending generations.