12 December 2020 – still one hour to go until sunset, looking out over Munich in a south-westerly direction: The first »Türmer«* begins their Vigil … They will be one of a total of 730 people, who will hold Vigil on the roof of the Gasteig over the coming year each sunrise and sunset, far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city, just present and mindful in the here and now. That is what »The Munich Vigil« is all about: dedicating an hour of your time, all by yourself, to overlook and feel your connection with your city, to take a break from hectic city life while at the same time immersing yourself in it from a new perspective; to feel and rediscover your city, and yourself within it. The performance also poses the question: Is it the Vigil watching the choreography of the city or are the people in the city watching the »performance« of the »Türmer«?
The Vigil, or »Türmer München«, is a performance by choreographer Joanne Leighton (WLDN), which will take place on the roof of the Gasteig from 12.12.2020 to 12.12.2021 – twice a day every day, for 365 consecutive days. For one hour, each of the 730 participants will take part in the performance and stand Vigil over Munich, just like the watchmen of the Middle Ages. The lit Shelter – a wooden construction designed especially for this project by the architect Benjamin Tovo – will take its place on the roof of the Gasteig and remain there for the entire year. Clearly visible from below, it will provide an expansive view over Munich and a sheltered, safe place for the »Türmer«. From there, they will look out over the city, as the city looks up to them. After their Vigil, the participants leave their »Traces« in the form of a photo of themselves, together with their impressions, thoughts and feelings. An Opening and a Closing Ceremony as well as other meetings will give participants the opportunity of sharing their experiences and meet the artist Joanne Leighton in person.
The performance, whose original French title is »Les Veilleurs«, was developed by Belgian-Australian choreographer Joanne Leighton, initially for the French city of Belfort in 2011. As soon as the project was announced, the Vigil slots were fully booked. Since then, numerous other cities expressed interest: Laval, Rennes, Hagenau, Freiburg, Evreux, Dordrecht and Graz. The performance has had an international and almost uninterrupted presence since 2011 and is now entering its tenth year with »Türmer München«.
In the interview with Joanne Leighton on this blog, you can read more about the artist, the project and the special characteristics of the »Türmer München« performance.
* In this project, of course, »Türmer« includes all genders.