I Felt Silly


During my research about power and control structures in human relationships I met a guy who has worked as a commander in the British Airforce, been to 4 wars and spent all his life in this military organization.

We started to talk about his experiences and I said: “War is something very abstract. There are people sitting in cockpits of high tech aircrafts, pushing buttons, dropping bombs, without really knowing what is there below. They kill without knowing if they do, whom or why.”

He answered: “I hate it if people talk like this about my people. You have no idea what it’s really like. If we fly a mission, everything is planned to detail. We only focus on the target and our priorities are damage limitation and the safety of all involved people.” He started to explain, how exactly such a mission works. After a while I asked: “And…did you ever kill someone?” He said: “Honestly – I don’t know.”

Based on this talk a performance idea was developed, which should be able to make the ambivalence visible and palpable. I asked the former commander, to give march commands to himself and march after them in a closed room, blind folded, with the danger to hit the walls.
This performance took about 3 hours. After his performance I asked him how he felt. He only said:

“I felt silly.”


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