Schuldfabrik Adelaide Festival 2019Adelaide Festival. 29 King William Street, Adelaide. 7 Mar 2019


The shop premise at 29 King William Street has the squeaky clean, white-gleaming clinical look of a High Street cosmetics retail outlet or maybe a surgery. The host turns your gaze to a bag of human fat and then to a display of package soap labeled, Self Human Soap. “Would you like to try the soap?” Handy is a sink and said host helps you lather up and experience the feel of soap made with the by-product of liposuction. Your questioning reveals there were only 2000 bars of soap manufactured in 2016 – each made by hand and individually numbered. I have No. 0875 occupying my desk as I write.


Schuld is German for an amalgam of guilt and debt. Let’s just say you owe something and you’re feeling guilty about it. But it’s a soap business and fabrik means factory. By now you are flabbergasted and intrigued, or if you are thinking of Auschwitz, maybe you should go home, or stay to learn that it’s only a show in an arts festival in 2019, and maybe German-born Dutch creator Julian Hetzel is on to something radically new. Your small party is escorted out of the shop and onto King William Street, around the corner, and into the bowels of the building. Thus begins an incredible education into the particulars of human soap and Hetzel’s virtuous circle to fund the sinking of water bores in a Congo village.


You should experience what happens next without the forearming of my précis. After a disorienting hour in the building, our little group ejaculated through a final door and spilled onto the alleyway. We looked at each other with wonder and couldn’t stop talking about it.


P.S. One can’t wait for the sequel – a vitamin drink made from human blood. Just kidding.


David Grybowski


When: 1 to 17 March

Where: 29 King William Street, Adelaide