Berlinfever – Wolf Vostell
A happening documentary by Ulrike Ottinger
“ADA - Aktionen der Avantgarde“ was the umbrella title for a group that came together at short notice in 1973 at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein to create a model for experimental art events. ADA was based on the idea of superseding traditional forms of exhibition. ADA would not be conceived by ‘organisers’ but by artists. ADA would not be anything fixed, that would be ready for the public on the opening day and be served up unchanged for another four or five weeks.” (Jörn Merkert, Ursula Prinz)
The artist Wolf Vostell takes part in the first edition of the event series ADA with his environment “Auto-Fieber” and the happening “Berlin-Fieber”.
Happening for Ada 1
A) Take your car to Osdorfer Strasse in Berlin Lichterfelde (dead end), the last part of the street on the right.
B) Line up with your car in rows of 10, as close as possible with the car side by side and one behind the other.
C) At a sign, all cars start at the same time and try to drive as slowly as possible. Also try to stay as close behind and next to the other vehicles.
D) If you have companions in the car, they should write down how many times you shift, engage and accelerate. If you are alone in the car, try to be aware of every little action. In your brain, add all of these activities together as psycho-aesthetic production.
E) After 30 minutes of slowest driving, get out of the car (switch off the engine) and go to the trunk of your vehicle, there open and close the trunk
750 times and 375 times put a white plate in it and take it out 375 times. This ritual should be realized as quickly as possible and without interruption, even without the drama of acting.
F) Once this event has taken place, place fabric on the ground in front of the car column, put your white plate from the trunk of your car on the fabric.
G) Take a handful of salt from a sack under the tallest nearby tree. Place this handful of salt on the plate that you previously placed on the cloth.
H) Then the convoy starts up again, again at the slowest speed. All cars cross the cloths with the plates and the salt.
I) Lick the hand in which you previously had the salt during the entire trip.
J) Now the engines are switched off again. Everyone sews the plate they have run over (or the remains) onto the nettle cloth. A bar is also attached at the top, as well as wire for hanging.
K) Everyone now goes to the tree with their cloth (where the sack of salt is). Everyone decides where in the tree his cloth with the sewn-on plate should hang. His cloth is attached to the tree using a skylift.
L) Everyone attaches the note with the recordings about domes, shifting, accelerating etc. in the trunk with the tape.
M) With your next fever, first take the note from the trunk of the car and tear it up.
N) 3 days after the happening "Auto Fever" you meet with Vostell at the Akademie der Künste for a conversation at 6:00 p.m. Write down your dreams of these 3 days and bring these notes with you to the conversation.
Vostell, September 14, 1973, Berlin
Environment for Ada 1
Cadillac "Sedan", 2000 plates, eight motors, two sickles, ten sledgehammers, six rakes, body, hair.
Technical installation: Werner Munk
Action for audience: After you return home from the environment, measure your temperature. Write them down on a piece of paper with the date and time. Place these records on a plate, add salt, and place the plate on the balcony or window until your next strong fever. Then destroy the plate.
“Driving a car is psycho aesthetics.” (Wolf Vostell)