A word with Marion Fabian

Marion Fabian

We would like to welcome you to the RundfunkchorLounge at Heimathafen Neukölln on 26 June. In this edition, we are focussing on the topic of “Apocalypse”. As a committed climate activist and spokesperson for the “Last Generation” movement, Marion Fabien has already provided impetus in the fight against climate change and is also active as a sound and conceptual artist. Firstly, she tells us a little more about herself.

Would you say that you have been an activist all your life or is it something that only developed in you later? How did you develop this awareness?

My Christian grandmother, who lovingly instilled her values in me with semolina porridge, certainly laid one of the foundations. I was passionate about justice, honesty and humanity from an early age. So commitment has always been deeply rooted in me, perhaps it’s even a genetic trait. For the first 25 years, it lay dormant in my private life, as I only became politicised through the New German Women’s Movement in the 1970s. Through experiences and insights over the course of my life, I was able to fully develop my passion, recognised the explosive nature of issues such as equal rights, fascism, anti-Semitism and the threat of climate catastrophe and was able to turn my knowledge into active action to make a difference. Since retiring, I have been able to be a full-time activist. With my heart and mind in harmony, I am ready to do all I can in the last phase of my life to ensure a future worth living and loving for future generations. The Last Generation Climate Justice Movement forms the umbrella under which my interests and areas of commitment are united. That makes me happy. And since the turn of the year 2022/23, I’ve been jumping out of bed every morning for it.

You are also a sound and conceptual artist. To what extent does your work as an activist influence your art? Or perhaps the other way round?

I firmly believe in the transformative power of art. It has so much potential to touch, inspire and make people think. This conviction permeates everything I do. My work on the street is reflected in my artistic projects. At the same time, I draw strength and inspiration for activism from my art. The creative processes allow me to express complex emotions and thoughts and to create connections with people who do not feel addressed by dry scientific facts alone. The symbiotic relationship between art and activism makes my work not only more versatile, but also more powerful and effective. In the resistance and labour groups of the Last Generation, I advocate bringing more art into forms of protest. Performances at protest marches or the integration of artistic elements into demonstrations can significantly increase the visibility of our concerns and demands. At the same time, I would like to introduce more cheeky, radical protest into art. It’s high time we networked more. This currently makes up a considerable part of my work. Bringing together artists’ associations, the bbk’s educational organisation, the initiative DIE KUNST, VIELE ZU BLEIBEN and individual artists and cultural workers with political activists to work together against right-wing extremist forces has a lot of potential and is a great pleasure for me. It emphasises the mutual influence and reinforcement of art and activism.

Speaking of sound, what do you think about the role of music in protest movements? How can it actually make a difference here?

If it were up to me, music could play a much bigger role. But I also have a strong auditory background; the ear and hearing are my instruments of cognition. We know protest songs from earlier resistance movements and hymns that accompanied civil rights struggles and are still played and sung. They arouse emotions and strengthen the sense of community. Music is often played at the disobedient gatherings of the Last Generation and at sit-in blockades. Whether songwriters with guitars or drum groups, different musical genres find their place in the protest. I would like to try out what contemporary music can achieve. When it’s not a catchy sound, but an ensemble unpacks its instruments and improvises the apocalypse.

You probably wouldn’t be an activist if you didn’t still have some hope that the “climate apocalypse” can still be averted. How do you rate our chances at the moment?

Yes, without hope it would be difficult to muster the necessary energy and determination that activism requires. Our chances depend largely on politics, collective action and the will to transform. Science clearly shows what measures are needed and the technologies to implement them are available. What we need is the political will and the support of society as a whole to implement measures decisively and consistently. The change has to happen faster, we have to get out of fossil fuels. The people who are fighting tirelessly for climate protection naturally have hope that we can achieve the necessary changes. The interplay between politics, technology, business and social commitment is crucial if we are to become climate-friendly and secure a sustainable future. So much for utopia. In view of the increasing number of deadly climate events, the dystopia climate events. To pick up the thread to art once again. I am currently conceptualising a sound art project that transfers the apocalyptic horsemen from the Book of Revelation to the climate catastrophe.