For the three hour performance RIVER-TV Lieberknecht and Gerum created a sculpture from 70 TVs forming 2 circles and installed it at the riverbank of the Rhine in Cologne. They chose an intersection of urbane and rural landscape: the broad river flows between green and lush banks while carrying intense shipping, it is crossed by a bridge used by cars and trams to get from one part of the city to the other. Cologne is called mediacity, where the flow of images is produced. But the TVs are not running, their pearlgreen screens reflect the landscape. The artists have placed their sculpture at the river as an ancient place of communication: already in the Stone Age the river connected the land and its people as well as separating them, it had to be crossed. The circle itself is the oldest symbol for unity and communication, the original constellation of people sharing a ritual. The artists have lined up the TVs similar to the old stonecircles of nearly every ancient culture and use them like stones crossing a creek. They move over the narrow surface from one TV to the other and keep the flow going for three hours.
Reinhard Gerum walks In the male circle continuously foreward, fast, slow and extremely slow. Who takes the time to walk around the circle can see inspiring images of the human figure against different backgrounds transmitting expressive statements. The water of the Rhine flows against his shape, huge containers on a ship suddenly back up his wandering figure which is crossed by a small speedboat later. Very different timings form a composition here- the speed and direction of the water and of ships, of the traffic crossing the bridge and of the permanently progressing man with his figure driven by the water or resisting it with slow motion.

In the female circle Britta Lieberkknecht, surfs, crawls and dances over the TVs, she whirls her arms through the air in accumulating patterns. While the man moves foreward through time (creating history and progress?) the woman connects to the elements, flows like water, like wind, moves like a creature. She attempts to round the angular shapes, overcomes the edges of the TVs, often also in a painful manner or balancing shortly before falling. It takes a lot of force, both performers exhaust themselves during the ritual, their legs tremble while they walk on the shaking TVs trying not to make them fall over. Sand and pebbles, bushes and trees, water and ships, the bridge and the audience reflect in the screens. It is a statement: shut the TV off in order to perceive the real imagery. RIVER–TV is critical about the media, it fights for the return of sensuality to the flow of images. Ancient and modern times do not connect by themselves, it takes sacrifice and consciousness.

Spectators are free to chose their viewpoint, they walk around the circles with the performers or hang out on the meadow, come and go. Some stay for short while others spend the whole time. Some mount the bridge to view the spectacle from above or even cross the bridge to watch the performance from the opposite bank. Coincidental spectators remain, discussing or passing by bike shaking their heads. Rowers scream obscenities from their boat. After three hours the completely exhausted dancers leave their TV circles and go straight into the river drifting away in its waters. The audience applauds for a long time.

Kölner Stadt- Anzeiger

by Birgit Kirchner

“Lieberknecht and Gerum put foreward the embeddedness of everyday life in their art...the extreme freedom inherent in dance is proved by this performance with fascinating power.”

RIVER-TV has also been installed at the Rhine in Bonn, and has been followed by other forms of TV- Danceinstallations in different landscapes:
TRACK-TV (1h ) Zeche Zollverein, Essen: linear Installation on railway tracks in an industrial area
KALK-TV ( 20 min.) Festival Dampf, Köln: linear installation in an industrial space (Museum Ludwig)
KLAGENFURT-TV (3h ) Festival UNIKUM, Austria: Installation circle and line in agricultural area


Dance Installation at the riverbank of the river Rhine

Duration: 180 Min.
Dance and Sculpture: Britta Lieberknecht und Reinhard Gerum
Videodocumentation: Gerrit Busmann
Photos: Franz Steinfort, Otfried Lieberknecht,