Ines Geipel was once one of the fastest women on the planet. In the 1980s, she was a member of the GDR track and field national team. Victim of forced doping in the GDR, she escaped via Hungary in the summer of 1989 and studied Philosophy and Sociology at TH Darmstadt.
Today she is an author and professor at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art in Berlin. Ines Geipel revisits her time at TH Darmstadt:
“After my escape from the GDR in summer 1989, Darmstadt was an important interregnum in my life, and my studies at TH Darmstadt were somewhat like basal stimulation for my mind. Reading, reading what I had not been allowed to read before: Deleuze, Bataille, Gadamer, Steiner, but also Genet, Char, Duras, Borges. Essentially, my sojourn at the Darmstadt Palace of the intellect was one exuberant, indigestible feast of reading. Of course one could not swallow all those intellectual heavyweights, but one could encounter them. I would sit in Gernot Böhme's tutorials, at the very top, right under the palace roof; I would listen to the stilted phrases of the mostly male Ph.D. candidates, wondering if the pigeons that had taken up residence on the top row of the bookshelf would take any of this talk up into the skies with them. Today, when I get stuck on a text I am supposed to write, I sometimes conjure up that strange, haunted cooing and with it the atmosphere of that bird-soiled coop. When I left I became a writer. There you are: between these two sentences sits all my gratitude for this safe space that the city, the university, the institute granted me.”