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Image: Thomas Aurin
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Attaistic art

Right in time for the 1998 German elections, Christoph Schlingensief's decision to found his own party with the futuristic-sounding name CHANCE2000 marks the artist's most high-profile attempt yet to unite his art and life.

CHANCE 2OOO probes the rules of a party election campaign, using democratic instruction manuals to explain to independents, for example, how to run for the German parliament with a minimum of red tape; at the same time, CHANCE 2OOO exposes the culture of political devices by promising nothing - its own ploy for addressing the masses.

"Action, action, action!" is the motto. All those involved share an interest in making "politics artistic and art political". The LAST CHANCE PARTY is as such not a purely political act, but a part of quintessentially Schlingensiefean performance art. Deeds are what count, or, as Schlingensief demands: "Go on and do something! It doesn't matter what."

Campaign flyer, 1998 (Flyer: Katrin Schoof; Photo: Thomas Aurin)

He has now expanded his sphere of action, however, pushing his plan for greater audience participation from film to theatre and onward into the political arena. No longer participants in the production (film), no longer part of the action (theatre), those involved are now to take their own drama to the stage and therefore to life: "Prove that you exist!"

CHANCE 2OOO evolves into a stage play that is in every regard a no-limits production, in which everybody can take part - provided you "play" yourself, are willing to investigate your own self, which represents the accomplishment of the first step, i.e. proof of your own existence. The party motto - "Vote for yourself!" - is more than a call to stand for a seat in parliament; it is also an appeal for greater self-confidence in one's words and deeds.

CHANCE 2000 performance "Baden im Wolfgangsee" (Image: TV-Still)

The lack of direction, which should not be confused with a lack of orientation, is a fundamental principle and should leave no doubts as to the serious nature of CHANCE 2OOO's agenda. It sees itself as a reservoir, as the smallest common denominator of all (self-proclaimed) marginals and makes a commitment to disadvantaged members of society - a logical continuation of Schlingensief performances at the documenta X in Kassel, the BAHNHOFSMISSION and the incorporation of disabled people and the unemployed in his film and theatre projects: "Being unemployed also means being a job-seeker, an archaeologist of our time. This constitutes a professional group, and it must be recognised as such. It will be one of the most popular professions of the future."

Gleichwohl betont diese "neue Form der Selbstorganisation, ein hierarchisches Netzwerk" ihre Ideologielosigkeit und beugt der Gefahr vor, als Konsumangebot oder Erlösungsphantasie missverstanden zu werden: "CHANCE2000 bist du selber, bist du und du und du und ich."Nevertheless, this "new form of self-organisation, a hierarchical network" emphasises its doctrinelessness and avoids the danger of being misunderstood as a vehicle of passive occupation or an imaginary source of salvation; CHANCE2000 is you yourself, it's you and you and you and me."

CHANCE 2000 on the '98 election campaign (Image: Schlingensief)

CHANCE 2OOO at the same time marks a point of intersection for all of Schlingensief's areas of activity. His weekly shopping trips to Berlin's KaDeWe department store with a continually growing number of unemployed people, welfare recipients, disabled individuals and other qualified disqualified people, for example, are documented on video; the WAHLKAMPFZIRKUS '98 at the Prater theatre in Berlin is a play billed as a party congress in eighteen parts, with a different programme each night in similar style to SCHLACHT UM EUROPA. Meanwhile, a host of TV appearances see Schlingensief finally return to the small screen after TALK 2OOO.

CHANCE 2000 on the '98 election campaign (Image: Schlingensief

Schlingensief's quest to confront art with reality reaches its climax on political terrain, a field of professionalized production: "The focus is on the individual. This refers not to the abstract notion, but to the concrete, mortal individuals who deal with their daily routine and do what they can to cash in society's promise of bourgeois happiness." The unfathomable mass of thoughts, mottos, manifestos, speeches, draft programmes and instruction manuals enjoys a likewise inescapable echo in sections of the (print) media in the shape of Schlingensief interviews, articles and comments; the www.chance2000.com website is set up as a party platform and an amply used discussion forum. As such, CHANCE 2OOO stands almost automatically for transparency, curiosity, desire and a willingness to take action, i.e. for the state of permanent movement with which Schlingensief attempts in each performance to counter the danger of inertia.

