Participants volunteer for the ISLF:

International Shattered Liberation Force

at Leipzig, October 17–20, 2013.

This motley bunch, called the ISLF, wants to symbolically undermine the military re-enactment events taking place in and around Leipzig.

The ISLF will form a shadow to the smartly uniformed and disciplined re-enactment units. Without the slightest degree of historic authenticity, the ISLF will be an unfitting part of the mosaic of those events: the lost, the left behind, neglected and unhappy losers of war. The ISLF is the vanquished batallion. It has lost its coherence, its morale is at rock bottom.

The ISLF is not geared towards commemorating the year 1813 only, but towards a general and symbolic confrontation of today’s peaceful and secure every-day life with the broken ‘heroes’. The outcasts of history will appear out of the blue at everyman’s house: a theatre performance for Leipzig to commemorate the Battle of the Nations.

We call for volunteers of all nations to become members of the ISLF. Everyone is called upon to join who feels fit to take part in our performance, as a player and as a person.

The ISLF members style themselves on what is known from historical descriptions about vanquished armies: famished, filthy, frightened people, far away from home. They are wounded and covered in lice and rash, they wear their uniforms in rags and all sorts of worn-out clothing, e.g. blankets, cloaks, curtains, carpets, pieces of fur, simply anything that would provide some warmth and protection. We welcome ISLF members wearing pieces of accoutrements alluding to nowaday’s conflicts!

The ISLF wear white brassards with slogans from the Monument of the Battle of the Nations, such as ‘courage’, ‘strength of belief’, ‘strength of the people’, ‘self-sacrifice’, or catchwords from the French Revolution: ‘liberté’, ‘égalité’, ‘fraternité’.

The ISLF march in and about Leipzig on historic paths. We visit villages and small towns that were sites of the battle in 1813 and are places of spectacle in 2013. Out of a sudden, the horde makes its appearance at events and places, consumes what it can get, camps in barns, on village greens or in the open field. Provisions for the ISLF depend on the sympathy and co-operation of the population.

Beware! The performance is not a fancy-dress or carnival event. The performance is not a role-playing game. The performance does not confront the bicentenary events or the population in an aggressive way; we have to expect that people will react sceptically and disapprovingly. Each participant is invited to explain his or her attitude in congruence with his or her performative role when getting in touch with the population. This means that the performance will demand not only physical perseverance but also social skills

For rules see under PARTICIPATING: RULES

The participants should play their roles but not fully identify with them. The same is true for the performance of the group as a whole.

The ISLF is supposed to break up the hallmark of re-enactment, the imaginary transformation of a 21st-century citizen into a personality of the past,

  1. making it impossible to identify the group in historic terms, through costume and behaviour;

  2. confronting directly today’s everyday life with a somber narrative of war;

  3. keeping a critical distance towards one’s role as well as to the role of historical entertainment in popular cultures of remembrance.

All information on participation see: PARTICIPATING