Martin Clausen & Angela Schubot
translation by Lucy Renner Jones and Karen Witthuhn


progressive negative capability


I’m the man with the bag.
I’m the person who’d rather sit in the entrance hall and wait.
I’m the woman in the book. I remain the same. I glance into the room.
I’m the film about the man with the beard.
I’m the dog that belongs to the man in the film that does not want to be with the man as the man’s going to die soon.
I’m the bed that you don’t always have to get into.
I’m the trick that doesn’t wear off.
I’m the memory of the former territory.
I’m the scary house that eats up the other houses.
I’m the daily path through the hall.
I’m the plant in front of the house. I’ve been planted.
I’m the tone of the voice of the man on the telephone. I want to get through.
I’m the medication that doesn’t work. I’m too weak.
I was glued. I was professionally glued on.
I’m the sleeping person who was rolled in a wheelchair for sixty years.
I’m the society that welcomed the rolled person for sixty years.
I’m the door in the memorial.
I’m the old number, no one needs me.
I’m the apology afterwards.
I’m the old party that no one likes.
I’m the new party. I’m being eyed.
I’m a sign. I’m very clear.
I’m the filling from inside.
I’m the wrong face for a good cause.
I’m the name of the bag. My name is yellow bag.
I’m the at least of the product.
I’m the neighbour’s plant. It’s my fault.
I’m the man who forgives himself.
I’m the path of the frog.
I’m the person who’s turned away and lost sight of what he desires.
I’m the man’s view and put simply, I’m good.
I’m the unknown person who’s been away for so long that he’s become completely unknown.
I’m the spot.
I’m also that spot.
I’m the used thing. I’m all brown from so much use. I’ve got a used spot that’s all shiny.
I’m the spot under the dot. I’ve now got the same colour as the dot.
I’m the last turn of the button. I already hurt.


I’m the professional woman, what should I do? My curly hairdo is nicely wobbling all over the place. My husband looks like my own pharma sales rep.

Dependent person, wake up wake up. No one wants to hear your song.

First you banned it, now you have to pay dearly so you can have it, this torture. You have to lie down on the couch. You were such a smart arse, until everything fell apart, then came humbleness – the being-humble part set in. Then came self torture, the dear torture has to be paid for. The man who picks on you, squeezes you out and bends you over.
Torture makes a person understand that his life, convictions, thoughts and opinions are opposed to the thoughts and opinions of the person torturing.
That is the clear statement torture makes.
It is not a reward.
It is the opposite.
It is the punishment of the wrong opinions of the person with the beard.

I’m the man at his wife’s grave carrying the newspaper. I like myself.

The machine that you have to be put through hasn’t been invented yet. The pinching machine. That jolts you around and pinches you all over and revives you and annoys you so much that your world view is annoyed to pieces.

Because you’re a fearful weak little freak.

The numb person, that’s me and I’m proud of it.
Tall, thin man. We have to comfort you to death.

In your arse, we can move freely.
The person who knows what’s what, where can we lock you away?

“People are constantly at me, they ask me why I’m always talking about anal sex but I can’t do anything else, I’m the arse-fuck guy.”

If you let yourself go, you’ll turn into a really beautiful, big, all-round person. But when you put that shirt and your trousers on, then you’ll turn back into a creature of society that thinks it decides for itself, thinks it’s free, when all it’s done is strap its child onto the car bonnet, holding it high like a cardboard sign with a golden bell attached. How you’ve grown, poor, unhappy child, wrenched from the infertile woman.

I am the suck-up man, I suck right up and in.
I suck myself right up and into your bathtub of green tile.

I’m frustrated because you don’t notice how much I hate you.

Where unsensed greed grows.

The bloody revolution.

I think it’s like this: when the revolution comes, the people who occupied Siemens (or firms like them) will be attacked by the police. Because the state has to protect private property otherwise it might as well do away with itself. And then more and more people join in. And then soldiers come.
And then there’s fighting, for two months, perhaps two years.

And then the state will be done away with. Because the state can’t do away itself after all.
You can forget that right away.
Then a few people might have to bake bread. And then I’d bake bread too.

So how’s it looking? How’s it looking after the de-kitschification of jealousy and sympathy?

