After the fall of the Berlin Wall, “the East” was intended to quickly become a functioning part of Germany’s national economy. Shock therapies were prescribed, including the largest ad hoc privatization of state-owned enterprises in the world. Meanwhile, the dispossessed were called on to make particular use of certain body parts, especially their elbows: these were to be conspicuously extended, as a sign of a successful appropriation of the individualism by which the free market economy swears. What could be called the elbow principle was supposed to come into play everywhere, be it in job centers or in basements that had been turned into undercover stores. Following this call, some succeeded, others failed. The theater-makers Johanna-Yasirra Kluhs and Tanja Krone give these people their say: many-voiced narratives of the economic realities in the post-unification period emerge, running counter to the official historiography written by the West as a success story of liberalism.
This video talk is part of the Berliner Gazette’s BLACK BOX EAST project. More info and more video talks: blackboxeast.berlinergazette.de
The video was produced in the Berliner Gazette’s office in autumn 2021 in accordance with the current Covid-19 regulations.
Here you can read a German-language text written by Johanna-Yasirra Kluhs and Tanja Krone for the BLACK BOX EAST text series: berlinergazette.de/das-ellenbogenprinzip