Hidden in the bowels of East Berlin’s Salon Zur Wilden Renate, a dance club in a two story abandoned house, is the Peristal Singum, an immersive theatrical maze evocative of a trip in Alice’s Wonderland.
In exchange for fare, visitors to the labyrinth are given a large gold coin and an arcane set of guidelines: “Rushing can have painful side effects! Take everything with you you want to lose! And… Freshly sponged spatial vectors enable propelling through sensory implosion default!.”
Entry to the maze is by personal invitation from the gatekeeper, so it is advised that one grab a drink and get cozy in the dark granny-parlour atmosphere of the Salon until summoned. By entering the labyrinth in solitude, visitors are granted a unique opportunity to confront hidden fears and to explore the metaphysical self through a plethora of alternate sensory universes.
The Peristal Singum labyrinth is the most recent incarnation of the now defunct Karmanoia maze, which closed in March 2009. The name Peristal Singum derives from the term “peristalsis” – literally, the contractions of the human gastrointestinal tract that enable digestion. From the viewpoint of the creators, this outward movement has led to an excess of waste in the world. As a labyrinth and “landscape of wafting thoughts,” Peristal Singum challenges visitors to look inward and to explore the movement in reverse – “vom Arsch zur Seele.”
Overall a whimsical and awe-inspiring experience, the Peristal Singum labyrinth is best approached with minimal preconceptions, an exploratory frame of mind, and a dash of bravery.
Update April 2019: Karmanoia, the creators of the Peristal SIngum, have created a new immersive art installation in Tilburg called “Doloris’ Meta Maze.”