Bruce LaBruce rehearses «ULRIKE'S BRAIN»

Parallel to the congress the Canadian director Bruce LaBruce rehearsed scenes for a new film in an adjacent hall. This provided us with a unique opportunity to watch the discussions, thought processes and the states of exhaustion emerging from the conceptual dialogues needed for creating a drastic visual world before they, projected onto the big screen, affect us as insight, shock and seduction. “Ulrike’s Brain” was a five-hour live event, made of working on scenes, the viewing of raw material and film screenings which conference participants could attend.

“Ulrike’s Brain” is based on a true story. Following the death of the leading figures of the RAF, Ulrike Meinhof, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe, in Stammheim prison in 1976/77, the neuropathologist and forensic scientist Dr. Jürgen Peiffer from the University of Tübingen performed autopsies on their brains. For two decades Ulrike Meinhof’s brain was kept in the basement of an archive in Tübingen. In 1997 it was sent secretly in cardboard box for further examinations with more up-to-date methods to Bernhard Bogerts, the director of the university clinic in Magdeburg. Both physicians came to the conclusion in their secret studies that in the case of Ulrike Meinhof a causality exists “between changes in the brain and the acts of terror betraying a loss of reality”, the result of an operation performed to remove a benign tumor in 1962, findings that lead them to doubt her criminal responsibility. Ulrike’s brain was first buried with her remains in 2002, 26 years after her funeral. The whereabouts of the brains of the other three RAF members remain unknown down to the present day.

At the interface between narrative fiction, scholarly investigation and cryonics, Bruce LaBruce and his team work on a plot made up of secretive facts and visions. Live on stage: Susanne Sachsse, LaBruce’s companion, who has demonstrated her brilliance in the performance “The Bad Breast” or in films such as Otto; or Up with Dead People and The Raspberry Reich, where she plays Gudrun, an activist in a Berlin terror cell. The rehearsal room was a set in the spirit of Warhol’s Factory: installation and happening – social interactions, discussions and parties were expressly desired.

With: Jonathan Johnson, Susanne Sachsse, Stefan Sandrock, Saskia Timm
Camera: Heiko Alberti, Bernd Schoch
Costume: Katja-Inga Baldowski
Make-up: Maria Trifu
Special make-up: Kim May
(mainly in English and broken English)