Broken Glass 1 & 2

Perfor­mances docu­mented on video, 1: 2 minutes 45 seconds & 2: 6 minutes
DVD compi­la­tion of all the Avant-Garde Dating” trailers with German subti­tles, 40 minutes was put together 2009
2007 (27.9: 2 ½ minutes & 1.10: 6 minutes) Orig­inal concept Tanya Ury’s, devel­oped and performed by Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury during the Avant-Garde Dating” week for Art Forum, 27.9. – 3.10.2008, The New Life Shop Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D)
2007 (30.11. – 11.1.2008) Included in the exhi­bi­tion In Pursuit: Art on Dating” at the ISE Cultural Foun­da­tion Gallery, New York (USA) is a computer repre­sen­ta­tion with all video trailers from the week’s resi­dency in the New Life Shop Art Gallery, Berlin (D) www​.isefoun​da​tion​.org
Avant-Garde Dating was a Wooloo concept by the artists/​curators Sixten Kai Nielsen & Martin Rosen­gaard www.AvantgardeDating.c…
An article by Simon Hoegs­berg on Tanya Ury’s and Laurel Jay Carpenter’s part­ner­ship during the Avant-Garde Dating“ week (27.9. – 3.10.2007) has been presented in the Danish maga­zine Samvirke”, March edition 2008. There is an English trans­la­tion on Hoegsberg’s website: www​.simon​hoegs​berg​.com

www​.simon​hoegs​berg​.com — article as PDF


Perfor­mance Artists: Laurel Jay Carpenter

Tanya Ury

Camera & edit of trailers: Menachem Roth
Camera 2: Martin Rosen­gaard
Text infor­ma­tion: Tanya Ury
Subti­tles translation: Tanya Ury

Amin Farzanefar

Avid edit of DVD trailer compilation: Rainer Nelissen

Avant-Garde-Dating – a collec­tion of works:

Performers Carpenter and Ury raise their glasses in a toast; the glasses, containing red and white wine respec­tively, meet, clink and resonate, ringing slowly before being struck again with a force that smashes them.

Tanya Ury


Various asso­ci­a­tions are suggested in the perfor­mance context: the smashing of glass under­foot at a Jewish wedding, the break­down of a rela­tion­ship, where part­ners hurl table­ware at each other.

The two unre­hearsed, performed and docu­mented actions (29th September and 1st October) evolved into a type of duelling match in which part­ners prepared them­selves for a bout, slowly putting on long-sleeved evening gloves, Carpenter: red, Ury: blue, and protec­tive eyewear.

The 19th century chal­lenge to a duel, a glove slap in the face is emulated by Ury in Broken Glass 2. In both docu­mented perfor­mances each move around each other as in a ritu­alised dance, steeling them­selves for a sword-fight. In Broken Glass 1, both wine glasses when smashed together break, and the wines, red and white, mingle in the air briefly before falling to the ground with all the glass splinters.

Both Carpenter and Ury have created works that recall alchem­ical tradi­tions: Carpenter has employed the colour red and a suggested blood­line in her perfor­mances Red Crest, Red Woman and Maiden, Mother, Crone; Ury has employed gold in the art works Golden Showers and Blue Danaé 1 & 2. These elements are alluded to in the mingling of the wine, red and white (gold), when the wine glasses are broken — the trans­for­ma­tion of blood into gold, thus demon­strating the trans­for­ma­tive aspect of the perfor­mance part­ner­ship between Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury.

With Broken Glass 2, Ury, who so to speak wins the contest — her wine glass remains unbroken — uncon­sid­ered, imbibes the contents before throwing it down, thereby risking injury to her internal organs from the glass splin­ters; conversely Carpenter later discovers small skin grazes on her breasts and arms — for the duel she wore short sleeves and a dress with décolleté.


When Ury first suggested a perfor­mance of clinking and smashing wine glasses, it struck a chord with Carpenter: in her perfor­mance Fête (1995) she and partner Chris­tine Marguerite had smashed a full china service, over a 3 hour period. laureljay​.com/​p​o​r​tfoli…

But Tanya Ury’s prime motive with this concept was quite another, that of a dubious toast on the 3rd of October, Tag der deutschen Einheit” commem­o­rating German Unifi­ca­tion in 1990, when Berlin again became the country’s capital. In fact Ury wore a dirndl (the female German national dress — bought in South Germany from where her father orig­i­nated) espe­cially for the occa­sion, to welcome Carpenter (from the USA) to Germany.

Ury trav­elled to Germany in 1989 for 6 months on an ERASMUS grant to make a video at the Insti­tute for Theatre, Film and Tele­vi­sion Studies in Cologne, a town which was also the home town of many of her formerly perse­cuted Jewish family members. Later, in 1993, Ury finally moved to live in Cologne to observe the polit­ical and social devel­op­ments of re-unified Germany, for better or worse.


The wall dividing Berlin from the rest of divided Germany fell on 9th November 1989, a date recalling Kristall­nacht” 1938, which is why it was an inap­pro­priate choice for Unifi­ca­tion Day. Crystal Night or the Night of Broken Glass is remem­bered in Germany as Reich­skristall­nacht, The National Night of Crystal Glass — shop windows were then made of high quality crystal glass. The pogrom in which windows and the contents of Jewish-owned shops nation­wide and in Austria were destroyed and their propri­etors beaten up or murdered, foresaw what was to come with the Final solu­tion and geno­cide of Shoah.

