Der Auszug des Denkens aus dem Gehirn / visual poem No1

Turntable Theater by Laura Koerfer
Concept, Text Collage, Scenography and Performance by Laura Koerfer
Sound by Régis Vuilliomenet
«Der Auszug des Denkens aus dem Gehirn» was shown at Hyperlokal 2021


Then corona came and I was left holding the keys to the theater where I usually worked as a producer and curator. So I stood there in that old empty car garage, put my head to one side and listened. 

On the one hand there was the silence and emptiness of a theater missing, well, everything, and on the other, the deeply wounded and so often ignored outcry from the black community on every channel. There was a lot of (new and old) anger, fear, and despair triggering in turn a lot of (new and old) anger, fear and despair, and it was a balancing act – wasn’t it? – not to defend oneself for being white but to acknowledge one’s whiteness, to bring all the privilege to the surface that we associate with being white, conscious and unconscious, and look at it – I mean really look at it. There was this new, extremely private life in lockdown, yes, but there were also all these people refusing any longer to accept the systemic racism that permeates all levels of our society. 

On the one hand there was this new silence and on the other a broad part of the public became loud. On the one hand there was this no, wait, and on the other this yes, now!

I tried to identify my own status quo within this prevailing racism, locate it, circle it, and expose it like an infectious disease lurking in my thoughts and in my body. And this locating required not only a biographical confrontation, but also a historical diagnosis as well – I wanted to know where the beginning (or beginnings) of contemporaneous racism was located. Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism by the American historian George L. Mosse became my primary tool. Mosse builds a bridge between European and American racism and shows how strongly the race cult, grown in Europe, was and is involved in the circumstances in the USA. In particular, his critical examination of the Enlightenment, which Mosse places as the beginning of racism – of racism as we know it today – opened up entirely new perspectives for me:
“Eighteenth-century Europe was the cradle of modern racism. The major cultural trends of that century vitally affected the foundations of racist thought” (Mosse, 1978, 2020, p. 3).
“The world of the Enlightenment was a world without illusions, where man’s critical mind reflected the supposedly clear and rational laws of the universe. The personal God who acted in mysterious ways retreated behind the unchanging laws of reason, which men could discover and classify” (Mosse 6).
“The Enlightenment was also characterized by a radical attempt to define man’s place in nature. Nature and the classics were thought vital for a new understanding of man’s position in God’s universe and were therefore taken as setting new standards of virtue and beauty” (Mosse 3).
“The importance of the emphasis upon the visual for racial thought cannot be overestimated” (Mosse 24).

Thus the Enlightenment was a time when not only the categorization of human beings into different groups was at the center of science and philosophy, but also the hierarchization of these groups. And this hierarchy was assumed to be natural. The abuse of “nature” as a lethal argument can be found everywhere in racism. And in the process, entire population groups are reduced to and stigmatized by their own apparent naturalness. It’s an extraordinarily artificial process, a construct, an architecture, with the singular goal of degrading its opponents. 

As a woman, a Jew, a mother, a European, as an artist and a contemporary, it’s my opinion that for arguments where power has been or is about to be abused nature serves as a pretext far too often. A man isn’t anything by nature, nor a woman, nor intelligence, nor desire, nor a person of color.

The world as I see it today is a world we can change and understanding that is existential to my personal development and my practice as an artist. This was the attitude that accompanied my research.


I listened to lectures and podcasts, interviews and poetry slams. I listened to nonsense, advertisements, conversations, the “low” and sometimes even the “high” culture. YouTube was my medium of choice, and suddenly it all seemed there – it was all said there – every single utterance I would need on stage. And out of this research I took samples of speech and combined them with sounds from my partner Régis Vuilliomenet to create a textual and aural collage. 

The coronavirus limited my artistic choices. Nothing new came from it, just a commitment to what I had already loved before. And I built a revolving stage, noiseless and flying, like a plate thrown in space.
Revolving stages throw you into new perspectives, I watch the theater pass. I see everything in soft focus and let the turning happen. Relaxed, thoughts weave together, space expands, I drift off. And it’s only here, in this moment, that my hearing sharpens and finally I can listen.My breathing is quieter now. Can you hear the time running out?

I’ve positioned loudspeakers around the revolving stage, supplying the middle of the theater with sound.

The cast of the ensemble is deliberately kept all white, as is still so often the case in theater.

And everything that is foreign in you and me, all our otherness, is embodied by robots.


The Exodus of Thought from the Brain uses the stylistic devices of a séance to galvanize its audience. The auditorium has room for around fifteen people sitting in a circle on a revolving, floating platform. A hooded figure acts as a medium, moving objects, altering the lights and visibility. Yet this figure neither falls into a trance nor communicates with the beyond as in a classical séance, but instead serves the unheard voices and thoughts of a sound installation that permeates the room, amplifying them and staging them live. The first part of the evening lasts 45 minutes and approaches racism in a sensual and associative way, providing possible conversation material for the second part of the evening. 

In the second part, the audience gathers around a mountain of burning candles and begins or does not begin a conversation about what they have just heard or seen. As a prelude, the hooded figure reads an excerpt from The History of Racism in Europe by George L. Mosse and then leaves the round. The offer for further discussion is given, the outcome of the evening remains intentionally open.

Video Credits - Director of Photography, Editor: Benedikt Schnermann