Wismut – A Nuclear Choir
Jule Flierl & Mars Dietz (Berlin / New York) / Artists in Residence
The docu-dance-performance “Wismut – A Nuclear Choir” is a cooperation project between choreographer and dancer Jule Flierl and visual artist and musician Mars Dietz. They will explore the history of uranium mining in the Saxonian Erzgebirge-region and its radiating impact on landscape, society and individual bodies. Flierl and Dietz will choreograph a movement choir and design a space where a local focus on the Wismut Corporation enables reflection on global questions of the exploitation of landscapes and bodies.
In the Cold War’s arms race, the mining corporation Wismut in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) supplied uranium for Soviet nuclear bombs since the late 1940s. The rapid expansion of uranium mining and the hurried settling of workers resulted in the disappearance of forests and villages; huge mine dumps were heaped up, irreparably poisoning and contaminating the landscape with radiation. The uranium was mined in strictest secrecy and supervision, protected by the Soviet leadership. Following the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, a GDR-wide ecological movement was formed, with activists collecting and publishing information, among others about Wismut AG’s mining activities. The company’s uranium mining was abandoned after Germany’s reunification. The ensuing changes continue to have an impact on the region’s identity and society, its landscape and its people.
The central element of Flierl’s and Dietz’ multi-media approach to the topic is the collective in form of a movement choir. Throughout history, movement choirs have embodied a wide range of collective utopias. They outlined the body as a carrier of certain values and images of humanity. The movement choir “Wismut – A Nuclear Choir” will derive its image of humanity from the history of the contaminated, exploited and rehabilitated landscape of the former Wismut-region. The project will explore the contradiction between collective identity as a utopian ideal of community and as dogma of enforced conformity. From a perspective of critical engagement, Flierl and Dietz will develop a futuristic choreography that will search for radical, collective body images in a churned-up present.