PREVIEW "You can surely remember episodes from your childhood. Do you consider some of them or several so precious that you wouldn't want to do without them?" "Is there an experience or experiences among your memories that you would describe as mystic, spiritual, or religious?" "What is your earliest memory?" "Which episode(s) of a sexual nature do you remember particularly fondly?"
These are but a few of the 50 questions that have been floating around the Internet and on printed questionnaires this fall. If you answered any of them, there is a good chance that your observations may show up in one of the season's more unusual theatrical experiments, The Execution of Precious Memories, a collaboration by Nanos Operetta, Kunst-Stoff, and Blixa Bargeld, who created the first Execution in 1994 in Berlin. The idea is to develop a piece of dance/music/theater piece from the memories of people who live in specific places. So far Executions have taken place in London, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Kraków, among other cities. This is the first American version. Bargeld became famous in the 1980s as a cofounder of Einstuerzende Neubauten, one of the first and most influential industrial bands. But the Berlin native and current San Francisco resident is also an artist steeped in dadaism, an architectural critic, and one of the more radical and fascinating thinkers on contemporary culture, particularly as it plays itself out in Germany. Nanos Operetta founder Ali Tabatabai claims Bargeld as an important influence on all their work.