Transcript

Running Text
"Function of the Intelligentsia" / "The task of the intelligentsia is to create chaos"/ "The intelligentsia emerges in the place where people are torn from their fields"/ "Lenin while mushroom hunting in the forest"/ "Who in the last 2000 years can say about himself that he didn't fail \--?"
Intertitle
"The Plowshare of Evil" / Heiner Müller on Chaos and the Intelligentsia
Müller
... I recently had a conversation with Schirrmacher ... I thought it quite good ... when he suddenly said to me as if it were a new realization that he's beginning to understand that the Federal Republic disappeared along with the GDR. The West disappeared along with the East. That is interesting.
Kluge
If I understand that correctly, the intelligentsia is an agrarian occupation. It cultivates something. It designates sites for planting, like the cameralists.
Müller
There is a great formulation by Nietzsche: "the plowshare of evil." The plowshare of evil must continually come back again.
Kluge
That is what the intellectuals do. What does the plowshare of evil do?
Müller
It simply has to ...
Kluge
It digs up everything?
Müller
question all illusions
Kluge
simply destroy?
Müller
all coalitions, all alliances
Kluge
destroy them. With the expectation that vibrant new coalitions ...
Müller
...that others emerge out of them. But the task of the intelligentsia is to create chaos, I think. And to disrupt the ideas of order that are always illusory and that always narrow visions.
Kluge
But what would you say about those humanist texts that say that good will prevail: that we now have to guarantee human rights as article one, keep going with article two, and so on. You would see that as being too cautious. You would see that as being too cautious. You would see that as being to cautious.
Müller
Somehow that is nonsense. A question of false expectations really: Who hasn't failed in the last century? The politicians have all always failed at some point. That is their task, to fail.
Kluge
The farmers?
Müller
The farmers are something else. The farmers are not allowed to fail. They have to do their work or else no one has anything to eat.
Kluge
It is possible that they fail in an unfamiliar area. When they are supposed to march into East Prussia...
Müller
Yes, then they fail. ... as Russian farmers, where they didn't want to go ... then they fail. Situated in the right domain, on their own soil, then they don't fail. The problem with the failure of the intellectuals has to do with the fact that they have left their domain, probably.
Kluge
There is another example that you gave about a Russian general who flies around in his plane and carries nuclear weaponry with him and says that he has converted to Islam. What kind of case is that? That is also a kind of imaginary point.
Müller
Unfortunately, I don't know much more than what you just said. A former airforce general or commander, who is now flying in a private plane around the world, that is what was reported in Le Monde, with atomic bombs on board. And as a Muslim, which he has now become, or has become again, he wants to help his Muslim brothers in Bosnia, and he wants to fly to Washington so that they help his Muslim brothers, but always with the threat of his bombs on board.
Kluge
So that in a sense ...
Müller
... it is also a release of insanity, of chaos.
Kluge
We basically always used to think that the trace elements of reason that are scattered around the world would someday bring the Enlightenment. And now one could say that ...
Müller
... the trace elements of chaos ...
Kluge
... the trace elements of chaos, yes, perhaps will bring the Enlightenment after all.
Müller
I think so. At some point you have to find something that goes against it.
Kluge
Yes.
Müller
I can describe it to you with a personal example. I was asked by the Frankfurter Rundschau to write an article about Rostock. I don't know if you have read it.
Kluge
No. What did you write?
Müller
It was in the Rundschau. And then there was immediately commentary about it coming from the editors. That I was joining the ranks of the blood suckers, i.e., Heinz Bohrer und Biermann and so on ... it is not important at all, but ...
Kluge
That you are a part of that?
Müller
Yes, yes. It was also ... it was actually only an attempt not to understand something that I wrote. For example, that the best description of the Yugoslavian problem, the Yugoslavian war, is Weekend by Godard. That is Yugoslavia. He described it very precisely. And I saw this film in Paris - that is how the text begins - in a small cinema in Saint Germain. Three Americans were sitting there and me.
Kluge
When did you see it?
Müller
That was seven or eight years ago ...
Kluge
So it was relatively recent.
Müller
About eight years.
Kluge
It was made much earlier of course. It was made in the 60's.
Müller
I saw it earlier and then in Paris again. And there were these three Americans there and me, and no one else. And the Yugoslavian war had many more spectators. That is in itself a problem. But the best description is Weekend. Or a story like the one that was told to me by a Yugoslavian: the men in Belgrade go to Bosnia for the weekend to do some shooting. It is normal. It is Weekend. And I think that in the end the only thing that is left for you - that is actually want I wanted to tell you - when I think now about Brigitte and that she is having a child and that it is my child, then I am confronted by the question, all of these end-times scenarios, which one can describe very well, and they are also completely logical and make sense, but how can you explain that to a child? And then I could think of nothing more than saying that this loneliness is perhaps hope. That one is lonely with this question and alone.
Kluge
What do you mean by that?
Müller
With the question of how you explain it to your child. This situation, the entire state of the world ... how do you explain this state of affairs to a child? And you are alone with this question. You have to find something yourself.
Kluge
You are right about that.
