Under the Sign of Mars

Character Armor and Mobile War

23 Jan 1994
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller


This "music magazine" is a montage of visually alienated historical film clips of tanks and soldiers (First and Second World War), pictorial reminiscences of Russian avant-garde art, and excerpts of interviews with Heiner Müller accompanied by heavy metal music (the "death & grind" music of the groups Abhorrence, Acrostichon, Toxaemia, and Disgrace).

Müller attributes his own fascination with tanks to a subjective need for armor and to the appeal of speed. He first came into contact with tanks as a young "werewolf" who learned to operate a bazooka at the end of the Second World War. Müller defines tanks as "speed, protection, and imprisonment."

Asked for a literary analogy to the tank, Müller mentions Coriolan, Shakespeare's last tragedy. Brecht's adaptation of this material (1952/53) failed as a result of Brecht's lack of understanding for the fact that Coriolan's tank-like armor was "cracked" by one of his mother's speeches. "Women do not need armor" (Müller). The last five minutes of the program contain a montage of impressive pictures of historically significant tanks like the Little Willie (1916), the Mother (1917), the T 34, and the Tiger (among others), moving and in battle, accompanied by death & grind music.