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What Happened?

Christopher Roth+Georg Diez+Alexine Sammut
27 min
Conversation
Christopher Roth

September 26, 1980 – in Munich a bomb deposited in a trashcan at the entrance to the Oktoberfest kills 13 people and injures 219, many of whom lose limbs in the explosion. The bomb detonates at 10:20 p.m., just as thousands of visitors are crowding toward the exit. It is beyond dispute that Gundolf Köhler, a university student from the Swabian town of Donaueschingen, made the bomb, took it to Munich and deposited it at the scene of the crime. He is killed, because the bomb goes off too soon.

But even 30 years later his motives will remain unclear. Was he a crazy perpetrator who was acting alone, or did an extremist right-wing group stage a terrorist attack against Germany just nine days before parliamentary elections? The student had ties to Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann, a neo-Nazi organization banned on January 30, 1980. Köhler had taken part in their exercises. Is it really a coincidence that Frank Lauterjung is at the scene of the crime? The key witness to the attack is also a right-wing extremist and he might have been also an informant for Germany's domestic intelligence agency. Lauterjung survives the explosion, even though only a few meters away, because he has a "bad feeling" and throws himself to the ground before the bomb detonates. Investigators questioned Lauterjung at least five times. He will die of heart failure in 1982, when only 38. Lauterjung tells investigators that he noticed Köhler in a loud discussion with two men in green parkas near the site of the crime, about 30 minutes before the explosion. The two men were not among the victims. What the investigators overlook is that Lauterjung is an avowed right-wing extremist. Previously unknown letters, discovered as part of a deceased person's estate, will reveal that in the mid-1960s Lauterjung was in the Bund Heimattreuer Jugend (BHJ), where he served as 'deputy national leader' and 'regional commander.' Members write 'Heil Dir!' as reference to the 'Heil Hitler.' A BHJ leader suspected that Lauterjung had infiltrated the organization, and that he was possibly working for Germany's intelligence. He would sometimes "disappear for four weeks at a time, as if he had been wiped off the face of the earth."


Shortly after he was kicked out of the BHJ, Lauterjung joined the Socialist German Student Union (SDS). Was he following Köhler? Lauterjung claims that, as a gay man, he was looking for sex at a public toilet at the entrance to the Oktoberfest. Lauterjung also says that he believed Köhler was doing the same thing. According to Lauterjung, Köhler was carrying a heavy, cylindrical object in a white plastic bag and a small suitcase. The suitcase disappears without a trace, even though other witnesses say that they have seen it immediately after the bombing. A female passerby says, two young men were standing next to Köhler's body, shouting: "I didn't want it! It's not my fault! Just kill me!" Another woman says that she saw a car with five passengers near the entrance to the Oktoberfest a week ago, just after it was opened. There was a large object wrapped in black material on the back seat. The woman even remembered the license plate: VS-DD 500, a Ford owned by Köhler's father.

  

Not even a trace of the detonating device is found among the pieces at the site. The investigators assume that a faulty fuse had caused the early detonation.

In a 1984 novel, Wehrsportgruppe founder Karl-Heinz Hoffmann will write that the Oktoberfest bomb was detonated by remote control. Are the backers even from Italy? A few weeks before the Oktoberfest bombing, right-wing extremists killed 85 people in Bologna train station. Munich papers receive calls claiming responsibility from "right-wingers in Bologna."

Georg Diez

So this is the setting. The Oktoberfest at night, the exit with the arching sign overhead, a mass of people. The question is: What to do with it, artistically, politically, intellectually. The politicians decided very quickly what to do: They buried the case. They suggested leftist terrorists behind the plot for a short while and then, as right-wing connections became more evident, they shut the case claiming that it was the lone Köhler who commited this atrocity. It would have been too much to bear to have a right-wing conspiracy, escpecially in Bavaria, where things are always better than in the rest of the republic. But the fact remains, the dead remain, they even, as dead often do, resurface. There are new investigations into this crime, there is evidence of a cover-up, there are piles of testimonials that have never been read, there are, and this is what stayed with me most, 47 cigarettes that were found in the car of Köhler, from six different brands, with and without filters. It seems not very likely that Köhler smoked them all himself, six different brands, with and without filters. It points to the fact that he might very likely not have acted alone. And today it would be easy to look for DNA on the cigarettes that would help identify anybody in the car with Köhler. 47 cigarettes. What to do with them? Artistically, it might be a good idea to smoke them with the audience at Lothringerstraße 13, the art space where we are invited to to a presentation on the subject on October 6. Politically or at least police-wise, the answer was: Destroy them. They had been stored to a while together with other evidence, among other things a hand that had been torn off at the blast and was never claimed by any victim and could also not be identified to any victim. All was discarded a few years back. So no evidence in this direction. But like with all catastrophes, the imagination is larger than any evidence. The interesting thing is: I am not sure how present the Attentat is still in Munich memory, in the memory of the place, in the body of the city so to speak.
Christopher and I did this research concerning the years 1980 and 1981 as important years of a shift overlooked by most historians, tendencies that were still in the stage of latency or out in the open but overlooked: end of Communism, end of Capitalism, haha, well, sort of, more like the beginning of radical Capitalism, the rise of radical Islam. And there were other, smaller stories. Like Bologna, where everybody thought the bomb had been planted by left-wing terrorists and where the police and the politicians acted accordingly. A lie maybe more than a truth generates something that in turn becomes undeniably a fact, a truth so to speak. The assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II was such a case where the myth of him being saved by the virgin Mary became so strong that it made him change his policy towards the Soviet Union. Christopher and I restaged and reenacted this event many times, in Zurich, Hamburg, New Delhi among other places. It was always something not quite cathartic, something fun and relieving and at the same time a bit humbling, serious. Like world history turned into a birthday party for an eight-year-old. This is what we want to do with the Oktoberfest Attentat. Sometimes there seems to be an act of exorcism in our work. Not in this case though. It is more about waking up the ghosts.

Georg Diez

On the one hand, the events of September 1980 are well documented. There was a TV feature just yesterday, it was thorough and critical and asked the right questions. What can art do in this context? What is the story we want to tell? What are the connections we want to make? There is, of course, the very nature of fact, the documentation via photos, via witnesses which might or might not generate a true feeling or an insight into what has happened. Was this what the TV feature did? There is the little horror of authenticity that Franz Josef Strauß always elicits. There is the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann. But is there also a different truth? What can we do about this event? One thing I asked myself is: Should we build this modell of the site, of the event? Should we blow it up? And: What does reenactment mean in this context? We did the Pope assassination attempt, this was quite different. What happens if we reenact this event where so many people died? Or does it fit even more into the violent story of these years, the very essence maybe of these years, where assassinations all over the world shocked and up-rooted whole societies, maybe most of all in San Salvador with the bloody civil-war. But also Bologna etc. What is the context of what we see in Munich? Is it only the FJS nostalgia? We will cater to that, we will have the fine silk scarf that Florian Böhm printed. It shows Strauß hunting in Pakistan. What is the connection here? The problem with news is that they show you what you see. They don*t show you what you do not see. This might seem obvious, but it is in fact a ver profound problem with tremendous political consequences. News should be about showing you the things you do not see. This again is a simple technical problem: You cannot see what you cannot see. So how will we resolve this problem? Is it even a problem?

