EVERYTHING MUST GO – Things and Beings Leave the Archive

Mobile Academy Berlin

Will we be forgotten or will we have forgotten?
In the post-revolutionary museum, the immobilized things and beings from colonial contexts finally leave their European waiting rooms. The Mobile Akademie Berlin follows the upcoming process of clearing museum archives and tests the option of the empty museum in several model proposals. Archivophagic practices are presented while practical exercises offer guidance for acclimating to the coming emptiness.

Die Triage (The Triage). How can European archives and museums be emptied?

The Triage. Object 187: Dodo, video, 25 min, 2022

The Natural History Museum Berlin is currently digitizing all its holdings: 30 million objects. In the newly established Bureau du Triage des Objets (object inspection office) a three-member tribunal convenes to decide if their physical counterparts

  • should remain in the archives and museums
  • must be re-contextualized
  • must be destroyed immediately

The tribunal consists of the director of a Natural History Museum, the curator of a Museum of World Cultures and the theorist of a Post-Revolutionary Museum who exchange arguments.


Béhanzin, video, 2 min, 2022

The progressing digitization of museum collections does not create space, but rather a millionfold digital duplication of objects. The physical originals remain on hold while their digital duplicates become part of huge, energy-guzzling data archives that extend compulsive hoarding into the digital without producing new narratives. As part of the international research network New Digital Narratives, the Mobile Academy Berlin is currently working on the infiltration of European film archives by digital duplicates of museum artefacts. After its pending return to the Republic of Benin, the statue of King Béhanzin (currently on display at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris) will appear in the film Playtime by Jacques Tati (1968).

Objektwerdung (Becoming Object). Guided exercise with a corpse actor: Part 1 & Part 2

Part 1 Becoming Object, video, 8 min, 2013/ 2022
Part 2 Concert, 30 min, 26.03.2022

Collecting mania and objectophilia refer to a deep European fear of death without afterlife and the horror of final objectification as a European corpse without afterlife. In this video, Susanne Sachsse offers a preparatory exercise in objectification for museum visitors.

The second part is a forensic meditation that will be performed by the Swedish black metal band Death, Destruction & Dodos at HKW on March 26.

The Whole Life, told by one person

The Whole Life, told by one person, video, 180 min, 2022
Narrator: Arjun Appadurai. Listener: Antonia Alampi

Which stories and whose stories will be heard in the empty museum of the future? The Whole Life, told by one person is a biographic experimental arrangement that the Mobile Academy Berlin has been documenting irregularly since 2004. In a performance in front of a live audience, a person attempts to tell their entire life story to a listener in 3-4 hours. There are few dramaturgical rules, chronological narration is only one possible choice, while cartographic overviews or deep drilling are just as welcome as silence. The listener is not an interviewer; she follows the narrative with evenly suspended attention. The recording is archived unedited, available in HKW’'s Mediathek.

Der Schredder (The Shredder)

Performance and concert, 90 min, 2022
March 26, 8 pm
With Markus Öhrn with Death, Destruction & Dodos

It rattles, it crushes, it smacks. The shredder is a gut with teeth that disposes of the archives: incorporation, metabolization, transition. The shredder offers a public exercise of loss that infects all the archive’s holdings and discourses. The people of Berlin are leading the way, bringing their memorabilia to HKW and handing them over to the shredder in a collective ceremony. We gather for a public lament and celebrate a non-object-based culture of memory. The public lament will be staged with the contemporary form of European requiem: black metal. Afterwards, the shredder will reach its final destination in the Lustgarten between Altes Museum and Humboldt Forum.

Die Triage. Objekt 187: Dodo, video, 25 min, 2022
Béhanzin, video, 2 min, 2022
Objektwerdung, video, 8 min, 2013/ 2022
The Whole Life, told by one person, 240 min, 2022
The Schredder with Markus Öhrn with Death, Destruction & Dodos, performance and concert, 90 min, 2022


Concept & Script: Hannah Hurtzig and Marian Kaiser
Scenography: Florian Stirnemann
Ceremony & Concert Markus Öhrn with Death, Destruction & Dodos

With: Antonia Alampi, Arjun Appadurai, Bettina Blickwede, Alisha und Jahmila Bronnert, Alice Chauchat, Monir El-Helwe, Haytham El Wardany, Assaf Gruber, Michael Horn, Susanne Kahl, Miriam Kassens, Benjamin Krieg, Brigitte Kramer, Jelena Kuljic-Knauer, Ingo Kopmann, Tina Pfurr, Hendrik Quast, Simon Roloff, Susanne Sachsse, Benjamin Scabell, Ginan Seidl, Promona Sengupta, Cedrick Tshimbalanga, David Shongo, Christiane Wessely