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Ulrike Rosenbach «Dance around a tree» | Tanz um einen Baum
Ulrike Rosenbach, «Dance around a tree», 1979
Tanz um einen Baum | ©

 Ulrike Rosenbach
«Dance around a tree»

1. Location: a park, on a hill, with a view of the city. A tree.
2. Time: shortly before sunset, between 5pm and 5.45pm.
3. I observed the tree for two weeks. The setting sun casts its light over the tree into the windows of the buildings, the skyscrapers. The window-panes are red with the reflection of the light. I wound a video cable six times around the tree trunk and then unrolled it to form the radius of a spiral circle. The external circle is marked by oblong splinters of mirror-glass in the grass (at intervals of 90 cm). The video cable is fastened to the tree-trunk and leads, in one direction, to a small video recorder equipped with monitor, and in the other direction to a small video camera that is fastened to my arm for the duration of the performance.
I lie down on the grass, my head pointing toward the outer circle, and slowly begin to revolve round the tree. In my hands I hold a sword. Each time I complete a revolution, I try to smash one of the mirror fragments.
The camera records my revolutions and everything it captures within my radius of vision: the landscape, the people, the mirrors reflecting all this and my face, and the sword which is pointed at landscape and people and smashes the pieces of mirror. This image is simultaneously transferred to the video monitors. As I turn around the tree, the cable round the trunk draws me in. The sun goes down, and when it is dusk, I cut through with the sword the cable that tied my body to the tree.


Ulrike Rosenbach