A to Z: The Precarious Alphabet of War

War, in the broadest sense, is a battle about the power to define and definitions, that are not carried out at the center of words but at their very margins. But what can words do, as soon as the state of war has become a rule and a normality worldwide?

The fourth and so far final edition of DICTIONARY OF WAR will take place on 23 and 24th of February 2007 in Berlin, Sophiensaele. Loosely based on the slogan: "At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something" DICTIONARY OF WAR is a collaborative platform for creating concepts. 75 concepts on the issue of war, have had already been invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at the first three public, two-day events in Frankfurt, Munich, and Graz.

The Berlin edition of DICTIONARY OF WAR features contributions by:

London based artist and magician Jonathan Allen; conductor Christian von Borries from Berlin; Berlin based sci-fi-author Heinrich Dubel; the historian Stefan Doernberg, who participated 1945 as a translator of the Red Army within the negotiations about unconditional surrender with the german Wehrmacht; the author and curator Felix Ensslin; curator Charles Esche from Eindhoven; writer Stefan Heidenreich; the choreographer and stage director Emil Hrvatin from Ljubljana; the former curator of the museum Karlshorst, Peter Jahn; the artist-group kuda.org from Novi Sad; the historian and curator Andrea Moll from Berlin; Cologne based curator Vanessa Joan Müller; the musicians Quio & Darius James; US-American philosopher Sylvère Lotringer; the theorist Brian Massumi from Montreal; South-African film-director Khalo Matabane; Avi Mograbi, filmmaker from Israel; the Frankfurt based designers Martin Neumeier & Nathalie Landenberger; artist Michalis Pichler; the theatermakers collective Rimini Protocoll; sociologist Saskia Sassen from Chicago; the Munich based photographer Armin Smailovic; artist Simon Starling from Glasgow; Berlin based author Marcus Steinweg; architect Stephan Trüby from Stuttgart; Israeli photographer Meir Wigoder und theorist Irit Rogoff from London; Soenke Zehle, scientist from Saarbrücken.

The aim of the project is to create key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created. DICTIONARY OF WAR tries to make the creation or revaluation of concepts transparent into more or less open processes in which we can and need to intervene; at the same time, the goal is to develop models that redefine the creation of concepts on the basis not of interdisciplinary but rather undisciplined, not co-operative but rather collaborative processes.

DICTIONARY OF WAR started in June last year in Staedelschule Frankfurt and was characterized from the very beginning by a wide range of polyvocal and multi-layered approaches. The Munich edition several weeks later has been overshadowed by the war in the Middle East, but turned out as enormously substantial by lots of very focussed contributions. In Graz, in the framework of the festival "steirischer herbst", a further differentiation and multiplication of the concepts and their formats has become overwhelming.

The entire video recordings (live mixed from four cameras and additional sources) of the first three editions of the DICTIONARY OF WAR are available for free download from the website: http://dictionaryofwar.org/en-dict/v2v

The next 25 concepts that are going to be presented at the Berlin edition will be ready for download near on real time -- published under a creative commons share-alike license. Together with the already available concepts this will lay the ground for a unique, topic-based multimedia archive that encompasses more than 50 hours of video material. Even by now the video files of the DICTIONARY OF WAR are shared by thousands of users worldwide who download the material for educational or research purposes and remix it in various new contexts. Finally, this autumn a book will be published by Merve-Verlag (Berlin) which is supposed to work as a fifth, virtual edition.

The Berlin edition of the DICTIONARY OF WAR starts on Friday, February 23, at 5 pm in Sophiensaele Sophiensaele, Sophienstrasse 18, 10178 Berlin-Mitte. It will be continued on Saturday, February 24, at 2 pm. On Sunday, February 25th, 2007 the session concludes with a Postscriptum at the historic site of the unconditional surrender of German Fascism in 1945, today's "German-Russian Museum" in Karlshorst. At 8pm in the evening "Pirate Cinema" screens Chris Markers film "Scenes from the Third World War 1967-1977".

The concepts are introduced in alphabetical order by their concept persons in half-hour long presentations or performances. The entrance fee is 10 Euro (5 euro reduced) per day and includes a CD-edition of the video-recordings of the first three sessions.

More informations at: http://dictionaryofwar.org



DICTIONARY OF WAR is a project by Multitude e.V. and Unfriendly Takeover, in collaboration with Sophiensaele. DICTIONARY OF WAR is supported by the Federal Culture Foundation, Germany.