Alexine Sammut

My first thoughts on bombs and bombers as 'loners' go straight to Karin Grech. She died when a letter was delivered by a fingerless carpenter to her doorstep some days after boxing day in '77.

Why? I don't know. How relevant this is to this conversation? I also don't know. But it makes me question the relevence or contribution a reenactment of the oktoberfest attentat could have. I ask simply what? why? and how?

We start with a model of the situation. What is it made of? What does it say? Will the meaning change with scale? Generally speaking, it is easy to fetishize a situation when it is represented in a tiny scale, (think dolls houses and train sets?). It is also however, hard to fall in love with such a bloody event. What do we do with the 47 cigarettes? Do we shed light on other details linked to the scene but conveniently forgotten?

Working with models is usually simple and straightforward if you know your tools, your material, your glue. Here the game changes. The whole point should be the change. From the whole to the fragmented parts - parts which represent an exploded place/victims/story/past... What do we represent? How specific will it be? Maybe it is enough to start, explode, record and repeat. Maybe it's good enough. For now...

Here, in Venice there is no sign of the oktoberfest attentat in 1980 events that shaped architectural discourse. How strange. Maybe it was outnumbered by the Bologna blast. Maybe because simply 85 is bigger than 13. Maybe size does matter in the end.

radical pedagogies by beatriz colomina (venice biennale '14)

Georg Diez

That is an excellent point. Why is Bologna such a memorable event, a strong mark in the history of post-war Italy and a turning point in the political self-understanding of the country - and the Oktoberfestattentat is something like folkloristic, something weird and Bavarian, no context, no narrative that puts the event into a perspective. It was quickly diminished in size and relevance. How could this happen? Everything was there to produce a scandal of sorts. Pictures, dead, a more than popular site. It was a bit like tearing out the heart of Munich. But things were settled fast. This was a political decision by the Strauß government. But why did it work? How did the early-eighties iconographic memory work or not work? As Alexine says, maybe size does matter, for a model, for the dead. 85 versus 13. 85 versus 13. 85 versus 13. Or is there just no narrative for right-wing terror? Just like there is no narrative for right-wing thinking. This is, by the way, what made the other deadly series of right-wing murders possible, the terror trio of the NSU. You need a story to find what you are looking for. This is a paradox. This is politics. How could it happen?

Georg Diez

So after Alexine and I have met, the following suggestion/thought – there is a common link in a lot of narratives about bombs and assassinations, the "loner". We seem to want this narrative, we seem to need it. It makes more sense that somebody might kill alone, it is more comforting. There is, of course, a motive for that; and in the case of the Oktoberfestattentat, it totally worked. The event is more or less erased from memory. 13 deaths. It could have been a major crisis. But nothing. First they blame it on the Left, like the Italians did it in Bologna. Then they blame it on a "verwirrter junger Mann", a sort of delusional young man, the eternal outsider. This drains all the politics out of these actions. This leaves us with carnage. So best fast forget it, fast forward. Bologna is still remembered. Munich is not. Alexine remembers the assassination of Karin Grech. What is the size of memory? What is the shape of death? How can we even grasp what has happened? What is the color of catastrophe? So maybe we do it like this: Three stories in one room, Karin Grech, Gundolf Köhler, Gladio and its role in the Bologna blast. Three languages. Three sites of death. The years 1980 and 1981 were bloody years. There were a lot of dead, a lot of people shot, Reagan, Lennon, there were demonstrators shot in the streets of San Salvador. What do you do with these images, with these stories? How can you access them, store them? We reenacted some of these in yoga positions for the opera we did in Munich. This time we try something else. How can we change the size and shape of memory?

Alexine Sammut

We spoke about walking around/inside the stories. We discussed presence and again scale. We agreed, size matters but is somehow relative. It depends on memory, on understanding, so also on language, politics and translation. So maybe size is personal and the stories’ presence should reflect that and possibly play with it too, mix things up. Logically 85 > 13 > 1 but maybe 1 > 85 < 13.

Phrases could (literally) outline each story, that would outline a memory hence an event. Our lines will be like traces(of each story) in memory, somewhat vague but still very present. We outline this void.

Almost similar to how a chalk outline (temporarily) marks evidence at a crime scene to preserve evidence. Surely ‘happier’ outlines exist. Like Keith Haring’s murals of technicolor, traces of forever dancing silhouettes.

tuttomondon; keith haring 1989 mural in Pisa

We spoke about forgotten details, again the cigarettes, the fingers (or lack of), those triggers ...surely there are more.

We could walk around/inside it. We could listen to the story in a language we might not comprehend but simultaneously read about it in BIG BOLD PRINT or in tiny tiny type somewhere else. We connect the shape with the sound and we mix things up but we remember. Also, what do we take away? What does this leave us with? Possibly new traces?

Still, what is the colour? What is outside? What draws the line? Is there a pattern?

This is how it could start. This is how it could be.

Georg Diez

I think we should overload with images. Make a wall like the walls in Homeland or The Wire. Pin images together as if we look for traces. But these images are all screwed up. They might make sense, but in a different way. Like the blog that Christopher did totally makes sense in a different Godardian way. Take a look: http://www.8081.biz/ There is such a nice element of the unknown in all of this which. We could recreate this misunderstanding.

Christopher Roth

Jean Baudrillard:
a) In this system, death itself shines by virtue of its absence. (The Bologna train station, the Oktoberfest in Munich: the dead are annulled by indifference, that is where terrorism is the involuntary accomplice of the whole system, not politically, but in the accelerated form of indifference that it contributes to imposing.) Death no longer has a stage, neither phantasmatic nor political, on which to represent itself, to play itself out, either a ceremonial or a violent one. And this is the victory of the other nihilism, of the other terrorism, that of the system.
There is no longer a stage, not even the minimal illusion that makes events capable of adopting the force of reality -- no more stage either of mental or political solidarity: what do Chile, Biafra, the boat people, Bologna, or Poland matter? All of that comes to be annihilated on the television screen. We are in the era of events without consequences (and of theories without consequences).
On Nihilism, 1980

 

Jean-Louis Bruguière:
80*81: You also found a connection to the attack in 1980, on the Oktoberfest in Munich?
Jean-Louis Bruguière: We were sure that the terrorists of the Rue des Rosiers had contacts with the extreme right and the Nazi groups. The DGSE, the Diréction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, the French external intelligence agency, passed me the information that two of the attackers had striking similarity to two German neo-Nazis, Walter Kexel and Odfried Hepp. Hepp was trained by Fatah in a camp in Lebanon, from June 1980 until July 1981. Their antisemitism and antizionism went well with the Palestinian movement. He called himself ‘Youssouf’ and tried to set up a PLO cell in Frankfurt. He is a strong suspect for the bombing in Munich that killed 13 people.