Müller
How do you explain it to your child?
Kluge
You are very right about that.
Müller
And maybe this loneliness is hope. Something has to occur to you. Yet the whole thing is totally irrational.
Kluge
That would be your impulse with an eye towards 2014 ... that we have not only 2014, but also 1914. Have I understood that correctly?
Müller
Yes, exactly.
Kluge
Then you will meet your child... but only... after a certain number of years.
Müller
Yes, exactly. But in that future my child will ask me.
Intertitle
"I like Chaos / but I don't know whether Chaos likes me - " / Plans in the Berlin Ensemble
Kluge
If you take the Berliner Ensemble as your starting point: what are you planning there? That is quite an auratic place.
Müller
Yes. What I am planning there is very simple. I want to see my plays staged there. It is totally private, totally egotistical. I think it is not only egotistical because I think that it is very important that one has a place - also a theater - where history is worked through, and a theater that doesn't just have repertory production, that doesn't just sell products for the day, what is timely. And that is the idea. That assumes that performances are done ensuite, that one doesn't do repertory production. It is all unbelievably difficult. It goes against all German structures, against all German theater structures ... it is definitely very difficult. But I think that it is very important that one asserts the theater as a place for writing history. That is actually the concept.
Kluge
Can you imagine having two departments: one does history writing, the other the scientific production of scandals?
Müller
Yes, absolutely. Sure.
Kluge
Would you have to privatize the second half for that?
Müller
It is being privatized. That is the precondition for it. Whether we are successful with it is unfortunately to a large extent a question of money. But that is the idea. One project I imagine for it is the following: there is a director from Vienna, whom you don't know, Joseph Seidert, who has just staged The Hamlet Machine in Tokyo. And it is definitely a very terroristic staging. I haven't seen it; I know other works of his. Sometimes it lasts twelve hours, at other times a half hour. And it was apparently a provocation for the Japanese, also a sensation. And I would like for him to have an opportunity for example. This is an old idea of mine: there is a bar or a nightclub, and Stalin is standing behind the bar, making cocktails, drinks. The waiter is Lenin.
Kluge
As a barkeeper?
Müller
He is the barkeeper. The waiter is Lenin. Then there is a woman who does a striptease. That is Rosa Luxemburg. And then a man is sitting there - he is Marat. And then there is a young audience. And at some point Marat is stabbed by a girl because she wants to hear particular music. And Marat doesn't like it.
Kluge
And after that the plot begins that lasts 300 years.
Müller
But what interests me about it is that one doesn't write anything but rather the director develops something, with actors or alone, as you like, working only with original texts, i.e., Lenin speaks only Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg speaks only Rosa Luxemburg, Stalin speaks only Stalin, and so on. And that has to be possible in theater.
Kluge
At one point in a poem ... you brought Napoleon and Lenin together in a poem, although you never claimed in any way that they had anything to do with each other at all. They are such different characters; Lenin was never Bonapartistic, but you once implied that the famous man, the founder of a state and the founder of a system, the great politician is actually a monument during his life, and screamed his motto.
Müller
What I say is "NAPOLEON FOR EXAMPLE cried when/ In Wagram his guard fled over their own wounded." At that point he didn't cry yet. He cried because of the next lines.
Kluge and Müller
"As the wounded cried VIVE L'EMPEREUR."
Kluge
That means, because it perseveres. Because he is somehow for a second more valuable than he is.
Müller
Exactly, that is when he cried.
Kluge
He cried in shame.
Müller
Yes, yes. Maybe not ashamed, maybe flattered. One can also cry because one is flattered. He actually cried in this battle because his marshal, Lannes, lost his leg. And here is this leg wound: a smashed, mushy bone. That could also be a false report.
Kluge
False as well. Maybe he didn't cry at all?
Müller
No, he probably cried because he was touched that they still had this triumphant cheer for him.
Kluge
Now this poem has a ...
Müller
And he cried out of narcissism.
Kluge
Out of sentiment.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
And now there is a farewell song here.
Müller
With Lenin, yes. "LENIN hunting rabbits, guided/ By his driver. No other accompaniment./ That was his vacation./ Lenin met a farmer, who was walking through the forest/ Looking for mushrooms. Lenin abandoned his hunt./ The old man complained about the Soviet power/ In the village Far and Wide still/ Much talk, little flour. Mushrooms also scarce." That point is important, because anytime things failed to work ...
Kluge
... the state was responsible.
Müller
... even when fewer mushrooms grew, the party was responsible for it. Even when it rained at the wrong time, it was the party. "He laughed as Lenin wrote down his complaints/ The village, names and mistakes of comrades./ He had already complained once. Not twice." I don't have to explain that. It's clear. "Who are we. If you were Lenin for example And Lenin was a man like you who listened/ One could believe that it would be different/ But you are not Lenin and things stay the same."
Running Text
"Function of the Intelligentsia" / "The task of the intelligentsia is to create chaos"/ "The intelligentsia emerges in the place where people are torn from their fields"/ "Napoleon nach der Schlacht von Wagram"/
Intertitle
"The Plowshare of Evil" /