The city comes to a standstill. People pause, get up, fall into silence. Lessons are interrupted in schools and universities, shop owners stop selling, assembly lines in factories come to a halt as well as cars, busses, tramlines…
It was this image that Yael Bartana had in her mind when she called upon all citizens of Cologne to symbolically interrupt daily life on June 28, 2013, 11 am. Two Minutes of Standstill – inspired by the Israeli Holocaust memorial day Yom HaShoah – was a political act, a social sculpture, and a collective performance at the same time. A ritual as well as a public discourse.
This book provides insight into the realization of Two Minutes of Standstill, documents the event, and analyzes the complicated preparations as well as the often very polemic resistance against the project. But it also takes a broader view and uses the artist’s work as an opportunity to reflect on the role of history, memory, and commemoration for the present. The essays focus on the gap between the official narrative of history and the hidden agenda of institutionalized tradition, while investigating the opposition between commemoration carved in stone and performatively bringing to life not only historical events but also visions of the future.
Florian Malzacher in conversation with Frank Raddatz on Two Minutes of Standstill
With contributions by Yael Bartana, Christina von Braun, Boris Buden, Galit Eilat, Florian Malzacher, Ihab Saloul, Stefanie Wenner.