Martina Geiger‑Gerlach


warten | waiting

“In addition, as far as possible, work opportunities should be offered at governmental, at municipal and at non-profit organizations, given that the work would otherwise not be carried out to this extent or at this time.” (German Social Welfare Law for Asylum Seekers, § 5 Work Opportunities).

The offer to work with me at the long-term Performance ‘waiting’ is the attempt to comply with the request cited in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. The implementation of the project generates a series of works.

Participatory long-term Performance | 2014
25 hours
Vacant Weltbild-Store | posters »Artist seeks international team« D, F, E | Info evening | official registration form | A list of employees framed | different chairs | drinks | coins

Abbas Tonkin
Admir Dendic
Agaji Johnson Marvel
Ahmed Saouli
Alieu Danso
Ameyo Sowodu
Cecile Aziako
Chanceline Feudjio
Comfort Michael
Demir Ramadanov
Destiny Michael
Esther Bimbola Ajayi
Ganiou Kondo
Hakim Yasser
Holali Kpeglo
Jackline Belonde Bokwe
Marta Ramadanov
Mohammed Jagada
Mohammed Toure
Odey Johnson Marvel
Rebecca Afi Abokanou
Saidi Siaf Khmissi
Seedy Camara
Sofka Mircheva
Tamar Nene Bokwe
Ellwangen, July 2014
I sit and wait in the approx. 250 m2 large, empty, white painted former 'Weltbild' shop. There are 20 different chairs available for potential employees. Shortly after 10 o'clock, the first interested parties arrive. Once again I explain the activity: an open stage on which everyone can work as required and develop their self-defined role. The setting can also be changed or designed at any time. My role is to be passive, to give no impulses, to accompany.
We start with work, taking a seat, standing or walking back and forth. Where to go with your own body? Along the shop window leads a narrow one-way street, passing pedestrians and slow moving cars. The passers-by have a shop window image of superimposed reflections of the interior and exterior space, the interior lighting remains switched off, so that the reflective protective layer is retained. Only when approaching the disc is the interior with the people waiting in it clear, the sighted ones are seen too.
My always same work clothes is a T-shirt with peace sign. The mobile phone on the tripod casually films, it covers half of the room, who does not want to be filmed, goes in the other part of the room, everyone can change the section of the recording.
When visitors enter the open stage, they become guest performers, seeking a suitable position. They are looked at, ignored or cheered up and are in any case required to behave. Are all present people performers? Or exhibition visitors?
The freelancers wear changing work clothes.
A visitor comes with two guitars and an amplifier, sits down to a group of waiting people, strumming, polite interest. Then everyone is continuing waiting with himselves.
After many hours spent together we hardly know each other, our lack of language skills make storytelling impossible, but time creates a different kind of closeness, the unusual situation as well.
No recognizable new roles, interventions or strategies are being developed. The working time is always extended, one day we wait eight hours. I am often asked to continue with this job opportunity. Because of the money but mainly because of the large lounge.
The payment of 1.05 € / hour is the dreaded moment of my day, a nervous group is standing around me. I have become an employer with shameful conditions, perform daily one act of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. Everyone has to write his earned pay into my list, even the children are paid, a helpless gesture. And what to do with false entries?
I count the coins one by one on the recipient's hand, they are counting too, and because I'm nervous, often some coins falls down. Many stoop to pick up. End of work. Everyone is going home.