80*81:
Jean-Louis Bruguière was the most important “juge d‘instruction”, as these clandestine researchers are called in France. He became a judge in 1973. He was dealing with local criminal affairs in Normandy. He moved to Paris in 1976, still in charge of small affairs. He transferred to organized crime in 1978 and in 1981 his career exploded. In 1986 he formed an anti-terrorism division in Paris. A year later his apartment was targeted in a grenade attack; Bruguière continued his fight. In 1994, he captured Carlos the Jackal, one of world's most wanted terrorists. Possibly his biggest case was that of UTA Flight 772 which was sabotaged over the Sahara Desert in 1989 with the loss of 170 lives. Bruguière had six Libyans prosecuted in Paris and convicted in absentia. In 2004, at the height of his career, Bruguière was appointed vice-president of the Paris Court of Serious Claims. He was responsible for the indictment of Rwandan president Paul Kagame for the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994. In 2007, Bruguière left his civil function as a magistrate and became a candidate for Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP conservative party. He was defeated by his Socialist competitor.

Christopher Roth

I like the drawings on the floor.
More than a model-model. I think we should create a situation. Columns of wisdom/whispering could work.
Answers more than questions. The answers though don’t have to be true.

What do we repeat today?
Is it the NSU? Many same coordinates (involvement of services/ non-interest of police) suicides and deaths of important witnesses.

As Don DeLillo pointed out in MAO II and what the German Baader Meinhoff Group did so well is producing images. Images of destruction in the news which recall atrocities (like those in Vietnam) but re-enacted in front of our own door.

These were not the images right wing groups would want to create. Anyway the right wing affiliations of the Oktoberfest offender(s) suggests that the attack was carried out within the scope of the ‘strategy of tension’ (in which terrorist attacks by far-right militant organizations were staged by internal state operatives to convince the populace to accept more authoritarian exercises of government power.

Blame the left.

Such strategies have been identified with the top secret NATO stay-behind operation Gladio. Bologna train station a few weeks before the Munich bombing. Right-wing extremists killing 85 people. Munich papers receive calls claiming responsibility from ‘right wingers in Bologna.’ Tobias von Heymann found reports in the archives of East German intelligence, STASI, which make a connection between Gladio, NATO Stay Behind agents, and the Oktoberfest bombing.

Why does nobody talk about Gladio’ involvment now?

The new witness talked about men following her in cars.

The Oktoberfest in Munich is a hedonist and decadent beer festival just to get drunk, to get laid, to party in traditional costumes. All these foreigners having so much fun. Imagine the loser Köhler going around and hating all this. Like an Islamist.

Besides the analyses going on about ISIS that they only recruit Losers I think there is also this romantic idea of being a terrorist, give meaning to your life, fighting for the right thing. But as Zizek pointed out ISIS only fight their own temptation. What did/do the right wingers fight? For the Vaterland, against Communism, the Left. Or their temptations.

Christopher Roth

The Bologna Massacre
In Bologna, a terrorist attack at the central train station kills 85 and wounds 200. The event will become known as the Bologna Massacre. At 10:25 AM, with the train station filled with tourists, a time bomb— constructed from TNT, T4 and compound B—detonates in a suitcase placed inside a waiting room. The explosion destroys most of the main building and reaches the Ancona–Chiasso train waiting on the first platform. The roof of the waiting room collapses onto the passengers, increasing the total number of casualties. The city is unprepared for such a catastrophe. Ambulances are overwhelmed by the number of victims, and buses and taxis are enlisted to transport the injured to hospitals.
Blame for the attacks is placed on the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari. General Pietro Musumeci, second in command of the military intelligence agency SISMI and—as will be revealed in 1981—a member of the P2 Masonic lodge, will forge evidence in order to charge two leaders of Terza Posizione in exile with the crime. The exiles accuse Musumeci of trying to divert attention from Propaganda Due and Licio Gelli, head of P2. In 1988, four neo-fascists will receive life terms: Valerio Fioravanti, his wife Francesca Mambro, Massimiliano Fachini, and Sergio Picciafuoco. Leader of P2, Licio Gelli, Francesco Pazienza, Pietro Musumeci, and Giuseppe Belmonte, receive sentences for slandering the investigation.
In 1990, an appeals court cancels the convictions of the four neo-fascists, as well as those of Gelli and Pazienza. A retrial is held in 1995 and the Corte di Cassazione issues the final sentence, upholding the life sentences for the neo-fascists and members of the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari, and convicting Gelli, Pazienza, and the SISMI officers of investigation diversion. In 2004, Luigi Ciavardini, who was 17 years old at the time, receives a 30–year prison sentence for his role in the attack and the subsequent assassination of Judge Mario Amato in June 1980. In 2006, the lawyer of Argentine AAA (Alianza Anticomunista Argentina) member Rodolfo Almirón declares that it is ‘probable that Almirón participated—along with Stefano Delle Chiaie and Augusto Cauchi—in the 1980 bombing in Bologna’s train station.’ However, the Argentine Supreme Court refuses, in 1998, to extradite Cauchi to Italy. In 2008, former Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga alleges that PLO-affiliated terrorists from George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were responsible for the bombing. PFLP denies responsibility.
In view of the SISMI and P2 involvement, as well as the right wing affiliations of the offenders, it is believed that the attack was carried out within the scope of the ‘strategy of tension’ in which terrorist attacks by far-right militant organizations were staged by internal state operatives to convince the populace to accept more authoritarian exercises of government power.
Such strategies have been identified with the top secret NATO stay-behind operation Gladio.
In Italy, the August 2, will be designated as a memorial day for all terrorist massacres. The station will be reconstructed, but the flooring and a deep crack in the main wall will remain untouched. Moreover, the station clock will be forever stopped at 10:25, the exact time of the explosion.

Christopher Roth

Another Right Wing Bombing
April 30, 1981, the Riocentro bombing ends up killing sergeant Pereira do Rosário and hurting captain Machado both from Brazil’s armed forces’ intelligence unit. The bomb went off early in the parking of the Riocentro convention center. It was destined to go off with other bombs during a concert with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil when 20,000 people celebrated May Day. The incident, never fully investigated, occurred at a turning point in Brazil, after the huge metal workers’ strikes at the end of the 1970s, (later-president) Lula founding the PT and soon after going to prison. During General-President Figueiredo’s ('the last dictator') mandate, from 1979 to 1985, Brazil goes into a deep recession and he will be remembered as the worst leader the country ever had. Leaving power he says: "I want people to forget me."

Christopher Roth

I tried to buy a hand (blutige Hand) today. At Maskworld. All sold out because of Halloween.

