The Displaced Person concerns itself with a very particular protagonist of historical and geographical juxtapositioning. The Ballhaus Berlin stands as the sole remainder of early 20th century Tanzpaläste in the Chaussestrasse – by the 1920s a section of this northern continuation of the Friedrichstrasse was already known as something of a Vergnügungsmeile. An accumulation of interior detail and a conspicuously additive tendency in the layering of current dance-hall fashions having left in their wake a sort of eternal-twilight nightclub dystopia to which human beings might seem superfluous, hopelessly stuck in the wrong time, which is to say nostalgic for any period. The 44 original Tischtelefone (circa 1930) function as temperamentally as they might have when the hall re-opened in the early 1950s – when approaching a stranger for a dance at such a mechanical remove might have aptly coincided with certain expectations, or with the demands of festive demeanor.
Of equal weight geographically is the new BND [Bundesnachrichtdienst] headquarters under vigorous construction approximately 100 meters directly to the north of the Ballhaus, on the site of the former Stadion der Weltjugend [Stadium of the World Youth]; a 260,000 square meter complex “where up to 4,000 BND staff members will be working as from 2013,” remotely interpreting data related to collective and individual movements as they concern the people of Germany. It can be supposed that at least one or two of those 4,000 staff members will find themselves sweeping up Monday morning, perhaps mirroring the movements of Herr Wernicke, just across the Habersaathstraße, after the weekend at the Ballhaus Berlin.
Written and directed by Anita Di Bianco
Performed by Cristina Gómez Barrio & Wolfgang Mayer (Discoteca Flaming Star)
Camera by Claire Pijman
Edited by Sebastian Bodirsky
Translations by Christoph Kölle and Loreto Solis Germani