Heiner Goebbels performative installation

Header Heiner Goebbels 862 eine Orakelmaschine IMG 8552


Heiner Goebbels: 862 – An Oracle Machine
Coal stamping machine, Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site

Nine performances on three weekends
from 1 to 17 September 2023
Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday at 8.15 pm

Once coal was stamped into packets there and later processed into coke, today the coal stamping machine transforms into an art and oracle machine that invites you to see and hear in a new way. In September, the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site presents the world première of a performative installation that Heiner Goebbels has developed especially for the Völklingen Ironworks and the site of the coal stamping machine in Paradise. The in-situ work of the renowned music and theatre artist from Frankfurt uses sound, light, video, text and voices to evoke hidden layers of time and experience in the former ironworks and present-day Anthropocene site. For this extraordinary work of art, a huge open-air grandstand will be erected on the former track of the coal stamping machine. 

It is where visitors will gather after a unique ‘promenade architecturale’ in the presence of a machine whose original purpose was to provide answers to the enormous energy needs of a society driven by exploitation and a belief in progress. In its monstrous immobility, it seems today like a memorial to human creative and destructive power and the deep rift between man and nature. Under these auspices, the composer and dramaturg Heiner Goebbels sets the coal stamping machine in motion again in his new production.

"862 – An Oracle Machine" invites us on a journey of seeing and hearing. In music and soundscapes that appear at once strange and familiar, we encounter early historic recordings from Greece, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Croatia, as well as animal voices, both native and from other parts of the world.  Certainty is replaced by the vague awareness of a hidden connection between all living things and by the question of how we can recall this together without having to find new answers: Now that it has been decommissioned, perhaps the coal stamping machine indeed will become a valuable place of imagination and reflection – at best, it will open up the space with unseen images and unheard sounds and poetically change our understanding of ‘man, machine, nature’ or – because there is no one ‘on stage’ to tell the audience what they should think – it will become an oracle machine that speaks to us in a delicate balance of words, sounds and images.

Alongside his work as a composer, musician, director and radio playwright, as a professor in Giessen and his highly successful directorship of the Ruhrtriennale, Heiner Goebbels regularly appears as a creative and interdisciplinary exhibiting artist. Heiner Goebbels has presented his oeuvre at documenta Kassel alone no less than three times with concerts, installations and scenic works. From New York to Bogota to Sydney, he works as a successful exponent of transdisciplinary contemporary music theatre art. This year, Heiner Goebbels is realising installations in St Mary’s Church in Vilnius and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, as well as stage concerts in Porto, Stockholm, London, Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow.

The première of the performative installation "862 – An Oracle Machine" is also the highlight this year of the new in-situ format 1200° – MUSIC THEATRE ART at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site.

The coking plant was one of the toughest places to work at the Völklingen Ironworks. Heat, dust and fire filled the air. Hard coal was converted into coke here, as only this form of pure carbon developed the required effect in the blast furnace process to be turned into liquid pig iron with ore and other aggregates at 1200°C. Coal was loaded into the coal stamping machine from the coal tower and rammed into a solid packet. The machine then pushed the coal into one of the coking chambers, where the coking process began. The rhythmic clanking of the coal stamping machine could be heard all the way into town.

1200° – MUSIC THEATRE ART is realised with the generous support of the Saarland Ministry of Education and Culture and Saartoto as well as ME Saar.


Heiner Goebbels
862 – An Oracle Machine

Coal stamping machine in Paradise (former coking plant)
Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site

Friday, 1 September, first performance / world première

Further performances on Saturday, 2 September | Sunday, 3 September
Friday, 8 September | Saturday, 9 September | Sunday, 10 September
Friday, 15 September | Saturday, 16 September | Sunday, 17 September

Time 8.15 pm

Tickets priced at 30 euros are available online at

Heiner Goebbels ticket and day ticket Völklinger Hütte including all exhibitions: Special price 45 Euro

Ticket Heiner Goebbels and two-day ticket Völklinger Hütte including all exhibitions: Special price 50 Euro

Heiner Goebbels – Concept, Direction, Music
Willi Bopp – Sound Design
René Liebert – Video Design
Marc Thein – Light Design
Matthias Mohr – Dramaturgy
Friederike Blum – Assistance






Dr. Armin Leidinger

Communication / Presse

Telephone: +49 (0) 6898 / 9 100 151