Christopher Roth

Metamodernism:
Return of History was brilliant.“
(with Francis Fukuyama)

Alexine Sammut

Scenario:
Malta. It’s 12:00, December 28 1977. Karen aged 15 and her little brother are home alone. A letter is delivered to their doorstep (we later find out he was a fingerless carpenter?). The small parcel was delivered whilst doctors in Malta were on strike (they had issues with the Labour Government at the time). The girl opens the parcel thinking it must be a Christmas gift. It works. The letter bomb explodes. She dies. At her funeral they say that this was “the first terrorist act in the country”.

Another letter bomb is delivered to Dr Chetcuti Caruana on the same day at the same time. He gets suspicious and asks his family to leave the house. He is right but the bomb is faulty. It doesn’t work. He lives. Later people blame him for Karen’s death.

Both bombs were semtex bombs that were activated as the lid is removed. Semtex is a plastic explosive, said to be used by IRA  at the time.

The case remains unsolved. The suspects are a small number of Maltese doctors who reside in England and had close ties to the Nationalist party at the time and were closely connected to IRA who were mainly influenced by left-wing thinkers.

Some wonder if it is really sheer coincidence that this happened while the conservative Nationalist party where in opposition and stopped when they got into government in 1987 (some say they openly admired fascist Mussolini’s Italy pre and post WWII).

more...

In 1977, Chetcuti Caruana was a passionate spokesman in Malta Labour Party. He was then investigated in one of the most mysterious tragedies to have taken place in Malta - the killing of Karin Grech. 

He was working at St Luke’s Hospital with Karin’s father Edwin Grech. Both were responsible for recruiting doctors during the doctors’ general strike. There were six doctors at the time. Karin’s father a gynecologist, had been working abroad but was asked to return to work in Malta. Dr Paul had close ties with Dom Mintoff (il-Perit, meaning the architect). He was the leader of the Labour Party at the time. Later Dr. Grech had been told not to return to Malta because they had no use for him here. Threats followed; don’t forget you have children.

11:45am December 28, 1977. It was a sunny day. The parcel had a palm print on it, the same palm print found on Karen Grech’s letter. Whoever was carrying it must have held on to it very tightly for fear the lid would come off. (Semtex bombs are commonly made to go off as soon as the lid is lifted.) Scotland Yard and the Italian Guardie came to investigate further. It turns out that the terminals were rusty preventing contact with the plastic and the bomb from setting off.

Dr Paul somehow realized it was a bomb. His family thought he was crazy, especially his father, who knew he had a fetish for secret service and military paraphernalia. He says he is not surprised for being one of the prime suspects. He was receiving anonymous phone calls just three days prior to the bombing attempt. Once, his wife answered one of these calls and heard requiem chants in the background. She pleaded her husband to quit Parliament.

During Karen’s funeral, the Archbishop broke into tears. This was the first terrorist act to have taken place in Malta. After Karin’s autopsy report, Pearl Grech (Karen’s mum) was visiting doctors’ wives, shaking the report in her hand, asking them if they had done this to her. Some said to ask ‘the mad man from Mosta Dr Cetchuti Caruana.....his bomb did not explode!’ Cetchuti Caruana was in deep distress. He cried. He was being questioned on how and were he sticks stamps to envelopes. It turns out that the address on Karen’s parcel was incorrect and the stamp was on the left hand side of the letter.

In 1991 he asked Nationalist Prime Minister if he had framed him back then. In 1995 Scotland Yard detectives said that this was clearly a political crime and those involved were leading politicians. He believes these bombs were a threat to Mintoff. His radical social reforms and his stand on Malta’s neutrality landed the government in hot waters at the time. Maltese doctors residing in London had close ties to IRA and were also suspected but never proven guilty. Forensic experts in 2011 revealed that after 34 years the investigators are still seeking fingerprints and other clues from 119 suspects. The plot is said to have hatched in the offices of the Medical Students Association where a telephone directory, envelopes and typewrites were all used there. A well known criminal with experience in explosives was commissioned to prepare these bombs, naturally at a price and perhaps blackmail as well. A very good carpenter - referred to in a Scotland Yard report, was engaged to prepare the small wooden  container with two narrow compartments in it, which held the battery and explosive. The same person also used to allow the medical students and the other people to enter the legal office. Another person carried and posted the parcel bombs, one in Sliema and the other in Mosta. This person is likely to have been the same carpenter. He must have had several missing fingers, an occupational hazard commonly found amongst carpenters. It’s probably why palm prints where more evident then finger prints on the envelopes.

The case remains unsolved. The trauma remains.

Alexine Sammut

Georg Diez

Left terror creates images and right terror destroys images. This is certainly true for the Oktoberfestattentat and the NSU. But does this also work the other way around: Terror that creates images is left terror and terror that destroys images is right terror? Where does that leave 9/11 or the Oklahoma bombing? At least it explains - beyond the mean-spirited stupidity and the political cunning - what Franz Josef Strauß meant when he said, about the Oktoberfestattentat, that right terrorist "don't do" that kind of thing. He believed that an image had been created. He was wrong. And helped bury everything that had to do with it, images, narratives, effectively deleting the memory od the event from German memory. With the consequence that right terror was "inexistant" when the NSU started killing. Which was one reason - apart from mean-spirited rassism and police cunning - that the investigation focused on inner Turkish feuds and drug crimes and not anti-foreigner excess.

