Ich Lubbe Berlin!
Berlin, 27 February 1933. Adolf Hitler has just become Chancellor, but Germany remains, at least officially, a Republic. At 9.25 pm a fire station receives a worrying alert: the Reichstag, the seat of the German parliament, is on fire. When the police arrive, in the building they find Marinus Van Der Lubbe, a Dutch revolutionary Communist who has recently arrived in Germany. When Hitler, who is dining with Goebbels, receives the news, he immediately interprets it as the sign of a Bolshevik conspiracy against the fragile German nation. The next day, while the papers describe the fire as “the most monstrous act of Bolshevik terrorism in Germany”, Hitler passes the Reichstag Fire Decree, appealing to the state of emergency, and suspending the majority of civil rights.
12 December 2005. At 10.39 Mare Van der Lubbe (the pseudonym of Mare Bulc, member of the Slovenian artistic collective SilentCell Network) reenacts the Reichstag fire. It is not a canonical re-enactment, for obvious reasons: not only due to the historic ambiguity of events, but also its terrorist nature - any attempt to stage it literally would actually be another attack. This is why SilentCell Network opted for a “diminished” re-enactment, which could be described as “symbolic”. It is significant that SilentCell Network also avoids playing with the sources, interfering with the event’s posthumous history, namely with its historic reconstruction, as happens in other works in the Re:akt! platform. However it would not be exact to interpret this re-enactment as a simple parody. On the contrary, SilentCell Network seems interested in re-interpreting the Reichstag fire in the light of a present that has much in common with the situation generated by the original event. Like 1934 Germany, we too are the children of a terrorist attack, that some have described as the 21st century’s greatest work of art. We too live in a state of emergency, with Western democracies “forced” by terrorism to pass legislation which severely limits its citizens’ freedom of thought and action, and interferes with their privacy.
We too find ourselves forced to make radical, final decisions in a context where the distinction between good and evil is increasingly blurred. As Jan Verwoert wrote: “In times of crisis, events of historical importance always seem to be impending and thus decisions always seem pressing. 'Are you with (the) US or against (the) US?', the president asks, demanding an answer right away... In times of urgency you have no choice but to choose from the options that those in power present to you.” 
In times of crisis, Mare Van der Lubbe knows that for liberty to survive, it must assume subtle guises and a veneer of conformism, and adopt a playful, ironic approach. It was in this spirit that on 11 December 2005, he left Ljubljana Airport, heading for Berlin. Fearlessly he faced the check-in controls, controls that, like the symbol on the plane’s safety instructions indicating that flammable liquids must not be taken onboard – should serve to guarantee the safety of travellers, but end up merely generating an attack of nerves. Like any normal tourist, Mare passed through the non-places on the way to his destination, distractedly taking in the symbols, gestures and messages that organize, plan and control our daily lives: the airport signage, passport control, the map of the underground. Once in the underground he became immersed in a book on the Russian revolution, the symbol of a threat that afflicted the Western world for many years, before it was defeated by the events of history.
SilentCell Network (M. Bulc, J. Janša, B. Kunst, I. Štromajer)
Mare Van der Lubbe starting his EasyJet trip to Berlin
Mare Van der Lubbe arriving at Berlin Schönefeld Airport
Mare Van der Lubbe finalizing his plan
Mare Van der Lubbe approaching Reichstag in S-Bahn
Mare Van der Lubbe arriving at the Reichstag building
Mare Van der Lubbe inspecting the Reichstag Dome from inside
Mare Van der Lubbe burns the Reichstag again!