On the 5th of December 2020 ABER DABEI marked the 45th anniversary of the passing of the political scientist and philosopher Hannah Arendt, one of the 20. century’s most influential thinkers. We did it with a marathon recitation of Arendt’s centrepiece, “The Origins of Totalitarianism” and thereby highlighting her important contribution to understanding the origin of the totalitarian mindset, its attraction and danger.  

“The Origins of Totalitarianism” in 2017 – following the inauguration of Donald Trump- was sold out on Amazon and The Washington Post has highlighted the work as a necessary key in understanding the present development in the US.  And one could add the development in Russia, China and several countries in South-America and Europe.

HANNAH ARENDT FRISE was durational work, lasting for over 10 hours, in which “The Origins of Totalitarianism” evolved from being an individual reading-experience, to becoming a joint endeavour. A group consisting of 23 representatives of the residents of Aarhus, recited Arendt text. They were supported by three composers, who made improvised reactions to the content of the recitation, as well as the individual reciters rhythm, tempo and modulation. Simultaneously during the performance, two illustrators created an art-piece. In a 1,5 x 30 meters Frieze the impressions from the days event, was intertwined with the philosophical and political ideas of Arendt.

In a totally fictitious world, failures need not be recorded, admitted or remembered. Factuality itself depends for its continued existence upon the existence of the non-totalitarian world.

Hannah Arendt

Credit list:

Reciteres: Lisbeth Sonne Andersen, David Elnebo, Kasper Daugaard Poulsen, Poul Smedegaard Andersen, Trine Rytter Andersen, Dino Copelj, Niels Peter Egebo, Christine Fentz, Winnie Handberg, Trine Hjelbak, Therese Isho, Jesper Jühne, Ise Klysner Kjems, Selma Klejs, Jakob Knudsen, Isabel Madsen, Peer Mariboe, Jesper de Neergaard, Lul Omar, Ann Sofie Oxenvad, Tage Hee Rømer, Birthe Langkjær Schmidt & Alberte Klysner Steffensen

Idea & concept: Petra Berg

Direction: Petra Berg, Lisbeth Sonne Andersen

Illustrators: Sonja Winckelmann Thomsen, Johanne Helga Heiberg Johansen

Composers/livemusicians: Kristian Hverring, Rosanna Lorenzen, Johan de Reybekill

Light: Karsten Nisbeth

Technical support: Karsten Nisbeth, Sten Baadsgaard

Coordination: Petra Berg, Lisbeth Sonne Andersen

Musical coordination: Kristian Hverring

PR & productional assistance: Winnie Handberg

Graphic design: Sonja Winckelmann Thomsen

Photo: Christoffer Brekne, Petra Berg

Produced by: ABER DABEI in collaboration with Bora Bora

Premiered: Aarhus 5th of December 2020

Supported by: Aarhus Kommune

Thanks to: Forlaget KLIM, Trine Hjelbak, Mette Aakjær, Olga Holbek & Tobias Simonsen