Groin Gazing

17.09.14
6 min
Conversation

It’s a way of seeing. I recall what you said about the American Apparel Ad, the staging of men in position usually occupied by women, its seeming unworkability – which arises from the strangeness of seeing men occupy a position that is not theirs, so to speak. This and in a way what you say of Gambia is a reason I detest a certain kind of “feminist,” whose notion of liberation means women positioning men in ways long occupied by women.
That is to say, the legitimization (by women) of women as bitches. In response to the deliberate invisibility of the female gaze, yes, I do think that male and female erotic responses to visual stimuli are culturally conditioned. What you say about your mother and her friends reminds me of a story my mother told me some time ago: The first time she set eyes on my father’s village champion wrestler. (My mother is from the coast, so the concept of half-naked men engaged in wrestling was alien to her.) She was twenty and newly-married. What a sight he cut: His loin-cloth barely covering his heavy buttocks, and the women of the village chanting praises a safe distance behind.
So, yes, I think Kinsey’s female non-erotic response to visual stimuli is not biological. I want to pursue Gambia a bit further. To challenge my preconception, if I accept prostitution as an act of violence a woman commits against herself for material gain, am I merely reconfirming a mindset? Do I see male prostitutes in this light? Is male prostitution also an irreparable damage, an irreversible destruction of a human body? Are male and female commercial sex the same thing? I think it’s safe to say that with both male and female prostitution, men and women are both mauled by the reduction of sexuality and sexual fulfillment to having as many orgasms as often as possible.
Part of the thrill of commercial sex, at least for men who use the services of female prostitutes, is the power play. Is there, I wonder, a transfer of power to these women who go to Gambia during the sexual encounter? This takes me back to Milbrath’s photos and how men and women are sexually positioned: Is it about what could be done to this male body, or what this body could do to them – for these pleasure-seeking European women? In what way does the fact that, historically, men have held a sexual dominance affect our perception of male prostitutes? Is not our general perception of men in society one of power, domination?
Do we ever look at these Gambian males as being exploited by the European women – because of their material circumstances – the same way we’d look if they were female? I find it really interesting, your experience in Gambia, your use of market terminology. In a market driven society, form is usually passed off as content. Since naked cash is the sole nexus between individuals, what common ground could exist between men and women except as buyers and sellers? Again, on the legitimization by women of themselves as bitches. Does the availability of commercial male bodies – in strip clubs and the Gambia – signify the arrival of equality, liberation?
I can understand why the male strip club did not work for you, the same way commercial male sex did not. Neither signified liberation, but rather a buying into ugly reality. They do not in any way challenge our reality. I do wonder, however, to reference the Völkerschauen, if a modified version of it is enacted on the beaches of Gambia and Mombassa. It seems to me, these sex tourists who come to the Gambia are more comfortable with black males they can lead around with an invisible leash and make to perform. (I find what you say about the Völkerschauen really interesting.) It is possible to agree with Freud – in reference to your comments about the cliche of the female need to shroud herself with darkness, her need to hide her desire – that every sexual act is “a process in which four persons are involved.”
One can extend this to also include the preconceptions about ourselves and each other both sexes bring to the act. The one responds to the other – during the act – not truthfully, but according to his/her own externally-imposed preconception. Identity is constructed from birth. It is safe to say that, distance tend to develop between women and their body. This distance is culturally constructed. In a way, I think this is expressed by the myth of Immaculate Conception: the construction of female sexuality in reproductive terms – to exclude the vagina and clitoris.
A woman, what is she? A womb, an ovary. As an aside, I’m thinking of Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina. To what extent does it speak to female shame to never go down there?
It is possible that to the traditionalist-minded, McCartney’s images (so unlike the astonishing leveling out of uniqueness in porn’s designer vaginas), from the most intimate world of women, which had always remained hidden from the eyes of women themselves is an excursion to the dark side of art. A person can either submit to this imposed identity, or seek to reconstruct herself on her own terms, to resist all attacks against her sense of self. (It must be said, however, that easy access to male flesh – on ‘female terms’ – and the staging of the male body does not in anyway constitute resistance to attacks against self.)
With Milbrath, there’s no attempt to go beyond the surface, to look beyond stereotype. There’s, in this gaze, no questioning. My reality of being male is not validated by mainstream imaginings of men. I’d managed to hang on to my own sense of self all through the crisis of adolescence and the pressures to conform. It is for this reason I make my male protagonists deliberately feminine. (The most powerful men are men who are not afraid to be feminine. Machismo is cover for insecurity.) I’d translated my discontent into new images with which I seek to undermine conventional perceptions of black male sexuality. For me, it’s not just the sex. I particularly like the shared silence, the talking, and the taking breaks, the nonsexual caresses.
I like that it is not just the sex. The commodification of love expresses itself in the fetishization of sex, that is, sex stripped of its human quality, stripped of tenderness. To accept this is to accommodate oneself to a life without beauty.

Alexine Sammut
People

Alexine loves patterns. She makes patterns that soften the world’s inherent hardness. It and she are a subtle solution to problems that you were only vaguely aware of only until it all becomes very clear. Her and the patterns are about joy in the end. You can sink in or bounce softly back on your feet as she does.

On Love

14.09.14
2 min
Conversation

Which would mean that “lover” is an abstract term that can be applied to very different circumstances. It would cover the intimate moment in the cinema with the daughter and the glimpse of a woman passing you on the street, the movement of a body, a strain of hair, cheekbones, it can be the wife or the husband in a sexual way that goes beyond the routine of marriage, it can be the exception of the rule or just the foolish notion that you can break free from the limitations of time and life, for this one moment, for this one night, it can be a story you like to believe in or a cat or even a tree. There is a liberating aspect to this interpretation of the word “lover”. It ignores any preconditions of what may or may not be appropriate, it ignores the limitations of love which is defined by sex and opens it up to this at the same time. It all comes down to one word, a contradiction, I would still claim, because really it is more a wish than a real possibility: intimacy. There is always a boundary that seperates you from one another. Love might in the end always be self-love, which might not even be a problem. Everything else might be a delusion. You get something from loving but not really what you expect or want. You get something from being loved but not necessarily what you are looking for. In a way “lover” could thus be an ideal state of mind. It is more about the idea of love and less about its physical manifestation. It is about a sensual connection to the world, about listening and looking. To be a lover means to be in the world.

