We Are Coming

CR 74. Year 1980

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Here we are
There we go

We are coming
We are coming

Here we are
There we go

All the way
We are coming

Down the tales
Up the sales

We are coming
We are coming

Up the past
Down the must
Future ...

He was creating a situation in which the visitor had to decide whether he wanted to behave as if he were alive or pretend to be dead.

Friedemann Malsch 1988

Gerz suggests, … that he himself, a bilingual narrator, is possessed by … different voices. Beyond the fact that realising a performance is, in itself, a way of paying tribute to American culture, We Are Coming is also a trip to the dark side of language, in that no one in the audience can understand everything that is said, or feel completely at ease. … The hard-line nature of the structure of this performance is betrayed as much by this voice of America which allegorizes it as by the French discourse underlining the danger of the cultural cliché.

Patrick Javault 2002



Cassette recorder, cassette, video recorder, cassette, monitor
Duration approx. 30 minutes

Visitors sit on chairs distributed randomly throughout the room. Jochen Gerz approaches individual people, taking chairs away from some, touching them, kissing one man. March-style singing is heard (a male and a female voice) along with the sounds of stamping feet and a comforting male voice. The stamping sound is accompanied by video images of a penis rhythmically bouncing up and down. The performance ends when a woman viewer is slapped.

A photograph of the performance is part of the video clip entitled 30 secondes (693). A different scene forms part of the installation (Mysterium) tremens, fascinans (78).


Frankfurt 1980. Banff 1981. Bielefeld 1981. London (Ontario) 1981. Malmö 1981. Paris 1981. St. Gallen 1981. Toronto 1981. Vancouver 1981.


I: Malmö 1981, pp. 29-30, 31-34. Bielefeld 1981, pp. 16, 71-82, 120-122. Berlin 1983b, pp. 61-62. Firenze 1984, p. 33. Bielefeld 1985, pp. 125-128, 213. Paris 1994a, pp. 260-264. Regensburg 1995a, p. 242. Tel Aviv 1995, pp. 65-70. Zürich 2000, p. 113.

II: Fleming 1981, p. 17. Gravel 1981, p. 8. Johnston 1981. Monk 1981, p. 50. Red. 5, 1981. Red. 13, 1981

III: Jappe 1993, p. 148

IV: Janicot 1984, p. 76

V: Molderings 1985, p. 199

Access general bibliography


Video, 15:44 min (Art Center, Banff)

Vidéo Les Beaux Jours, Strasbourg and imai, inter media art institute, Düsseldorf

My name is Jochen Gerz