(It all kicks off after about 1 minute!)

X-Apartments Mannheim was a site-specific project produced by HAU and the Nationaltheater Mannheim for the International Schillertage. Three unique tours through the city of Mannheim were created, each consisting of seven 10-minute performances, events or installations that inhabited and responded to a series of private flats. Our performance would take place at the end of the tour, a finale that would frame and contextualising the experience.

We decided to work inside one of the allotments that can be found bordering the residential area of Schönau, architecturally reminiscent of the houses that can be found at the opposite more affluent end of Schönau where the tour would begin. Allotments function as a form of carefully manicured microcosm, miniature individualised worlds/aspirations, complete with a miniature garden and a miniature house, usually containing a kitchen, veranda, working space, and even a bed. As man-made creations they are experienced or perceived as an ideal, as a place of self-fulfilment, as a get-away or form of escape, and as an alternative, but equally regulated and controlled reality. To many who own an allotment they are utilised as extensions to their apartment.

Together with Connie and Aribert, the owners of the allotment, we developed two performances for X-Apartments Mannheim. ‘The rainbow maker’ took place whenever the sun was shining and ‘Perfect day’ took place after the sun had set, or as an alternative programme for overcast weather.

Perfect day

Our audience were seated under the veranda, looking out onto the lawn where 15 garden sprinklers and 12 garden lights were linked together and positioned symmetrically. Once everybody had settled down a water-sprinkler concert was enacted in the allotment to the sound of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, reminiscent of the famous fountains in Barcelona or Versailles, but charmingly DIY.

The sprinklers were operated using a ‘water-controller’ constructed by Ari that regulated the pressure going through each of the hoses using a series of valves. The choreography was performed by Connie and Kaspar, with Susanne prompting and Ari keeping our guests supplied with tasty fruit punch.

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