Groin Gazing

13.09.14
7 min
Conversation

I like your first remark, it makes me think of how situations and subjects become invisible by our preconceptions. So, even though they exist in real life they are doomed not to matter. I have no doubt that women were always gazing and desiring men. They were just not encouraged to do so. The female gaze was made invisible and a deliberate blind spot of society, in order to uphold hierarchies about who was empowered to desire and herewith control the other sex. But the “blind spots” of my own gaze got awfully clear to me, once when I was traveling through Gambia. Gambia has a reputation now of European women seeking male prostitutes.
When I was there about ten years ago, I was approached by men in that way but I couldn’t see myself as a customer of people who prostitute themselves. I didn’t understand the signs. It took me a while before I actually got that they wanted me to be their “sugar mommy.”
It was all very confusing. To understand that these men could see me as a customer of their bodies, their sexuality and somehow also of their integrity, was very alien to me. Because I never learned in our culture that I could buy a man. It reminds me of an article I wrote years ago for a daily newspaper in Germany about my experience in a strip show by men for women.
The whole event didn’t work out for me, because I was turned off: I felt awkward due to how staged that seemed. It was so clearly trying to create a market niche where women cheer at men’s bodies. There was nothing liberating about it, quite the contrary: instead of trying something new, it just copied a vulgar Ibiza-style. I couldn’t enjoy it, because my enjoyment would clearly buy into an ugly consumerism.
On the other hand my mother told me that she attended a Chippendale show with some girlfriends. She comes from a generation where this gazing was not permitted and encouraged (even though, of course, it took place among her girlfriends. My mother actually told me that she enjoyed going out with her girl-gang checking out boys much more than actually having a boyfriend). So her experience had an air of liberation and equality, instead of oppression and corruption. I enjoyed listening to her experience.
But that is, of course, just one side of the story. I think you are right with your observations on the Völkerschau: I want to add that, as Joshua Kwesi Aikins emphasizes in his research, the Völkerschau stopped in the 1940s not because they were seen as inhuman, but because some participants undertook some actions which were just too subversive for the German audiences:
E.g. some Africans compared the “tribal” dances they had to perform to the “tribal” dances in Germany – the Schuhplattler, some wore suits instead of “traditional tribal costumes” (which were, as well as the dances, of course, totally made up from German exhibitors’ imagination) – and, here it comes, looked back at the German audience with a lorgnette, an instrument which symbolizes sophistication, civilization and the arts.
All this exposed the vulgar racism of the Völkerschauen which thus could not pretend to be the climax of civilization. Africans looking back with a lorgnette put themselves in a position of higher culture than the Whites who rather behaved like going to a fairground attraction.
That, by the way, is a story totally ignored by the German history canon, where Africans – if they are acknowledged as victims of oppression at all – are hardly represented with their agenda and subjectivity. That also played into my confusion about Gambian male sexworkers.
I remember one night where a man in Gambia offered me his service and when I friendly declined he said, we could also make love without the penis. I found that offer quite remarkable and was wondering if it was something he liked personally or if this offer was accustomed to European clients of his sexwork, who want to be assured that the offered service is directed – with a focus on the clitoris rather than her vagina – at her pleasure.
As an assurance not to be penetrated by a man who might turn out to be selfish. Of course, it could also mean he thought that Europeans were scared of STDs. But also in relation to colonialism, poverty and sexwork, I find it very powerful when you say, through its myths, an image of male and female sexuality was produced that deprives sexuality of its humanity, because you indicate how the way we learned to gaze defines also our action and relation to each other.
A classic cliche is that women tell men to switch out the light when they have sex. She is too ashamed to be all exposed for the man to see her flaws (thus she perceives herself that she has to be the perfect object of his desire) and see her excitement about him.
Because she looks needy and horny, she is afraid that her arousal looks ridiculous to him. The act that is supposed to be about total pleasure and melting into each other, lust and togetherness is forbidden, she is stuck in her own self-consciousness. So, watching my boyfriend under the shower is an attempt to connect to him, maybe as an attempt to create true intimacy, when we overcame his shame.
And here, as well as with my experience with the male sexworker, we also come back to your question “Is a non-erect penis not part of male eroticism?” A question I really liked very much. It is the eroticism of expectation, surprise, exposure, the absence of danger or force, as well as the intimate honesty and care of someone who cannot “perform”.
A non-erect penis is an offer of intimacy without the force of a man’s will, exploring each other’s body, without the need of penetration (and thus avoiding the possibility of the man to totally take over, which is by the way exactly the point of a particular debate about rape: a woman’s NO has to be respected at all points of an ongoing sexual encounter, even if she consented in the beginning, for the man might turn out during the play to be selfish or rude or violent).
A non-erect penis can be an offer for more time and space and sometimes depth in a sexual encounter for there is no need for a specific play and an orgasm. Also it is the aftermath, the cuddling and warmth after sex, when we lie in bed all wet and happy.
And that also is a quality feminist porn has in store. It is much more diverse, than just focusing on the male body for a female audience. It also includes a lot of signifiers for women to feel safe and not objectified, for example, they show the use of condoms and the play with the clitoris.
The models don’t have to represent unrealistic beauty standards, it’s not too clean and sterile, and often transcend strict gender signifiers, utilizing imagery we didn’t expect. It’s about having fun and not being objects. It gives space for non-standard sex. Often the actors are being interviewed so you learn about their perspectives, why they like what they do.
This enables a whole turnaround of the cage of the clear-cut images of women being “taken” by men. Like my friend Bini Adamczak came up with the term circumclusion instead of “being penetrated”. It emphasizes a perspective of activity and sovereignty by women. A women circumcludes a penis.

Über Bayern

12.09.14
4 min
Conversation

Raphael, first of all, welcome to this exploring journey alongside the Bayern Munich team. I expect this season 14/15 to become the most important in the club’s recent history. Two reasons: The biggest factor for the team’s international rise since 2010 with appearances in three out of four Champions League Finals, winning in 2013, winning the Club Teams World Champions and the European Supercup, has gone – the legendary and uncomparable successful Uli Hoeneß has left Bayern, unfortunately because of some tax-trouble. Secondly: Pep Guardiola, in consequence of this, has taken control over the sportive branding of the Bayern Munich style of football, it seems. But what is his approach after a nearly satisfying first year, winning both national titles with Bayern, the Championship and the Cup?
Hoeneß always follows the idea of collecting the best German players and – ever since 2008 – enhance them with outstanding internationals like Luca Toni, Ribéry, Robben, Thiago, now Lewandowsky. Simple idea, hard to implement. The massive influence of Bayern Munich players during the World Cup that ended with an epic victory over Argentine in the final, proved Hoeneß right.
Pep Guardiola again has his very specific view on football. He reflects on the perfect length of the grass on the pitch, the beauty of the game, and he demands a pushy offensive, ball-possessing, best vertical, preferably one-two-touch football-concept. His philosophy, his taste for a three-defender-chain, a many-legged midfield without a true striker, is favored as the cherry on the cake of modern concept-football. Perfect for Barca. But perfect for Bayern, who broke the Barca-Code in their Champions League Campaign 2013? Thus far the Guardiola-Bayern have neglected the importance of Plan B: a more defense basic order, when needed. Real Madrid took advantage of that problem when it beats Bayern in both of the Champions League Semi-finals last season. I believe, if Guardiola won’t adjust to the unique qualities the Bayern Squad has always shown in controlling a match based on defensive order and resistance, he will not be as successful as he could be.
What confused me after the season’s start three weeks ago with a fishy draw at Champions League participant Schalke is the transfer-politics of late August. Guardiola tried to convince his loyal leader for many Barca years, Xavi, to follow him to Munich. Xavi rejected Guardiola’s plea, as he doesn’t ever want to fight against Barca. So, next step for Guardiola and the Bayern management was to sign Xabi Alonso. Xavi and Alonso played successfully together, as very diffferent, complementary players. What does this tell us about the strategic direction of the “new” Bayern Munich team? Alonso stands for more defensive controll in a traditional way. At the same time Guardiola is further experimenting with a three-defender-line, although he obviously is lacking the players for this experiment, first of all Martínez, and he, so far, isn’t counting on Badstuber, who can give structure to the game’s layout.
Still, there is plenty of injured worldclass missing such as Martínez, Thiago, Schweinsteiger. Still there is worldclass that has to be kissed alive such as Götze. Already I can say, that Dante is facing his last season with Bayern, as Benatia has not been bought for 30 Million Euros as an additional force. I believe, that Lahm is better the best rightback in football’s presence than a Guardiola-solider in the rear midfield, responsible for the buildup. There is worldclass all around, but I can’t see it clearly now. I wouldn’t even care about many spanish players and coaches, Spanish fitness-supervisers and personal advisers that Guardiola needs to know in his back. I care about, if any of those, who are in charge instead of Hoeneß, either Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl Hopfner (new President und Chairman of the Board) or Pep Guardiola, if these people will go as one: with the same future-agenda of what Bayern Munich should stand for – as a Club, as a team, as a system. Rummenigge is on the decisive middle-position in this triangle of power. If he serves the balls well, Bayern Munich will create something!

