of wastelands — Thibault Schiemann

Project TypeTrade Sachs

Trade Sachs | Trade Sachs Trust Evening

The fundamental principle on which Tobak Lithium founded the Anti-Bank Trade Sachs in 2015 was the following: We believe that money is an inhuman way of organizing interactions. Therefore, the bank’s ultimate goal is to abolish money and its surrounding culture, and to work towards a moneyless society. In this sense, we started to develop our Trade Sachs Trust Services that would usually include either the destruction of money or trigger discussions about what a moneyless society could be/feel like (sometimes both).

As we were destroying all the money that we got, we ended up not having money for our rents and bills to pay. Although we wanted to work towards a moneyless society, we still needed money to survive. If we would not earn money with the bank we could not pursue its purpose — but earning money with the bank seemed like a big contradiction to our fundamental principle.

We realized that this is not only our core problem, but a general activism problem: How much use are you allowed to make of the dynamics of the same system that you are fighting against/that you want to overcome?  We decided that we would create a whole evening dedicated to that question. Thus, the Trade Sachs Trust Evening was born.

At the entrance our guests had to deposit their purse, their phones, and their watches. Our room was supposed to be moneyfree. Instead of paying for the entrance fee and drinks, the amount was noted on a personal dept obligation.

Right at the start of our evening, the guests were introduced to our dilemma: We need money to pursue the work with our bank. But we don’t want to decide on our own what to do — instead we put the decision in your hands. At the end of the evening, when leaving the room, you will have the choice between the following three things:

  • Pay your debts: You pay the amounted sum on your obligation to us.
  • Destroy the money: You pay the amounted sum, but instead of giving it to us you choose to destroy the money.
  • Destroy the debts: You do not want to pay for anything and therefore destroy the debt obligation.

Throughout the evening we were sharing as much knowledge about money and banks with our guests as we could — inviting them to share our ideals about a moneyless society. We also asked them to choose a vow — either vowing for or against a moneyless society. Then we setup discussion rounds in which people could — without interference from our side — imagine a moneyless society from a practicle point of view, before they would finally proceed to the opening question.


Tojo Theater, Bern (CH), 10th-13th of March & Performing Arts Festival, Ballhaus Ost, Berlin (D), Ballhaus Ost, Berlin (D)

contributors: Mirjam Berger, Silja Gruner, Miko Hucko, Thibault Schiemann, Marisa von Weissenfluh

read more: Schuld und Bühne (KulturStattBern/11.03.2016)

Tobak Lithium | Ruine Europa

Europe is decaying: We are loosing our humanistic values, seem to be incapable of helping refugees, have become untrustworthy, and struggling to find our place in world-politics – Europe has become old-fashioned.

And what about theatre? It doesn‘t matter what ideas are rallied for, how much it tries to challenge its audience, criticise and provoke it, at the end the audience will applaud, leave the theatre and go back to its everyday-life. Is theatre even remotely capable of changing the world anymore?

Both the crisis of Europe and theatre are questioned in Ruine Europa. During the first part of the play, Tobak Lithium tries out different theatre forms which are facing different problems of current Europe. After each form, the audience is asked if they feel the urge to change something in the world. This way, each theatre form gets a rating – similar to the ratings of countries and corporations.

However, the dramaturgy of the evening starts to get blurry – either by different forms overlapping or the audience disturbing the chain of events. Some members felt that our mundane way of treating theatre was unjust. Suddenly, the audience got activated, were interrupting us, booing, and even throwing eggs. Fluidly, the classic form of theatre in general (performers in front of a silence audience) was turned into a panel discussion about political engagement and theatre itself. Audience members stepped on stage – while we as performers became moderators.

So as to not remain a classical „critical“ theatre-evening, the final part of the play consisted in a demonstration to the Bundesplatz of Bern. With whoever felt inspired enough we left the theatre space and head out to bury the ruins of Europe – making space for new wishes of a Europe to come.

The open structure of the play made it possible for the audience to engage in the play at all times. Therefore, each run of the performance became something completely different – depending on the mood of the audience itself.


Tojo Theater, Bern (CH), 12th-14th of September 2013

contributors: Christine Glauser, Miko Hucko, Thibault Schiemann

read more: “Kunst in der Formkrise”