August 04

Part 01 – 5.00 pm, Glyptothek, Königsplatz
Part 02 – 7.00 pm, Kunstraum München

The starting point for the two-part performance Smoking Constitution is a historical document: the Ventotene Manifesto, (Per un’Europa libera e unita. Progetto d’un manifesto, German: Für ein freies und einiges Europa. Project of a Manifesto) – a programmatic document written in 1941 by the Italian anti-fascists Altiero Spinelli, Eugenio Colorini and Ernesto Rossi. It is one of the most important early programmatic drafts for the European Union. All three were imprisoned together on the island of Ventotene in the Gulf of Gaeta (between Rome and Naples) from around 1939 and secretly wrote the Manifesto on cigarette paper. They managed to smuggle the manifesto out of prison, reproduce it and distribute it in Rome as a leaflet.
Part 1 Königsplatz Munich. On Königsplatz, two performers await passers-by, facing each other in front of the Glyptothek and Antikensammlung, in the middle of the lawns on both sides of the street. They take turns holding up signs on which essential statements of the Ventotene Manifesto are written, which the other person opposite then reads with binoculars and shouts out loud. The two performers thus try to bridge the distance and communicate with each other. The street symbolises a border, the ditch that separates nationalism from federalism, as Altiero Spinelli puts it in the manifesto. It is also the subtle line between a Europe of utopia and political reality. The passers-by are not only encouraged by the performers to listen, but also to join in, to take the binoculars in their hands and read the core statements of the Ventotene Manifesto and exclaim them themselves. Those who are interested can take a copy of the manifesto with them.
Part 2 Kunstraum München, 7 pm. In Kunstraum München on the same evening, directly after the performance, we will roll cigarettes out of the described paper and let Ventotene’s manifesto „go up in smoke“.

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