After World War 2, West Germany was divided into 4 zones, Amer­ican, British, French and Russian. Berlin was simi­larly divided into 4 sectors.

Although the intent was for the occu­pying powers to govern Germany together inside the 1947 borders, the advent of Cold War tension caused the French, British and Amer­ican zones to be formed into the Federal Republic of Germany (and West Berlin) in 1949, excluding the Soviet zone which then formed the German Demo­c­ratic Republic (including East Berlin) the same year. From 1948 onwards, West Germany devel­oped into a western capi­talist country with a social market economy (“Soziale Mark­twirtschaft” in German) and a demo­c­ratic parlia­men­tary govern­ment. Prolonged economic growth starting in the 1950s fuelled a 30-year economic miracle” (“Wirtschaftswunder”). Across the inner-German border, East Germany estab­lished an author­i­tarian govern­ment with a Soviet-style planned economy. While East Germany became rich, at least by the stan­dards for coun­tries in the Eastern bloc, many of its citi­zens still looked to the signif­i­cantly wealthier West for polit­ical free­doms and economic pros­perity. The flight of growing numbers of East Germans to non-commu­nist coun­tries via West Berlin led to Germany erecting the inner German border (of which the Berlin Wall was a part) to prevent any further exodus. en​.wikipedia​.org/​wiki/…

With re-unifi­ca­tion, Germany expe­ri­enced a slump in economic growth although it was still one of the world’s wealth­iest coun­tries. A minority in the former east expressed dissat­is­fac­tion with the tardi­ness of an expected return to wealth and turned to extremism. In the 2004 state elec­tion in Saxony (south Germany), the NPD (Nationale Partei Deutsch­lands: The National Demo­c­ratic Party of Germany) that repre­sents Right Wing extremist ideals in Germany, won 9.2% of the overall vote. Accu­sa­tions of neo-Nazism arise from the party’s oppo­si­tion to the increasing number of non-whites, Jews and Muslims living in Germany. Nazis demon­strate regu­larly but have also become an active threat again in Germany over the years.

The perfor­mance Broken Glass (in the Avant-Garde Dating” exhi­bi­tion context) cele­brates the unifi­ca­tion of two enti­ties: a pair commu­ni­cating in strife and/​or Germany halved and re-united, recalling the cata­stro­phes of the past where possible dangers of the future are also considered.

From Times Online, August 20, 2007 Neo-Nazi rampage trig­gers alarm in Berlin, Roger Boyes in Berlin: Locals in a small east German town­ship stood by as a drunken mob of about 50 youths howling neo-Nazi slogans hunted down eight terri­fied Indian tourists. The attack in Mügeln, near Leipzig, was the latest in a series of violent assaults on foreigners in eastern Germany that is begin­ning to alarm the Govern­ment in Berlin. The inhab­i­tants of Mügeln were cele­brating their tradi­tional Old Town street festival on Saturday night when a horde of German youths started to pick a fight with the visiting Indians. After pushing and shoving them the youths chased them out of a beer tent and pursued them down the narrow streets of the town centre. The young Indian men took refuge in a pizzeria and tried to barri­cade the doors with tables. By the time that the police arrived – about 70 offi­cers – the Germans had smashed their way into the pizzeria. The eight Indians were treated in hospital but have now been released. The town author­i­ties are still in denial about the reasons for the clash even though witnesses say that the mob was shouting slogans such as Long live the national resis­tance!” and Get out of Germany!”. I really don’t know if there is a far-right back­ground to this inci­dent,” Gotthard Deuss, the Mayor, said yesterday. There are no known right-wing extrem­ists here. This is a town with barely 5,000 inhab­i­tants and every­body knows every­body.” The regional police chief, Bernd Merbitz, went a little farther, saying: We are inves­ti­gating all possible motives, including the possi­bility that this was an act aimed at foreigners.” Saturday was a red-letter day for neo-Nazis across Germany – it was when they mark the anniver­sary of the death in 1987 of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy as leader of the Nazi party. Mr Deuss had appar­ently been warned before the cele­bra­tions that far-right sympa­thisers could try to disrupt the festiv­i­ties…” www​.timeson​line​.co​.uk/…

Tanya Ury

Broken Glass 1., 27th September, 2 minutes 45 seconds

Broken Glass 2., 1st October, 6 minutes


2007 (27.9: 2 ½ minutes & 1.10: 6 minutes) Live perfor­mances. Orig­inal concept Tanya Ury’s, devel­oped and performed by Laurel Jay Carpenter and Tanya Ury during the Avant-Garde Dating” week for Art Forum, 27.9. – 3.10.2007, The New Life Shop Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D)
2009 (25. – 26.3) March 25th, 6 p.m. SSC 026: video and power point presen­ta­tion (short version): Avant Garde Dating and Avant-Garde Dating the video, guest lecturer, Depart­ment of Crit­ical Studies (German), Faculty of Creative and Crit­ical Studies, Univer­sity of British Columbia, Okanagan (CAN)
press as PDF

press as PDF


Concept: Tanya Ury, devel­oped and performed together with
Laurel Jay Carpenter
Camera & edit: 1 Menachem Roth
Camera 2: Martin Rosengaard

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