Heiner Müller’s discovery of America 1975/76–1978
Heiner Müller travelled the American continent with Ginka Cholakova in 1975/76 as a writer-in-residence invited by The University of Texas at Austin, and again in 1978, visiting Texas, the West Coast, the South, Mexico and Puerto Rico. His observations of American society are reflected in a variety of texts; impressions of inequality and violence as well as the overwhelming experience of the landscape became material that shaped his dramatic language. With reports, films, readings and conversations, the symposium traces the chronology of these journeys while at the same time allowing for a new voyage of discovery into the interior of the work based on motifs and text landscapes from Mauser as well as Lessing’s Sleep Dream Scream, Hamletmachine and The Mission, which were written after his American journey. It examines the topicality of Müller’s view of America, also in relation to the perceptions of West German society back then and of today's united Germany. Artistic impulses from his travels were the beginning of Heiner Müller’s later worldwide success. Robert Wilson starts by reporting on their collaboration, which began with The Civil Wars in 1984 and Hamletmachine in 1986.
First day of the symposium on 17 Jan.