Habbakuk   (de|en) 

Peter Behrbohm and Anton Steenbock
intervention / performance
made possible with Help of the Theaterhaus Jena
photography: Markus Bühler and Vincci Ong
Jena, April - June 2018

Part I - monitoring station
metal garage, wood , coniferes, antennas, hammocks, radar, radio device, surveillance cameras, loudspeaker, periscope, flag
6,0 x 6,0 x 8,0m

Teil II - observation vehicle
aluminum, wood, stone grout, caterpillar drive, motors, accumulators, tractor seats
2,3 x 3,0 x 1,6m


Under the guise of a regular German double garage a monitoring station is erected overnight. With the help of various instruments on the rooftop (a periscope, cameras, microphones, smart devices, radar and radio device, ...) any activities of the surrounding environment are recorded and evaluated by experts on a terminal inside. A vehicle disguised as a pile of sand and emitting loud pidgeons currs leaves the garage every day to conduct inconspicuous observation rides within the neighborhood.

A one-storey building recently appeared near the theater of Jena. It is so inconspicuous, you almost missed it. But something is not right. The house reminds the passersby of both - a double garage and a transformer house or even a research station. Spray plaster, flat roof, six by six meters. To one side two large shutters, on the roof strange objects. Are these antennas? Head over - the flag of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the inside, there is an excited babble of voices, sometimes it seems as if someone behind the tin walls works until the night without ceasing. Gearhead? Small gardener? Terrorists? Glaciologists? Who are they and what are they doing in there? Has the pretty front yard been there already yesterday? This building seems to breed.

Suddenly a heap causes unrest in the city. Various people claim to have seen a small sand pit at different times of the day, which clandestinely moves through the city.

 

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“He sneakes a few meters, then he stops behind the corner of the house as if nothing had happened,” says a local resident. Others report loud pidgeon calls in the pedestrian zone, that seem to derrive from a small mountain. What on earth is he planning to do, the heap, and why did he choose Jena?

In 1998, there have already been some noises coming from another garage in the suburbs of Jena. Inside - two gentlemen and a young woman were working on a box, which they set off a little later at night in front of the theater of the city, exactly where we set up the strange building exactly 20 years later, half surveillance station, half double garage.The box turned out to be a bomb, missing a detonator. As police officers storm their garage in 1998, the bomb makers go underground. Under observation and strange protection of the V-agents of the constitutional protection they begin to murder foreigners throughout Germany in the following years. When they blew their cover the group becomes known internationally as “National Socialist Underground”.

Habbakuk plays with references to suburban Germany as well as its recent history. While all its elements are dangerously ordinary. they act against  expectation and raise questions. What else might be happening in German basements and garages? Which dangers poses what is closest to us? Who does clandestinely take care of my safety? Can I trust them? Should I take care or rather be thankful? Does this world slowly militarize? The hypernormal architecture leaves the passersby in the dark.

 

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top view
    
       monitoring station - view from south   details: rooftop instruments (radar, loudspeaker, radio transmitter, anti-climb-paint)       monitoring station - view from north
           monitoring station - interior view       officers on patrol at the periscope

                            undercover operation in the streets of Jena

         

 

   
 
     

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