Über Bayern

12.09.14
1 min
Conversation

Christopher, how do you see this Bayern team one month into the new season? I have rarely been less sure about their prospects, I have to confess. Not necessarily in the sense that they will be bad – they can’t be, not with that squad – but in terms of just how good they actually are or could be in a few months time. What do you think?

Raphael Honigstein
People

The first time I remember seeing Raphael Honigstein in his role as Raphael Honigstein was in the early nineties in Munich, it was at a concert of De La Soul where the Stereo MCs might or might not have been the opening act and might or might not been the reason why we were all there, and Raphael was wearing a soccer jersey. It might have been green, this soccer jersey, and it might have belonged to an English club. Then again: Is there an English club with green jerseys? You see, this was the time before soccer became a universal pop culture, it was the time when pop itself was still a pop culture and educated people spent a lot of time discussing the distinctions of this sneaker versus that. Raphael was good at that, too. But he moved on. He went to London about a million years ago when, it seems, Damian Hirst was still young and the battle between Blur and Oasis had just been resolved one way or another. These were the nineties, mind you, a presumably boring decade that turned out to have been really fun. What brought Raphael to London? I am not sure. Maybe it was a huntch, maybe, as is his talent, in taste, music, dressing, he knew of the things to come. All I know is: When I met him over tea in London in 2013, soccer had become much more than a huge business, it had become one of the defining cultural codes of our time. And Raphael was at the center of it. There is power and there is money in this game now. Raphael is aware of that, and he likes it. It made him into the Raphael Honigstein of today: He writes about soccer for the Guardian, he tweets to his many knowing followers he is an expert on TV. But most of all, he is still a fan, like me, of his home town team: Bayern Munich. When we met over the years at various games in Madrid or London, Bayern was still, it seemed, an underdog. This has changed. But, I wonder, will this last? And, Raphael, what is next?

Christopher Keil
People

I always wonder how a brain works that can unfold a long-past game of soccer as if it were a christmas present from which layer after layer are torn off and then put back on, and if the question arises which color the right corner of the interior wrapping had been, the answer is without hesitation: red. This is how Christopher’s brain works. I might be good at reading books, he definitely knows how to read games, how to recount them and reconstruct them after thoroughly analyzing them. It is a historiographical wonder, the blur that a game of soccer becomes almost instantly, but certainly after it is over and months and years have passed, and the clarity that Christopher brings to it, the way each player moved, how he should have moved, could have moved. He remembers games not only how they were but also how they could have been. That is the poetic beauty of the speculative approach to watching soccer. There is an epic dimension to how he views the game, a knowledge of the minutiae and details, Philipp Lahm 2010 versus 2014 or the problems of Toni Kroos when he needs to be a leader – and from this he creates the scenario of an ideal game to which he compares what has really taken place. It is phantastic, we went to London, Madrid, Barcelona and Milan together, we talked about games we both had seen, and all I remembered was the red, white and blue of the emblem of Bayern Munich, not even the face of one of the players involved, and for Christopher it was like he had the whole game on his mind as if it were on youtube. With Christopher, soccer becomes something else, it can be an occasion for friendship, a reading of the world or a work-out for the mind. Unfortunately, he stopped writing about soccer a few years ago. For us, he is doing it again.

Über Bayern

Raphael Honigstein+Christopher Keil
9 min
Conversation
Raphael Honigstein

Christopher, how do you see this Bayern team one month into the new season? I have rarely been less sure about their prospects, I have to confess. Not necessarily in the sense that they will be bad – they can’t be, not with that squad – but in terms of just how good they actually are or could be in a few months time. What do you think?

Christopher Keil

Raphael, first of all, welcome to this exploring journey alongside the Bayern Munich team. I expect this season 14/15 to become the most important in the club's recent history. Two reasons: The biggest factor for the team's international rise since 2010 with appearances in three out of four Champions League Finals, winning in 2013, winning the Club Teams World Champions and the European Supercup, has gone - the legendary and uncomparable successful Uli Hoeneß has left Bayern, unfortunately because of some tax-trouble. Secondly: Pep Guardiola, in consequence of this, has taken control over the sportive branding of the Bayern Munich style of football, it seems. But what is his approach after a nearly satisfying first year, winning both national titles with Bayern, the Championship and the Cup?
Hoeneß always follows the idea of collecting the best German players and – ever since 2008 – enhance them with outstanding internationals like Luca Toni, Ribéry, Robben, Thiago, now Lewandowsky. Simple idea, hard to implement. The massive influence of Bayern Munich players during the World Cup that ended with an epic victory over Argentine in the final, proved Hoeneß right.
Pep Guardiola again has his very specific view on football. He reflects on the perfect length of the grass on the pitch, the beauty of the game, and he demands a pushy offensive, ball-possessing, best vertical, preferably one-two-touch football-concept. His philosophy, his taste for a three-defender-chain, a many-legged midfield without a true striker, is favored as the cherry on the cake of modern concept-football. Perfect for Barca. But perfect for Bayern, who broke the Barca-Code in their Champions League Campaign 2013? Thus far the Guardiola-Bayern have neglected the importance of Plan B: a more defense basic order, when needed. Real Madrid took advantage of that problem when it beats Bayern in both of the Champions League Semi-finals last season. I believe, if Guardiola won't adjust to the unique qualities the Bayern Squad has always shown in controlling a match based on defensive order and resistance, he will not be as successful as he could be.
What confused me after the season's start three weeks ago with a fishy draw at Champions League participant Schalke is the transfer-politics of late August. Guardiola tried to convince his loyal leader for many Barca years, Xavi, to follow him to Munich. Xavi rejected Guardiola's plea, as he doesn't ever want to fight against Barca. So, next step for Guardiola and the Bayern management was to sign Xabi Alonso. Xavi and Alonso played successfully together, as very diffferent, complementary players. What does this tell us about the strategic direction of the "new" Bayern Munich team? Alonso stands for more defensive controll in a traditional way. At the same time Guardiola is further experimenting with a three-defender-line, although he obviously is lacking the players for this experiment, first of all Martínez, and he, so far, isn't counting on Badstuber, who can give structure to the game's layout.
Still, there is plenty of injured worldclass missing such as Martínez, Thiago, Schweinsteiger. Still there is worldclass that has to be kissed alive such as Götze. Already I can say, that Dante is facing his last season with Bayern, as Benatia has not been bought for 30 Million Euros as an additional force. I believe, that Lahm is better the best rightback in football's presence than a Guardiola-solider in the rear midfield, responsible for the buildup. There is worldclass all around, but I can't see it clearly now. I wouldn't even care about many spanish players and coaches, Spanish fitness-supervisers and personal advisers that Guardiola needs to know in his back. I care about, if any of those, who are in charge instead of Hoeneß, either Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl Hopfner (new President und Chairman of the Board) or Pep Guardiola, if these people will go as one: with the same future-agenda of what Bayern Munich should stand for - as a Club, as a team, as a system. Rummenigge is on the decisive middle-position in this triangle of power. If he serves the balls well, Bayern Munich will create something!

