Access Exit: A Yearlong Collaboration with Tanja Knaus (2014-15)

Access Exit

Performance Art / Public Interventions in Berlin and San Francisco

Access Exit is a series of nine embodied interventions taking place at, on and around “public” sculptures from June 2014 – June 2015. The work questions how we access and exit public spaces, dialogues, historical context, memory, time, artistic practices, relationships, authorship and notions of monumentality. The work was created in collaboration with Austrian visual artist and researcher Tanja Knaus.



Our point of departure was a 90-minute performance in Berlin on the sculpture 13.4.1981 by Olaf Metzel. Commonly referred to as “Randale-denkmal” (riot-memorial), Metzel created the sculpture in 1987 using metal crowd-control barricades. It was installed as part of Berlin’s ‘Sculpture Boulevard’ to celebrate the city’s 750th anniversary and referenced a violent riot which took place on 13.4.1981 at the intersection where the sculpture was erected six years later. Metzel’s sculpture incited new public protests, became a regular meeting site for alternative thinkers, punks and political protests, and was removed the following year by the mayor, who called the sculpture a “pile of junk.” Fourteen years later, the sculpture was privately acquired to be re-erected outside of Universal Music Headquarters on Berlin’s MediaSpree. Inserting our bodies into this fraught history, each of the performances that unfolds during our collaboration activates and moves rhizomatically across socio-historical and artistic points of access and exit.



public spaces


public spaces

“A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo.”
– Giles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 1980

After performing together in the creation of Access Exit I/IX, Tanja and I began to alternate our performances and build our yearlong work by exchanging 9-minute films and physical materials from each subsequent intervention. Each performance experimented with bodily rhythms, movement, and stillness.  The live interventions were embodied responses to existing public sculptures and histories as well as the embodied texts of our dialogue and collaboration.

The series of interventions marks different oppositions of two bodies – state and citizen, sculpture and performer, the choreographed social sphere and the performance choreographically interfacing with a live public. The physical and the nonphysical web, through which we continue to exchange different documents of our work, also transforms the live interventions into new virtual performances which activate a new set of mechanisms and questions about access and exit.

“In the production of a modern urban individualism the individual turned silent in the landscape of the city. The street, the cafe, the shopping mall, the train, the bus, the u-bahn, became places of observation not conversations.” – Richard Sennett, Fleisch und Stein, 1997


Access Exit I/X was performed June 29, 2014 for 90-minutes by Truax and Knaus in Berlin at 13.4.1981 by Olaf Metzel (1987).




Access Exit II/X was performed August 1, 2014 for 3-hours by Knaus in Berlin at Two concrete Cadillacs in form of the naked Maja by Wolf Vostell (1987).




Access Exit III/X was performed September 3, 2014 for 3-hours by Truax in San Francisco at Vaillancourt Fountain by Armand Vaillancourt (1971).




Access Exit IV/X was performed October 26, 2014 for 90-minutes by Knaus at Large Divided Oval: Butterfly by Henry Moore (1987).




Access Exit V was performed January 24, 2014 for 90-minutes by Truax in San Francisco at Endangered Garden by Patricia Johanson (1987).


My collaborator, Tanja Knaus, is an Austrian artist and researcher interested in memory, consciousness, surveillance, and intersections between public and private space. She has previously worked in the field of “Media and Interaction Design” with exhibitions in Porto, Lisbon and Berlin. Tanja and I met in 2012 while we were both artists in residence at the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZKU) in Berlin. This is our first collaborative work.

We are currently looking for funding to offset travel costs to perform Access Exit X/X together (physically in the same public space at the same time). Please contact us if you are affiliated with an artist residency, cultural institution, performance or exhibition space that might be interested in supporting this collaborative work.


Alex Head photographed the 90-minute performance of Access Exit I/X.
Francisco Petrucci filmed the 3-hour performance of Access Exit II/X.
Derek Phillips filmed the 3-hour performance of Access Exit III/X.
Emilia Kurylowicz filmed the 90-minute performance of Access Exit IV/X.
Rebecca Autumn Sansom filmed the 90-minute performance of Access Exit V/X.




Upcoming Exhibitions of Access Exit:
EQUINOCCIO art festival by CORPORACIÓN CULTURAL VRAPA Chile, Curated by Melanie Garland
September 27 in the CASA DE LO MATTA gallery, Santiago de Chile
October 17 at 4:3 Gallery, Berlin