An experience of "The Ring" installation in Munich, Germany

Paul, from Geneva, and I drove into Munich or 02:00, although the city was quieter than during the day there was still a surprising amount of traffic about. We parked and headed into the centre of town, past the Munich Opera House, our intended destination, and on to Marienplatz. We fortuitously met Rob, from Köln, at the entrance to a burger bar, and proceeded to meet up with the others from our little entourage up at the central square. Horst Kehm, admin of the FKK-Freun.DE website and Jürg. We made our way back to the meeting place, to find a huge queue of people trailed along the street, so, being English, I queue-jumped to the front. Once inside the "compounds", we were separated into two groups, and given a small tin of body paint each. One held gold, the other red, body paint. We'd come to take part in Spencer Tunick's naked installation celebrating the start of the Munich Opera season, and focussing on Wagner's "The Ring", or, as some Germans would have it: Das Ring Ding. The swarms of people grew, until there were perhaps 1700 people, all waiting to get naked in the centre of Munich city. We also met Johannes with his 20 year-old daughter, from Berlin. And Graham, a Spielplatz member who latched on to our group.

Occassionally we were informed as to what was happening, but I could not understand the shouted instructions from the loud-hailer being used, and do not comprehend why Tunick doesn't use a modern PA system. This was the same unintelligable garble we had to put up with during the, also very cool, Stadion in Vienna event. After several hours of waiting for something to happen, and dawn beginning to creep across the lightening sky, the red group received the order to strip and paint. We all had our cameras out and were busy snapping mementoes of the entertaining and highly unusual event as 800 naked people tried to cover themselves, totally, in red body paint, just across the square from us. Christine Madden, an Irish journalist working for a local German online newspaper, who came to take part and interview people, was highly annoyed at having listened to the "no camera" rule.

Red went first, then it was our turn, and we painted ourselves gold from the small pots of metallic paint, getting help from others for bits we couldn't reach, like our upper backs, or bits we'd missed, on our calves, or faces. The paint had a very effective metallic effect. When our turn came to exit, we walked out around the block, waving at a few solitary police cars and pedestrians, to the main square, forming a giant gold human ring around the central statue. Tunick took several photos, of us all standing and lying down on the cobbles, then the red group filled the space in our centre. It was entertaining listening to Tunick trying to organize everybody, from his raised platform, by pointing down and shouting "you, move left, no, you, NO, YOU!" Presumably he knew which person he was pointing at... The contrast of red and gold people was very effective, the human shapes and colour flowed dynamically around the statues and steps. This was Tunick's first use of colour with the naked human body in his installations, and I can imagine him using it again - the sharp colours created an intense contrast. After all the waiting, it was all over too soon, and once we'd taken a couple more photographs, we returned to the start point to get dressed, then into Marienplatz for coffee and cake. It was amusing watching the Lederhosen + Dirndl dressed locals watching us in our body paint, in particular the red-painted people were very striking, even when dressed.

Post-event we went to the Englischergarten and chilled out next to the fast flowing river. Rob greeting one asian cyclist, in a particularly large group of cyclists, in Chinese, and when she called back "I'm Korean", he repeated his greeting in Korean - much to *everyone*'s surprise. She almost fell off her bike. Rob + Graham walked to Feringasee, while Paul and I returned home to Kleinschwindau to meet his wife Marion who coming in by train from Geneva. Photos from "Das Ring Ding" made it online before we got home, and it was fun to see so much enthusiasm from so many people on various Facebook forums about the event, and the buzz was maintained for weeks afterwards.

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