Write to be free. Eastside Gallery, Berlin. 1994.

(2016) The next entries in the diary are an incredible jumble of lists and ideas, thoughts and snippets of ‘caught inspiration! It is tricky to see just how to translate or share them.

From the darkness rose light!

I bumped into an experimental, techno D.J. who liked my ‘words’ and, as we were both at rock bottom, we determined to work together.

We devised a show.

I collected my very random, automatic-writing, scrawlings into some kind of form. He matched music to the words. I wore a huge vintage white dress onto which were projected images of Berlin taken by another talented friend who ran the lighting desk. I disappeared and reappeared in the image. It was more of a performance art piece really. A ‘happening’. I performed the ‘poetry’ in bare feet, with swan feathers tied into my hair. The complete antithesis to Berlins big booted and leather, dark, tough, winter style. It felt almost magical walking through the streets , in costume, to and from gigs…I felt like a mythical character, an ‘angel’ of sorts! Certainly provoked that kind of attention! There was an intended innocence to the ‘character’…like a sparrow among crows. Had to watch my beer soaked, bare feet among all the big boots and sharp heels tho!

In our first venue the stage turned out to be the bar itself!! In an art bar, near Tachelles. There was a very hard-core audience attending, most of whom were waiting to see a metal band. They booed and jeered from the beginning, a tough crowd,but when we had finished we had many generous, quieter, compliments and it earned us our next gig.

And so on…I think we did three gigs in total!

Somewhere I believe I still have a more comprehensive work book for this piece. But I cannot find it just now, so will attempt to unwind the performance from the other bits of work and present it here as a script.




Lights slowly up on face, eyes closed.

Music begins.

“Jai Baba. Jai baba…” repeated chant as the music builds…

weaving in “Om nama, Om nama, Om nama…”

snatches of Indian Bhajan “Jai Ambee…”

Music and voice coming together


Part 2. Write to be free.

(Music builds slowly. Performedmatter of factly’ , as if telling to a friend. Carefully timed slide show of images on dress and background, carefully chosen images to match words. Words timed to fit techno music.)

I write to be free.

Techno poetry.

Put to me

By a friend in a cold place,

Inspiration with a new face,

Whistling in a junk yard,

Laughing when its so hard.

Standing, together, alone, as in the towers around

Living in boxes creating an om of sound

Like the rich milk of the cow

Life pushes out and up the cream

which gets thicker if its whisked…

Whisk us now…

Whisk us now….

(music reacts to that invitation, becomes more prominent, wild dance tempo. Performer dances, whisking movements, in light show. Words delivered in time to the music)

(Change in mood)

Coal dust in the eye, smoke from industry

It stings.

Blinking, I caught the ‘be’ that stung me.

To be in this reality,

Is a need for spirituality.

(strobe light. Urgent sounds. Words clearly and sharply, quickly spoken. )

Is it a girl or is it a boy?

Is it good or bad?

Is it black or is it white?

Is it sane or mad?

Is it fun or work?

Is it cold or hot?

Is it red or green?

Is it hidden or is it seen?

Is it clear or vague?

Is it up or down?

Is it slow or fast?

Is it a smile or is it a frown?

Is it out or in?


Out. In. Out. In.

Left. Right. Left. Right.

(head tilting from side to side.)

Black. White. Black White.

How I long for shades of grey…… (sigh )

(‘Eye’ visuals)

In this eye that is opening.

This great big eye that is opening.

I aim to be a bit of coal dust, grit or sand

to keep the tears flowing…and…

bring water to the dry…

tears to the eye.

Washing over, cleansing, flowing,

Going….to the sea.

Joining the sea.

Joining the ‘see-more-clearly- now’ army.

(pause for music)

I am sitting at my window, here, where others can’t see in,

The glass is cold as ice, and thin.

The other side is frozen, dark

But here it begins to feel warm

And I pray that the sun will win.

A flute plays in the tower block (flute in techno), a sound, a signal, a flower in the rain

I light another cigarette I pause to feel the flame…

It gives me joy.

(return to urgent, insistent rhythm. Strobe light.)

Is it a girl or is it a boy?

Is it straight or round?

Is it alive or is it dead?

Is it silent or is there sound?

Is it East or is it West?

Is it a dessert just waiting for rain?

Or is it a jungle in need of a rest?

Is it dry or is it wet?

Is it time the two sides met?

We meet in dance.

We meet in sound.

The unison of 1000 feet.

Here where black meets white,

I see a rainbow (exaggerated movement, lengthen word), a spectrum of colour

And I know it its right

It gives me joy.

