Over a period of 100 hours in the museum’s Historische Halle , Bruguera will be staging a collective reading from the book The Origins of Totalitarianism by the political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906–75).
Taking place over four days and nights, from 7 pm, 7 February 2024 to 11 pm, 11 February 2024, readers and the public will draw on Arendt’s history and theory of totalitarianism – a work that continues to be of the utmost relevance today – to explore central aspects of our social life and collectively think about notions of freedom and democracy, authoritarianism and populism, political thought and power relations.
The Historische Halle of the museum will remain open to the public during the entire 100-hour performance, without interruptions.
Bruguera first carried out this performance in May of 2015 at her home in Havana (Cuba), while she was under house arrest as a result of political pressure.
From her living room, Brueguera and around 50 other people read continuously from Arendt’s major work for 100 hours, in an expression of their shared opposition to state censorship and repression.
The reading was broadcast on the streets via loudspeakers. The readers analysed and discussed Arendt’s text together with the public. Cuban authorities reacted by deploying construction brigades in front of her house to drown out the reading with jack hammers.
The reading ended with Brugueras being arrested by Cuban authorities and detained for several hours.
In the wake of this performance and together with a group of Cuban artists and activists, Bruguera founded the INSTAR – Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt. In 2021, Bruguera and INSTAR were awarded the Arnold-Bode-Preis by the city of Kassel and took part in documenta fifteen.
For the first European staging of “Where Your Ideas Become Civic Actions (100 Hours Reading The Origins of Totalitarianism)” at Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Bruguera will adapt the piece to the local context, in terms of spatial, political and social aspects.
The exhibition is curated by Alice Koegel, curator at Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart.
The exhibition was made possible by the Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung.
- A special exhibition by the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin