Heiner Goebbels

Everything that happened and would happen

Mayfield, Manchester
SOON 10 October 2018 - 21 October 2018
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Live music, performance, sound, movement, image, and moving image are brought together on the site of a former railway station in Manchester to explore Europe since the outbreak of World War I.

As with much of the artist’s previous work, this new commission will draw inspiration from literature, art, and current affairs. Everything that happened and would happen incorporates texts from Patrik Ouředník’s 2001 book Europeana, re-purposed costumes, props and sets from Goebbels’ own 2012 staging of John Cage’s Europeras 1&2, and feeds from Euronews’s No Comment: original, unedited footage of that day’s news with neither commentary nor mediation.

As with Europeana, this durational performance work is non-linear. Featuring 20 performers and musicians, it will highlight the paradoxes, collisions, and rifts of European history instead of simplifying its complexity into a single narrative line.

Co-commissioned with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, alongside Park Avenue Armory and Ruhrtriennale, this world premiere is co-presented with Manchester International Festival (MIF) as a pre-Factory event. The audience is invited to explore the vast expanse of Mayfield and experience the work from a range of different vantage points. The performance will last approximately three hours. There will be no interval, but the audience is free to take a break when they choose.

Image: From the research workshops for Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze


About Heiner Goebbels

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Heiner Goebbels

Heiner Goebbels has worked with Artangel on two projects, Stifter's Dinge (2008) and Everything that happened and would happen (2018).

Inspired by an eclectic range of influences and sources, composer and director Heiner Goebbels’ fascination with literature, politics and anthropology informs richly textured visual compositions that integrate classical, pop, jazz and traditional indigenous music. Works by Goebbels performed in the UK include Songs of Wars I Have Seen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 2007; Eraritjaritjaka, Edinburgh International Festival, 2004 and Hashirigaki, Barbican, London, 2002.

Goebbels works as a professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen and is President of the Theatre Academy Hessen, Germany. From 2012 to 2014 he was the artistic director of the International Festival of the Arts Ruhrtriennale.


Images: (left) The artist and performers at performance workshops of Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze; (above) Heiner Goebbels speaking about Stifter’s Dinge at Ambika P3 in 2012 (above). Photograph: Ewa Herzog


by Patrik Ouředník
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The Germans were tall too, while the tallest of all were the Senegalese fusiliers in the First World War who measured 176 centimetres, and so they were sent into battle on the front of lines in order to scare the Germans. — Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century 

Europeana is a surprising deconstruction of the 20th century, beginning with the First World War. The 120-page, 66 chapter book was written in 2001 as a series of incongruous juxtapositions of political and social history, seismic events and trivial anecdotes, often jumbled up and out of sequence.

Europeras 1&2

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Europeras 1&2

John Cage’s Europeras 1&2 draw on arias, stage sets, costumes, figures, and gestures from the store of European opera history. Heiner Goebbels originally staged Europeras 1&2 for the Festival Ruhrtriennale in 2012. Costumes and sets from this production, rather than Cage’s music, will contribute to a dynamic landscape of objects, bodies and images, in permanent states of change. Goebbels’ own music and soundscapes will fill the space.

Image: Performers participating in the research workshops for Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze

No Comment

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No Comment

No Comment is a strand of the European TV channel Euronews which offers original, unedited footage of each day’s news with neither commentary nor mediation. Short clips are labelled with the date of the recording and the name of the location. The news ‘story’ can only be understood via the viewers’ imagination, combining time, location, sound, and image.

Image: Research workshops for Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze

Heiner Goebbels in Conversation With Hartwig Fischer

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Heiner Goebbels in Conversation With Hartwig Fischer

SOON Monday 15 October 2018

19:00 – 22:00

Following the premiere in Manchester of Heiner Goebbels' Artangel commission, the artist discusses his work with British Museum Director, Hartwig Fischer.


50 Princes Gate
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2PH
United Kingdom

For more information about accessibility at this venue please see Goethe-Institut.



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Built to relieve the pressure on the nearby London Road station, now known as Manchester Piccadilly, the Mayfield railway station opened in 1910. Despite being hit by a parachute mine in December 1940, the station maintained a busy service until the expansion of Manchester Piccadilly in the 60s made it superfluous. It became a postal depot for Royal Mail in the 70s and early 80s and earned its new name, but afterwards was only in use briefly as an indoor karting track and occasionally as a TV and film set. In 2013, Manchester International Festival breathed life into this now partly derelict building, staging a series of performances here, then returning again in 2015, and again in 2017 with Boris Charmatz’s 10000 Gestures.

Image: From a site visit to Mayfield, 2018. Photograph: Sam Collins.


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Who made this possible?


Produced by Artangel. Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW; WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Artangel, Park Avenue Armory and Ruhrtriennale. The world premiere is co-presented with Artangel and Manchester International Festival (MIF) as a pre-Factory event.

Contextual programme supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany London, with thanks to Goethe-Institut London.

Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International CircleSpecial Angels and The Company of Angels.