(music break)

I write to be free.

To keep the tears flowing to the see…

To stir up this cold duality….

Our right to free….

Part 2. Communication.

(inspired and led by the track. Many squeaks and satellite sounds, telephonic beeps and signals. Performed in an urgent, insane fashion. Nothing is making sense. Quick random image changes. Fast beat. more about the sound of the words than the meaning.)


Ich sprachen English. Nix ferstanden.

Ich sprachen English. Nix ferstanden.

(like another voice) “So, you are not talking to me anymore…..”

Ich sprachen English.

Communication. Communication. Communication…..

(laugh with crazy sound mix…Indian sounds’control of your destiny’)

A man goes into a bakery and asks for bread.

The woman , behind the counter gave him cake.

Communication. Communication.

(Insane ramblings)

The creation of a commune. Commune- ication.

A network of connections, (listing) to make links, share experience, dreams, ideas….


(stop everything. Silence. begins again)


To communicate successfully is ultimately to understand.

Ich sprechan English. Nix ferstanden.

To under-stand, to step under, deeper down.

To understand.

Communication is to take the time to listen.

To communicate alone is not enough.

To communicate alone is not enough.

I see a man, he’s a funny kind of man.

Walking alone and talking, talking, talking.

His tongue in a foreign land, talking, talking.

His tongue in a foreign land.

Communication alone is not enough.

He’s given up and has packed his words

into arrows and is throwing them up like numbers in the lottery. (gesture as if throwing it all to the sky)

Oh “Take them if you please!” (like a showman. Lights like a circus for a second)


Communication alone is not enough.

The wind took them, his connection was only with the wind.

Communication alone is not enough.


She’s trying to say something.

She is trying to say something.

She is trying to speak.

She is struggling to find the words.

Communication alone is not enough.

“It’s just too hard to understand.”

“It is just too hard to understand”.

She is so difficult to understand.


Do not laugh.

You did not understand.

Communication alone is not enough.

Too much information.

Too much information.

(in the tone of a teacher)

Communication and the machine. Chapter three.


Fax. Satellite. Telephone. (sharp, rhythmic)

Fax. Satellite. telephone.

(change in music mood. Opens out.)

We are feeding messages into a network. A maze of wires.

This planet is surrounded by a web…(pause to listen to the ‘music’..)…..of words. 

Is the operator listening?

Is the operator listening?

“Hello. This is B.T. direct….we are trying to connect you…”

The spider.

“Is the operator listening?

The spider, the creator of the web.

Is the operator listening?

(effect of ‘flipping music and delivery, batting back and forth)

Connection. Cross connection. Receiver. Sender.

Sender. Receiver. Connection. Cross connection.

A smile, a cry, receiver, sender.

A hug, a tear in the eye.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You only have to know what you want to say.

Communication alone is not enough.

(pause. Change in mood.)

But what is love?

To understand is to communicate successfully.

A nudge , a smile, a wink, a frown.

A cry, a step, a walk around the town.

(lighten tone)

Have a coffee in a cafe.

Have a joke with a friend.

In human communication the wires have no ends.

No end. No end. No end.

(whisper) touch. touch. touch.

Say it without words.

(Mad pace abruptly ends. Lights out. Darkness)

Part 3. Swan.

I am reading a book of Indian totem power.

the swan in gliding, slow motion.

Clarity and Light.

(music. images of swans taking off)

Calling the swans. Calling the swans. (sound effect. reverb)

I see a great swan

Circling this earth and shining like the moon.

With each mute breath of its wings

Creating a wind, a wind like the truth

Clarity and Light.

The power to fight.

Swan song…loosen the swan tongue, bound for so long…

Cutting the kilometres to dust,

In the motion of a caught breath.

The instinct to trust

These wings of power.

Clear the fear.

Clear the fear of death.

The epic journey has begun the lift-off of the swan.

(music illustrates lift off. Performer ‘flaps’ dramatically, speaking in time.)


Mute in flight for so long.

Now is the time to speak.

Enchanted truth from your black beak.

Swan song.

Crystal energy in flight.

Creating, mightier than a glacier,

A wall of truth pushing like the ice.


In each white feather.

Double sided pleasure.

the hiss (hiss) of swan power..

(said like a spell)

Power to the wings, so the these ideas will fly,

Cutting like a wing through the humming sky.

Power to the wings, so the these ideas will fly

Cutting like a wing through the humming sky.

(repeat this couplet fading to darkness with the music and lights.)



  1. Pingback: The Lightning Swan. – KAT ROBERTSON

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