Nine, Eight, Six.
General Field-Marshal Keitel's Three Numbers
a body-guided and -referred practice of experiencing
Signing the act of unconditional surrender of German troops in World War II took place in the night of May 8th to 9th 1945 in what was then a suburb of Berlin – Karlshorst, in the building of officer casino of Military Engineering School of the Wehrmacht. In late April, during the battle for Berlin, it housed the headquarters of the 5th Assault Army.
The German delegation arrived at the signing ceremony of three persons: General Field Marshal Keitel, accompanied by General-Admiral von Friedeburg and Colonel-General Stumpf. The ceremony took place in the former officers' canteen. Wilhelm Keitel signed the act on behalf of the German High Command. Marshal Zhukov took the surrender under the authority of the High Command of the Red Army in the presence of representatives of the Allied Forces Command.
The German delegation was provided with a small alone standing table for three people. It was nine steps from the front door to that table. The text of the act of surrender was given to the German representatives for details on the day before, so Keitel sufficed eight seconds to glance over a document and to put his signature. A table of the German delegation (Keitel's chair) was in six meters from the table which was housed by Zhukov (from his chair) with his numerous accompanying persons – not overcome in that evening distance.
A viewer/visitor is invited, by means of simple – anthropometrically commensurable – kinematic and chronometric actions, to go through General Field Marshal Keitel's state at the time of signing the act of surrender. Each viewer/visitor can do this in any place at any convenient time.
1. Make nine steps. Stop and stay.
2. Standing on this spot, slowly, count to eight. If you carry matches – let's light one. The average burning time of a standard wooden matches is about eight seconds (until the flame reaches the most fingers).
3. On the spot, look around. In any direction you like, mark with your eye a destination which is in about six meters from you. Be guided by your own eye and your perception of length and space. You should not cover the distance to the destination you metered.
4. Turn around and leave the area.
Minsk, May 2009