Büchnermaschine (2013)

"You must sue your neighbour who steals a potato, but if you complain about the theft which is celebrated at the public expense under the name of duty and taxes, every day, on your property, thus fattening with your sweat a legion of useless officials [...], if you complain about your lost human rights: where are the courts to accept your application, where are the judges?"
"The government says it is necessary for the sake of maintaining order in the state. What is it then, that monstrous thing, the state?"
(Georg Büchner, The Hessian Messenger, 1834)

Despotic governments of Büchner's time might have disappeared, but instead they have been duly substituted by hardly democratic privately-run partitocracies in most of the developed world. Meanwhile, money has become a new kind of global deity, omnipresent, almighty, infallible and power-legitimating, with a court of mystic abstract companions, such as "the markets", credit ratings, WBG, IMF, G8 or MTV - an extended system of belief, sustained thanks to our collective faith in it, which is causing widespread cultural, material and environmental penury and unbalance.

In a point in history where teenagers sell their organs to buy mobile phones, wives can be ordered online, nuclear weapons are offered between states as Christmas gifts and we are bombarded with an average of 3,000 adverts everyday, financial conglomerates and the Hessian ministry of art are funding the Georg Büchner Gedenkjahre 2012/13 celebrations of the state-prosecuted revolutionary author who reaffirmed "war to the palaces, peace in the shacks". So, what are we celebrating? What would Büchner think about all this?

Me and the Machine proposes Büchnermaschine: a culture dispenser in five acts, human snack vending machine and collective attempt to update to contemporaneity Büchner's critique against dominant ideology and to question the social and political mechanisms at play in this "invented cultural event", which celebrates many ideas and institutions besides (or even despite) Georg Büchner’s work.

The micro-shows menu includes money laundering magic tricks, a Progress Sandwich, disposable body parts and poetic actions for-a-more-beautiful-world, washed with papaya juice, fake blood and petrol for all.

Insert coin, no change given.

me and the machine

Concept and artistic direction
Clara García Fraile and Sam Pearson.
Devised and performed by:
Lionel Bechara, Clara García Fraile, Isabel Martínez Ballesteros, Sam Pearson, Miguel Ángel Sales.
Documentation by Omar Danuk.
Martin Maecker, Gergana Muskalla
Producer: Alexander Leiffheidt
Technical Production: Christian "Wolf" Zander, Bianca Mischinger, Tom Faber, Sergej Fuchs.

Buchnermaschine was
commissioned by Hessischen Landestheaters Marburg, for the 2013 Büchner Anniversary.
Suppported by Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst.

Thanks to Frank Hoppe and Firma Automaten Hofmann, Offenbach

20-26 June 2013 | Hessischen Landestheaters Marburg | Marktplatz, Marburg, Germany

27-28 June 2013 |
Büchner International Theatre Festival | Gießen Central Station, Gießen, Germany