Impulse Theater Festival

Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mülheim an der Ruhr

4–14 June 2020


One descendant of displaced Germans from Middle and Eastern Europe wants to understand why he barely knows anything about his family history. A personal research project that uses a historical sound recording to shed light on the strategies of techniques of forgetting.

05.06.20 20:00 – 21:00

IN DEUTSCHER SPRACHE + Publikumsgespräch im Chat

07.06.20 18:00 – 19:00

IN ENGLISH + Audience discussion via chat


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© Oliver Zahn
Oliver Zahn_Lob des Vergessens © Oliver Zahn

A number of years ago in the ethnographic sound archive of displaced Germans from Middle and Eastern Europe after the Second World War Oliver Zahn stumbled across a song that has remained with him ever since. In it one displaced German sings of his experiences of displacement, flight and arrival in a new homeland. Oliver Zahn is the grandson and great-grandson of displaced persons but until now he has had little contact with his family’s history. This part of his memory is practically empty, embodying the success of collective strategies of forgetting.

In this online performance he sits at home on his laptop, invisible to the audience, and invites them to join him in a collective attempt to understand how this empty space in his memory was created. It becomes clear that forgetting doesn’t just happen: it is the result of a decision. Is it a warning or a requirement?

LOB DES VERGESSENS, TEIL 2 is a standalone sequel to the stage performance LOB DES VERGESSENS which was invited as a stage performance to the Impulse SHOWCASE.


By and with: Oliver Zahn
Dramaturgy: Felizitas Stilleke


A production by Oliver Zahn in co-operation with GIFT Gateshead. Funded by the Take Care Programme of Fonds Darstellende Künste.


Felizitas Stilleke is a freelance dramaturg and curator. She leads conferences, most recently Branchentreff 2019, works as a dramaturg for festivals (Berliner Theatertreffen 2018, Impulse Theater Festival 2017 under Florian Malzacher, FAVORITEN 2014 with Johanna-Yasirra Kluhs) and operates as a production dramaturg at various venues in NRW and Berlin. In 2018 and 2019 Stilleke was responsible for the emerging artists’ platform ‘Introducing …’ at the Performing Arts Festival Berlin and she is also a member of the advisory committees to Fonds Darstellende Künste and Kunststiftung NRW. She studied German/Education Sciences in Bochum, Cultural Poetics in Münster and ‘Expanded Curation’ at DAS theatre in Amsterdam in 2018/19.

Oliver Zahn's choreographic/discursive essays often revolve around history, nationalism and the body — they are ethnographic, archive-based and include self-experiment. In addition to ‘Situation mit ausgestrecktem Arm’ (on the cultural history of the “Hitler Gruss” gesture) and ‘Situation mit Doppelgänger’ (with Julian Warner, about cultural appropriation in dance, imitation and minstrel shows) he has created ‘Zweiter Versuch über das Turnen’ about German identity and allegiance to “the body of the people” with reference to the history and practice of the German gymnastics movement and most recently ‘Teutona’ and ‘Futur Germania’.