Everything that Happened and Would Happen

Everything That Happened and Would Happen by Heiner Goebbels spans a hundred years of European history: its giddy contradictions, false promises and consuming crises. Taking the First World War as a starting point, the performance proposes a landscape of fragmented incident without differentiating the trivial and the supposedly meaningful. Together with 16 musicians, dancers and performers, Heiner Goebbels leads us to a storage depot filled with the props of the past, the burden of the present and the key to possible futures.  

Part-performance, part construction site, Everything That Happened and Would Happen is an invitation to imagine an alternative history of the 20th century through the poetry of collaboration and chance.  

The work is inspired by source materials that document society from the First World War to present day: Goebbels draws from Patrik Ouředník’s book “Europeana, a brief history of the twentieth century” that deconstructs dominant historical narratives; John Cage’s anti-opera “Europeras 1&2”; and the European Euronews channel “No Comment”, which depicts events around the world without editing or commentary. Goebbels combines these sources—along with his fascination with literature, politics, and anthropology—for rich visual compositions accompanied by a score of classical, jazz, and contemporary music. 

Everything That Happened and Would Happen is an open invitation to reflect on what constitutes European identity, where it has its origins and what its future might look like; to imagine different versions of our past, present and future. 


Duration: 1 h 40 min.

World Premiere on 10.10.2018, Manchester International Festival 

A production by Heiner Goebbels. Produced by Artangel. Commission work by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Artangel, Park Avenue Armory and Ruhrtriennale. The world premiere was presented in collaboration between Artangel and Manchester International Festival.