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I Love You, Goodbye – HAU 1, Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany

I Love You, Goodbye
I Love You, Goodbye – (c) Gob Squad

How could you say Ich liebe dich, when you never actually understood my culture?

At midnight on the 29th of March 2019, the United Kingdom will officially leave the European Union. This is true at the time we are writing this, but anything could happen and as is the way of the world at the moment, none of us really knows what is going to happen next.

Gob Squad is a German/British group that came into being through meeting on university exchanges in the nineties. You could say they are the children of the European dream. They have decided it is time to reflect on the two sides of midnight.

On March 29th between 7pm and 1am literally as the UK leaves the EU, Gob Squad present I Love You, Goodbye. A one-night-only exploration of everything it means to the company to be European and what its reaction is to the UK’s departure, as it happens.

We are products of history, you and I. We are the outcome of decisions made in special councils, debating chambers, bedrooms and boardrooms. Pledged to be wed before we had even laid eyes on each other, like royal houses that after centuries of fighting, marry off their children to each other (Hannover, Wetting, Windsor and Saxe Coburg). In the name of “Never Again” it was our destiny to be together.

When we met at the university exchange, you and I, we both ended up sitting together in the identity politics class where it was love at first sight. We believed it was us that were making the choices, that we were in the driving seat. All the choices that we made, we saw as part of who we were rather than some prearranged destiny.

Your exotic ways were novel, your knowledge of foreign language films and your wild desire to get naked anywhere was both shocking and exciting. You loved my sense of humour and my cheap taste in fashion… Oh and your accent! Our differences gave us decades of amusement and fascination.

In fact on the subject of language, what does the word Schadenfreude/ Heimat precisely mean?

But in the mean time, history moved on, and everything changed behind our backs…

Gob Squad is a seven-headed monster, an arts collective with seven bosses. Gob Squad has a schizophrenic identity and a multiple split personality: hermaphrodite, binational and bilingual, both a patchwork family and a social utopia. Gob Squad has been devising, directing and performing together since 1994, working where theatre meets art, media and real life.

For over 20 years, Gob Squad has been searching for new ways to combine media and performance, producing stage shows, video installations, radio plays, interactive live films and urban interventions. The use of audio and video technology plays a prominent role in their work, with the result that alienated forms of intimacy have become a central theme. They try to scratch beneath the shiny, pixelated surface of the 21st century, seeking out the dark corners and hidden desires of contemporary culture.

Always on the hunt for beauty amidst the mundane, they place their work at the heart of urban life: in houses, shops, underground stations, car parks, hotels or directly on the street, as well as in theatres and galleries. Everyday life and magic, banality and idealism, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course and the unpredictable results are captured on video.

Motivated by a desire to elevate the every day and empower audience members to step beyond their traditional role as passive spectators, Gob Squad set up often absurdly utopian scenarios where meaningful collective experience and genuine encounters involving passers-by and audience members are suddenly possible. Audiences seem to like the feeling that anything might happen during an evening with Gob Squad. They might be asked to dance, sing or even kiss one of the performers. They might play guitar in a band, play the part of a lover or liberator in a semi-improvised film, or be asked to explain the complexities of the world to an unknown future. Or they might just simply be asked to sit and bear witness to the organised chaos unfolding on stage before them.

Gob Squad was founded in 1994, whilst its members were still at Nottingham Trent and Giessen universities. Berlin has been the group’s creative home since 1999. Core members are Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost and Simon Will. Other artists are invited to collaborate on particular projects. The group is managed by Eva Hartmann.

I Love You, Goodbye.
HAU 1, Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany


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