CHANCE 2000 on the '98 election campaign in Berlin (Image: Aurin)

CHANCE 2000 - events and performances

Wahlkampfzirkus '98
by Christoph Schlingensief / Circus Sperlich
Director: Christoph Schlingensief
Premiere: 13.3.1998 Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin

Cast: Adriana Almeida, Uwe Altmann, Christoph Backes, Horst Betzien, Sepp Bierbichler, Alfred Biolek, Bettina Blümner, Werner Brecht, Caroline Brenner, Georg Buchmann, Stefan Corinth, Susanne Ehlers, Horst Fahrnschon, Valentin Fastabend, Freie Klasse, Bernd Frank, Ilse Garzaner, Kurt Garzaner, Mario Garzaner, Alexander Grassek, Kerstin Grassman, Carl Hegemann, Kirsten Hemeyer, Wolfgang Joop, Christoph Jungermann, Karl-Heinz Kajahn, Brigitte Kausch, Klaus Koal, Robert Koall, Ulrike Köhler, Kaspar König, Jürgen Kolb, Doretta Kraatz, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Jürgen Kuttner, Lukas Langhoff, Matthias Lilienthal, LSD, Marc Marcowski, Astrid Meyerfeldt, Henning Nass, Sirkka Neumann, Achim von Paczensky, Helga Paczensky, Stefan Pelz, Ilona Pohl, Sascha Quednau, Joachim Rang, Birgit Reif. Jutta Rommel, Christoph Schlingensief, Harald Schmidt, Ulrich Schneider, Wilfried Schober, Katrin Schoof, Dieter Schubert, Ilka Schulz, Hans-Hermann Schulze, Bernhard Schütz, Slothrop, Edwina Sperlich, Florina Sperlich, Georgia Sperlich, Gerd Sperlich, Janina Sperlich, Robert Sperlich, Severin Spieß, Barbara Steiner, Jörg Sternberg, Sandra Umathum, Susanna Vierling, Susanne Walter, Nina Wetzel, Volker Wörrlein, Martin Wuttke = 74 Volk

Wahlkampf in Deutschland (Election campaign in Germany)
1.6. - 31.7.1999
Election events all over Germany, for example in the Theaterhaus Stuttgart and the Vorderhaus Freiburg

Cast: Christoph Schlingensief, Henning Nass, Julian Kamphausen, Nina Wetzel, Carl Hegemann, Achim von Paczensky, Helga Stöwhase, Werner Brecht u.v.a.

Baden im Wolfgangsee
2.8.1998 St. Gilgen, Wolfgangsee
Performance with Christoph Schlingensief and friends at Helmut Kohl's holiday location.

Cast: Werner Brecht, Martin Wuttke, Carl Hegemann, Julian Kamphausen, Susanna Vierling,Christoph Schlingensief, Nina Wetzel, Henning Nass, Jörg Diernberger, Hans-Jörg Schütz, Bettina Blümner, Achim von Paczensky, Karin Nissen, Katrin Schoof, Ilka Schulz, Sandra Umathum, Anselm Franke, Familie Garzahners u.v.a.

"Tour des Verbrechens" Wahlkampftournee von CHANCE 2000 (election campaign)
Cast: Werner Brecht, Kerstin Grassmann, Achim von Paczensky, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Carl Hegemann, Christoph Schlingensief, Nina Wetzel, Julian Kamphausen, Henning Nass, Ilka Schulz; guests: Artur Albrecht and Margit Carstensen

10.-12.9.98 Bregenz, Transmitter Festival; 14.9.98 Schauspielhaus Leipzig; 16.9.98 Bonn / Köln / Wuppertal; 17.9.98 Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main; 19.9.98 Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg; 21.9.98 Marstall München; 24.9.98 Kulturfabrik Hildesheim; 25.9.98 Ballhof Hannover;

Wahldebakel ´98
27.9.1998 Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Cast: Bernhard Schütz, Astrid Meyerfeld, Sophie Rois, Achim von Paczensky, Werner Brecht, Christoph Schlingensief, Kerstin Grassmann, Familie Sperlich, Henning Nass, Carl Hegemann and all CHANCE 2000 activists.

CHANCE 2000 campaign convention (Image: Thomas Aurin)

Additional information on CHANCE 2000

- CHANCE 2000 Gallery - Pictures from CHANCE 2000 events and performances
- CHANCE 2000 National Association Baden-Württemberg - Party Website
- "Totally confusing supposed unambiguities" - by Marion Löhndorf, Kunstforum
- It's not going - biography by the Guggenheim Museum New York (1998)
- Christoph Schlingensief - A biography by Till Briegleb, Goethe Institut
- Schlingensief.com German - Further information is available in german only

Wahlkampfzirkus '98
by Schlingensief / Circus Sperlich
Director: Christoph Schlingensief
Premiere: 13.3.1998 Volksbühne Berlin

Wahlkampf in Deutschland
1.6. - 31.7.1999
With the CHANCE 2000 bus performances all over Germany, for example in Stuttgart and Freiburg

Baden im Wolfgangsee
2.8.1998 St. Gilgen, Wolfgangsee
Performance with Christoph Schlingensief and friends at Helmut Kohls holiday location.

"Tour des Verbrechens"
CHANCE 2000 election campaign
10.9.-25.9.1998, diverse locations all over Germany

Wahldebakel ´98
27.9.1998 Volksbühne Berlin
Director: Christoph Schlingensief

Additional information

- Picture Gallery
- CHANCE 2000 Trailers

External web sites

- CHANCE 2000 BW

Related projects

- Hotel Prora
- Passion Impossible
- Steirischer Herbst