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TIER 4

The Music of Tier 4
In Tier 4 I attempt to create an environment of metaphor which is similar to the systems used by the Nazi regime, contemporary cattle handling facilities, and also from personal experience from my time in the underground house music scene of New York City.

The name Tier 4 is short for Tiergartenstrasse 4 which was the street address for Hitlers secret organization T4. T4 was the first euthanasia program to institute the use of carbon monoxide gas to kill “undesirables.”

Waiting on line to enter the performance space you would hear the bass from a contemporary house music song combined with music from the early 20th century.

The playlist that I assembled features actual songs that the Germans forced the Jews to sing either on their way to the gas chambers or when they were digging their own graves. These songs were also sometimes played by an orchestra consisting of prisoners pieced together by the camp commanders. The goal of this orchestra was to drown out the screams of the victims.

Upon entering the room, viewers found themselves in the middle of a multi-faceted room which created partial confusion. Brightly colored flowers decorated parts of the room. An LED sign is placed on a wall to the right and disco lights move about the room in cadence with the music.
In Belzec, flowers decorated the exterior of the courtyard in front of the gas chambers. Outside the corridor that lead into the gas chambers of Treblinka a ceremonial curtain that was looted from a synagogue was hung at the entrance, it read: “This is the Gateway to God ... Righteous men will pass through.”

My friend Vivacious who is a legendary drag queen and performer in New York City agreed to be in the performance with me as the Gamemaster. Her job was to accept tickets and to administer the task that was written in invisible ink on the back of each ticket. I must do the task that was written on the ticket.

For the performance I constructed a pull-up bar, and brought in weights, a rower, and treadmill. The tasks that I would perform were physical tasks. Not being aware of their roll in all of this, the viewer is placed in an awkward position. Groups of 4 were let in. After the first person handed in their ticket and Vivacious told me to do another exercise the other 3 people in the group became privy to the operation and now had a choice.

Some people decided not to give a ticket, but for the most part a large portion of people handed in their ticket. The Reserve Police Battalion 101 was made up of middle-aged family men of working and lower middle-class background from the city of Hamburg. Considered too old to be of use to the German Army, they had been drafted instead into the Order Police. As their role in the Reich grew, their services became more in demand with a broader role. They began to take on liquidation missions and men in the group were given a choice on whether or not to partake. Most did.