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Tonight, Lights Out!

David Weber-Krebs

On December 8, 2007 the Bild Zeitung, Germany’s most important tabloid and Europe’s best selling newspaper, was proclaiming with big letters on its front page: “Tonight, lights out from 20:00 to 20:05!” 

“Tonight, lights out!”proposes to transpose this action from the level of an entire country to the closed space of a theatre. 

In the name of climate change everybody in the country was invited to make this small gesture and exercise his or her basic democratic right. “5 minutes for a better world” was the explicative subtitle of the action. This action appeals to ambivalent feelings. It is first of all remarkable that a right wing populist tabloid like the Bild Zeitung suddenly felt the popularity of the thematic of climate change, which it was denying for so many years. It designed a clever action followed by a large part of the population because it was appealing to everybody’s own democratic right and duty. By performing this small symbolic action of switching off the lights people were part of the large community who cares for climate change and who is determined to solve this problem together. For the time of five minutes…

The situation itself of a whole country being intentionally in the dark is also a great trigger for imagination. What was happening in those cities, in those houses? Were people sitting on the bench together remaining silent? What were they thinking about? Did they hope their action would have true consequences? Of what kind?

14 October 2017


David Weber-Krebs creates situations engaging the spectator in a complex game between getting absorbed or merging with an art piece, and keeping his critical distance towards it. Be it by staging actors (ex.intothebigworld), a donkey (Balthazar), a minimalistsculpture (Performance,RobertMorrisrevisited) or a public space (Miniature), the form is ever reduced to its simplest expression. It becomes like a projection screen, inviting the spectator into a mode of active contemplation where meaning is not givenbut produced by the spectator. The theatre performanceFadeout(2005) for example, is based on the slow extinction of the lights until the whole space lays in complete darkness. Two performers accompany this drama of irreversible disappearance and until its final consequence. The public is both witness and active participant of this highly sensitive process. While the lights are fading-out, the eyes of each spectator must adapt to the new situation until everything is plunged into darkness.

Concept, text, performance:
David Weber-Krebs

Coordt Linke

Conception Installation:
Hans Westendorp

Martin Kaffarnik

Production & Assistance:
Marie Urban

Elisabeth Hirner

Thanks to:
Maarten Westra Hoekzema, Mathias Domahidy

Stichting Infinite Endings

Frascati Theater, STUK, Zeitraumexit, Theater Zeebelt