Meet the Artists – Elissa Hanson


A few years back I was in Berlin by myself for two weeks. This is the first time I had ever traveled alone. There was a festival happening. I went to see a William Forsythe installation called White Bouncy Castle. It was in a nature park on the other side of town. I took the tram. I got lost. I showed up. I was one of the first people there. You paid to get into the park. It was cloudy. I thought it was going to rain. I entered into the nature park and followed the path to the middle of the park, where there was an abandoned train station. An English-speaking employee showed me the right direction. I entered the station and paid €5 to a man in a little hut. Inside, it looked like an empty auto trade centre. I saw only employees and festival volunteers — and a massive white bouncy castle. I was directed to the left by arrows on the floor to a table where I was given a laminated tag with a number on it and I was instructed to remove my jacket, shoes, and jewelry. I placed my bag and belongings in a rubber tub. An older German woman gave me a reassuring “Ja” — that my things would be safe. And then she told me to walk to the far end of the warehouse. More arrows. At the entrance of the bouncy castle, an employee told me I had twenty minutes. I looked down the long tunnel to see that no else was inside the castle. Then I stepped in. I spent the first ten minutes doing bum-drops by myself. I became exhausted and started sweating. Eventually, a few other jumpers joined. I spent the rest of the time sitting at the side, watching them. And doing the odd forward-flip. As I made my way to the exit, I realized that I had lost my numbered tag. I gestured to the employee waving me out that my pockets were empty, and I had lost something. And so I ran back into the white bouncy castle to find a very small, white piece of plastic. I searched many cracks — difficult while others were jumping. I found it. I left. More arrows. I got my stuff. I put my shoes and my jacket back on. I exited back into the nature park. It started to rain. I had paid to get in there and didn’t want to leave quite yet, so I decided to follow some of the paths around. The paths were raised metal platforms running through the park so that you could view the numerous goats that happened to live there, in the midst of one or two contemporary sculptures. I sat down and ate my lunch that I had brought with me and eventually I left. And it all felt like a dream.

Meet the Artists – Elissa Hanson

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