On the evening of 3 March, more than 70 Vigils gathered expectantly in front of their screens to listen to Christiane, Katrin, Markus, Santiago and Ute. The five Companions presented entries from the Türmer blog, reflecting the more than 160 very personal hours so far spent looking out over the city. Entries about vigils that passed in the blink of an eye, about commitment and confidence and the »Lockdown Edition«, about the unique feel of these days and about sharpened senses. Entries from people who many felt were the actual stars of this project and who pondered moving pixels about in work, celebrated shimmering snowflakes in lyrics, observed the constantly changing faces of the city, or counted squirrels, birds and other garden wildlife.
Starting on 12 December last year, these entries have provided so many amusing and personal insights into the thoughts of the Türmer of Munich and their favourite spots in the city – in German, English, French and other languages – that it was a challenge to pick just a few for our Sharing Event. As a result, after listening to the entries, attendees moved into smaller chat rooms – a sign of our times, like the previously closed Shelter on the roof of the Gasteig. There the participants talked about how their Vigil has led them to rediscover their love for their city, or even find it for the first time after living here for decades; how proud they are to be links in the human chain created by this performance; and how demanding and yet exciting it was to be back in your home office again, but this time supposedly »doing nothing«.
They talked about how the personal thoughts they expressed in the blog opened up new conversations with friends they had known for years and how their childhood had influenced the choice of location for their Vigil. About the meaning and freedom from meaning of the Vigil hour and whether we must ascribe meaning to everything or can just use this hour to escape this question. About the conscious decision to choose a Sunday morning to be able to listen to the church bells in peace for once; and about Vigil hours that unfold like origami from minute to minute, displaying ever-changing facets. We heard from participants who unexpectedly had to hold their Vigil in Italy, because of travel restrictions, and about how the performance had added a fresh and rewarding note to people’s monotonous lockdown life.
The Gasteig Türmer team provided background information about the performance and the work on the year-long project, and Joanne Leighton, the project’s creator, spoke a few words from Paris. She expressed her thanks above all to the participants throughout Munich, who had demonstrated so flexibly from their homes or favourite places in the city that the Türmer project can bring something special to our lives, particularly in these challenging times.
To round off the evening, Vigils Christiane and Anna gave a skilful recitation of the »Türmerlied« or Watchman’s Song from Goethe’s Faust II, which they refer to in their blog entries. Participants were also treated to an on-screen display of Edward Jakob von Steinle’s painting »Der Türmer« (1859), which is part of the Schack Collection in Munich and who have previously written a guest entry about it for our blog. The evening finished with a celebratory toast with an Aperol Spritz or two in front of everyone’s screens.
Dear Vigils and Companions, our time spent with you has been exciting, wonderful, honest and very personal!
That’s why we are really looking forward to the next Sharing Event in June and – in the meantime – to »what the world out there has to offer if we only take the time to look«.
Your Türmer Team!