Raphael Honigstein

You touch on many interesting points – and I’m not sure I have many satisfactory answers. But here’s how I see it from this side of the channel. I agree with you that 2014/15 is shaping up to be very important season. But then again, what season hasn’t been truly important, in one way or the other, in recent history? 2007 marked the beginning of big names at Bayern (Toni, Ribéry), then there was Jürgen Klinsmann, then van Gaal, Heynckes… and now: Pep 2.0. The unresolved issues surrounding the club’s leadership aside, there’s essentially one over-riding question: Will Bayern win the Champions League? I think that’s the only trophy that really matters. Guardiola had a shot at it last season and missed badly. This will be his second attempt. There’ll be a third one – either way – but I don’t believe he’ll stick around beyond 2016. That basically amounts to a two-year window of opportunity, for this team, and this coach. Bayern will remain competitive beyond his stay but it’ll be a different side, with the likes of Schweinsteiger, Robben, Ribéry and maybe Lahm, too, losing ground to different, younger players. Guardiola can either win the Champions League – or fail. And if he fails again, it’s a matter of how he fails. The Real Madrid tie plunged the club into a short but sharp crisis of confidence. Guardiola felt misunderstood. Some of that carried over in the summer, I think, when he was offered Sami Khedira by the board after losing one of his favourite players in Toni Kroos but by and large, things are pretty calm now. It will stay like that, until crunch time comes in early spring. As far as the Spanish transfers are concerned, I don’t see them as part of a wider strategy. Guardiola felt that there would be a problem in midfield, for at least the first half of the season, and Xabi Alonso presented an obvious solution. He’s there to do a job, in the absence of others. It’s stop-gap signing. And a very, very good one, at that.

Christopher Keil

Ich müsste eigentlich loben. Acht Spieltage sind vorüber, ein Viertel der Saison immerhin. Die Bayern haben sich an der Tabellenspitze eingerichtet. Dortmund, der große Konkurrent, ist bereits tief gefallen, 13 Punkte entfernt – beinahe auf einem Abstiegsplatz. Und doch stimmt irgendetwas nicht. Mit den Bayern. Es ist wie in so einem Film über Kunstdiebstahl. Man geht ins Museum, alles ist scheinbar perfekt, aber irgendetwas stimmt nicht. Man weiß es nicht sofort, aber so ein Gefühl begleitet einen. In guten Filmen ist der Twist am Ende grandios. Irgendein Gemälde war eine Fälschung. Aber was ist die Fälschung gerade beim FC Bayern? Alles scheint so gut zu sein, vielleicht zu gut?
Möglicherweise. Denn weder hat das Offensivspiel eine Zuspitzung wie in der Triple-Saison 2013, als Jupp Heynckes die zwei besten und versiertesten Außenverteidiger der Welt mit den zwei dynamischsten und trickreichsten Außenstürmern der Welt kombinierte. Noch erreicht die Defensive jene Undurchdringlichkeit, die immer schon das Alpha eines Titels war. Und was das Mittelfeld betrifft, das im postmodernen Systemfußball zum Hochaltar der Taktiker wurde, so darf doch niemand glauben, dass in Xabi Alonso und Philipp Lahm die Macht gefunden wurde, die Real, Barca, Chelsea oder Paris aufhält in der K.O.-Runde der Champions League.
Was also will Pep Guradiola? Will er das, was alle sagen? Vier Systeme in 90 Minuten spielen lassen? Jeder Spieler muss jede Position verstehen, einnehmen können, beherrschen? Philipp Lahm hat er nun in die offensive Flanke gestellt, rechtsseitig. Da würde er ja, um beim Beispiel Chelsea zu bleiben, im Dreieck John Terry, Ces Fabregas und Cesar Azpilicueta tätig werden müssen. Wie soll Dante den Belgier Eden Hazard aufhalten, wenn Dante kaum einen Sprint gegen Stürmer aus der Bundesliga gewinnt? Unter Heynckes stand der FC Bayern tiefer, Dante musste nicht so weit sprinten und wurde von Martinez und Schweinsteiger beschützt.
Damals, vor 16 Monaten, galt der Heynckes-Fußball als vollendete Schönspielerei – klar, strukturiert, kraftvoll, filigran, cool, effektiv. Was ist Guardiola-Fußball? Die Zauberflöte? Was wäre Guardiola-Fußball eigentlich ohne die Grundlagenarbeit von Louis van Gaal? Denn eins fällt auf: Wenn es eng wird für die Bayern, macht die individuelle Qualität der einzelnen Spieler den Unterschied aus, und noch immer stehen sechs, sieben auf dem Feld, die in Wembley Champions-League Champions wurden.
Und was will einem eigentlich der Transfer des spanischen U-21-Nationalspielers Bernat sagen? So einen Spieler hat der FC Bayern schon einmal verpflichtet, 2009. Sein Name: Danijel Pranjic. Man könnte meinen, Bernat sei für Guardiola das, was für van Gaal Pranjic war. Am Ende ist van Gaal daran gescheitert, nicht an Pranjic persönlich, der ein mittelmäßiger Spieler war und blieb. Van Gaal, der so viel erfand, etwa den linken Außenverteidiger Alaba oder den Stürmer Müller, er scheiterte an seiner Selbstsucht. Wider besseren Wissens sollte Pranjic quasi Alonso sein. Das war er nicht. Und was ist dann Bernat?
Man weiß es nicht. Man weiß, dass Bayern München nach acht Bundesligaspieltagen weit vor allen anderen liegt, noch kein Spiel verloren hat, auch nicht in der Champions League, auch nicht im DFB-Pokal. Man weiß, dass Philipp Lahm erstmals in seiner Karriere zwei Tore in einem Bundesligaspiel erzielt hat, gegen Werder Bremen, ein Team, das keine Zweikämpfe gewann und keinen einzigen Torschuss in 90 Minuten zustande brachte. Und man weiß, das Guardiola ein allseits bewunderter Schöpfer taktischer Züge ist. Ach, Bayern ist so gut, man scheitert mit Kritik. Doch irgendetwas, irgendetwas stimmt nicht.

What Happened?

Christopher Roth+Georg Diez+Alexine Sammut
27 min

Groin Gazing

17.09.14
6 min

On Love

14.09.14
2 min

Groin Gazing

13.09.14
7 min

Über Bayern

12.09.14
4 min

Über Bayern

12.09.14
1 min

Über Bayern

Raphael Honigstein+Christopher Keil
9 min