A.R.M - all recycled material A.R.M - ein performatives
gesellschaftsprojekt von barbara caveng

Jan Markowsky

The Night on the Street (March 10/11)

As a person who has been homeless for years, someone who "lives on the streets", as they say, I often sleep on the streets at night, quite literally. Actually, I would much rather sleep on a nice green meadow in the park, but sometimes I have to show myself, in my ethics classes in posh Halensee, for example. This being said, Barbara Caveng's question as to whether I would use the "TRAUM" bed can only be answered in one way. Which way? Read on:

7:15 PM Arrival at the gallery, recognize familiar faces, welcome, small talk, listen, conversations with visitors to the exhibition (all artists), let people take pictures of me.

10.15 PM The exhibition is closed. Take my sleeping bag, unfold the "TRAUM" bed and lie down. The street is really busy; I leave the light on to let people see me.

An older couple walks by. The woman is startled at seeing me there, but just laughs and says "Hey, that's funny!"

Most of the people don't notice me even with the light on, so I turn it off.

The artist and the gallery owner look in on me, the patchwork quilt made of shopping bags has been brought in for the night because of the snow and is laid on the bed. I lie down again.

Lots of people on the street, but am only briefly noticed as they hurry by.

Just about to fall asleep, I hear young people with beer bottles , so I have to keep an eye on them. (I'm no hero after all!)

Two young people come by, not even thirty years old, see me there and walk on, then come back and ask me why I'm lying there. I tell them about the exhibition and about the A.R.M. project, they ask me if I'm being paid for what I'm doing, don't understand at all when I say no, wish me good night and leave.

About to go to sleep, more loud drunk young men, wide awake again. They get in their car, I slowly fall asleep.

Am awakened because a young man with a computer under his arm is standing next to me. He asks if everything is okay with me. I say yes and go back to sleep.

Wake up in panic for a second because there is a suspicious rustling. The cause is quickly found: the wind is blowing under the patchwork quilt. I slowly get used to the noise but the wind becomes uncomfortable, so I crawl back in my sleeping bag and go back to sleep.

Another noise: a fine snow is falling on my sleeping bag. Want to crawl deeper into my sleeping bag, but feel snow on my face and realize that snow is now coming directly into the glass case. The sleeping bag and patchwork quilt are covered with a fine layer of snow and there is snow on the bed.

Stop the whole thing right there, because I see that the moisture-sensitive areas of the bed are unprotected. Get up, get dressed, shake the snow from the sleeping bag and quilt, brush the snow from the bed, fold it up (the legs of the bed are frozen to the floor) and leave.

Jan Markowsky, born in Greifswald in 1949, has been homeless since 2001.
He is scociety chairman of Unter Druck - Kultur von der Strasse e.V. (Under Pressure Street Culture, Oudenarderstrasse 26,13347 Berlin, www.unter-druck.de.

During the exhibition of alles im eimer (down the drain) Jan will sleep overnight in the "TRAUM" bed, Auguststrasse 65, right next to the Blickensdorff Gallery, every Friday between March 10 and April 15, starting at 10 PM.


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