On a square in the middle of the city centre two chairs stand on a red carpet, opposite each other. Somebody sits on one chair, and the people passing by are invited to sit down on the empty chair and to make wordless eye contact. A space of silence and being present is created, and it radiates into the hustle and bustle of the city, into the stress of the goal-oriented and time-limited use of public space, into the metropolitan noise.
This is what happened for the first time as part of this project in October 2018 in Freiburg.
“It was nice to be in eye contact with a person who is simply there, so big there that he is beyond affection and dislike.” – A citizen of Freiburg
This action was inspired by the performance, “The Artist is Present,” by the artist Marina Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 2010, and by the long-standing practice of Transparent Communication according to Thomas Hübl.
This first two-day art-action in Freiburg was very successful and touching. Afterwards, it was clear to the initiators, Axel Perinchery, Martin Bruders, Clara Perinchery and Gary Joplin that they wanted to go further.
The idea was spread through a film, personal contacts and video-conference meetings. This met with great interest and so there was a second round of “The Citizen is Present,” between May and June 2019, in 12 cities in Germany and Switzerland.
Four more cities will follow in July and August. Each city has its own team and organization.
The upcoming dates in July and August 2019:
Bern (Switzerland): July 4 to 6, Kornhausplatz, Thurs 11 am to 9 pm, Fri 10 am to 7 pm, Sat 10 am to 7 pm
La Palma (Canary Island, Spain): Los Llanos, Plaza de España, July 5 and 7, 12 to 6 pm
Witten / Ruhr (Germany): Berliner Platz, July 6, 11 am to 5 pm.
Leipzig (Germany): the place is not fixed yet, August 15 and 16, 10 am to 6 pm, contact: anetteesser63(at)gmail.com
A total of more than 100 people have already participated in this project and the number is growing all the time. They mainly come from the sangha around Thomas Hübl, from the local practice groups for Transparent Communication, from Timeless Wisdom Trainings, and from the Core Group – the group of long-term students of Thomas’s work.
One of the best things for the initiators was that they managed to organize two days at the beginning of May during which the action ran in parallel in five cities. They planned, coordinated, and attuned themselves via joint meetings online, and later also via a Whatsapp group, in which the individual experiences were shared.
Many members of the different teams reported similarly intense and deep experiences. Through this simple human contact, through looking at each other and witnessing each other, one gets more into the here and now, and thus becomes a present part of the public space.
“I am impressed how different it feels to sit on this chair with the intention of the project. It’s like ‘making yourself available’. I experience the energetic support of the field as very powerful! That’s great and leaves me speechless.” – Martin Bruders
Doing something meaningful and reaching out into the public space – that satisfies many of the participants. From this encounter on the two chairs many people came out changed.
“The project has a being, and that is love. How much touch, sympathy, light and connection we were able to experience in a public place fills me with deep gratitude. The practice as a common Sangha gets its expression and we begin to experience the divine effectiveness through us – also in public space.” – Axel Perinchery
The whole thing has sparked off further ideas in the Freiburg team and in other cities as well. The next actions are already planned!
If you are inspired to take part – contact the team:: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Frankfurt, a newspaper also reported on the action there (in German):