Wish we didn’t get so panicked.
Wish we didn’t always have to sleep in the same bed.
Wish we could go away sometimes.
Wish the group knew that the past took its time.
Wish we didn’t make an elitist feeling of security.
Wish I couldn’t just acquire something and turn it into a characteristic of mine.

Then everyone goes and looks at that one man, and there’s this built-in filter so that he doesn’t notice.

And the food: if it ruins everything, we’ll just learn how to photosynthesize, it’s not that difficult.

Fairy-tales exist too, everything’s true, even lies. Only kitschy lies and lies when you don’t know you’re lying are bad.

If I want to become a tree, then I’ll become a tree. And then I’ll find the small, thin vacuum channel that’s made of the same genetic material that every person and every living thing is made of. And this thin channel, which is conversely proportional to centrifugal force, and that holds everything together, coz it’d crack otherwise. And the channel says, I love you, stay here, stay here. That’s pressure theory. That’s what we’ve got to use. We have to open the channel and everyone has to join on.
And then we’re off! To bloody battle!

The bloody battle.

In a riot of noise and uproar, the alternative is announced. And everything is brought to a low point.
And very slowly and carefully, everything is allowed to find its place and take its time to find its place. And no time frame is given.
Only the seeds will be sown that corrode everything away.
The capacity to remember is so high that reality remains influenced by the past most of all.
And everything that was reminiscent of different things is now reminiscent of things that we stuck out together.
And the quick switching over and getting rid of things ruins so many that whatever had time to have its seat gradually turns into what came before.


By Martin Clausen, first published in ich hatte an diesem Abend auf einer dritte Person Lust ( TWO FISH, Martin Clausen & Angela Schubot, Mass Media Verlag 2008). Translation Lucy Renner Jones.



Martin Clausen is an actor, performer, director and since 2008, lecturer at the Braunschweig University Art at the Institute for Performing Arts and Education. In 2000, he founded the collective TWO FISH with Angela Schubot with whom he developed productions up until 2011 together with dancers and actors at the Berliner Sophiensaelen, the HAU Hebbel am Ufer, the Tanzfabrik Berlin, the Berliner Festival Tanztage, the Podewil/Tanzwerkstatt Berlin and the PATHOS München, among others. He has performed in famous settings and stages as well as private living rooms, buses and hidden staircases.

Angela Schubot is an artist, dancer and choreographer. She studied contemporary dance in Berlin and is co-founder of Two Fish with Martin Clausen. Angela Schubot has worked with Rosalind Crisp, Theatercombinat Wien, Dorky Park/Constanza Macras, Benoit Lachambre, Pictoplasma and Andreas Müller among others. In 2004 she was awarded the dance-web scholarship from Impulstanz/Vienna. In March 2011 the new and last work under the label Two Fish, a duet with Martin Clausen; Halt mir meinen platz frei, bis ich anders wieder da bin, premiered in HAU 2.

Lucy Renner Jones studied German with W.G. Sebald at UEA, soon afterwards started a career as a fashion and reportage photographer in Barcelona, Hamburg and Berlin; returned to work with language and literature in the early 2000s. In 2008, she founded Transfiction, a collective of literary translators, with Karen Witthuhn ( and was joined by Jenny Piening in 2012. She is the author of two book-length translations, Lyric Novella (2010) and Death in Persia (2013), published by Seagull Books and is currently working on the diaries of Brigitte Reimann.

Karen Witthuhn was born in Slough, England but grew up in Oldenburg, Germany. Since 2000, she’s been a freelance translator (English to German) of novels, theatre texts and plays, and film scripts. She studied English and German at the Freie Universität in Berlin, then Modern Languages and European Studies in Bath, England. Lastly, she graduated from the University of Bristol with a BA in Drama, Theatre, Film and Television. Apart from working on numerous German theatre festivals (PAZZ, Theaterformen) as a director, dramaturge and production manager, she has also been involved in prison theatre projects in Berlin and Italy. In 2008, she co-founded Transfiction with Lucy Renner Jones and is the author of several book-length translations into German, the most recent one being Flesh and Blood by Mark Peterson. She lives in Berlin and runs Transfiction’s German branch in the Kunstquartier Bethanien, Kreuzberg.

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MadHat, Issue 14, Spring 2013