25.02.2022

Statement of Solidarity with the Ukrainian people

The Alliance of International Production Houses condemns in the strongest possible terms the invasion and start of war by Russian troops in Ukraine and the related blatant violation of international law. We are shocked by the extent of the violation of human rights, the violence against the Ukrainian population and the extraordinary threat to peace in Europe.

We declare our solidarity with all peace-loving people and we stand up for the protection of democratic, open societies. As internationally working production houses, we use our contacts and networks to give a voice to and stand by threatened artists and colleagues with our means and work programmes.

Альянс міжнародних виробників рішуче засуджує початок війни і вторгнення російських військ в Україну та пов’язане з цим різке порушення міжнародного права. Ми шоковані рівнем порушень прав людини, насильством проти українського населення та надзвичайною загрозою миру в Європі.

Ми заявляємо про нашу солідарність з усіма миролюбними людьми і стаємо на захист демократичних, відкритих суспільств. Як міжнародні виробникі, ми використовуємо наші контакти та мережі, щоб надати голос митцям і колегам, яким загрожує небезпека, і підтримати їх у наших можливостях та робочих програмах.

For 2,00€, refugees from Ukraine will be admitted to our performances upon presentation of appropriate proof.

  

Біженці з України можуть потрапити на наші вистави за €2,00 за наявності відповідних документів.

Support for Ukraine

Alliance of International Production Houses

07.02.2022

Watch Out!, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

Bandstand Music Videos 2022, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

Transverse Orientation, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

Lieder ohne Worte, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

5 Tage Belarus, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

Lia Rodrigues, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

No power without mass, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

On Kinships and Twins, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

Young Stage, #1 – 2022

07.02.2022

CLAIMING COMMON SPACES IV: Cool Down, #1 – 2022

06.02.2022

Plant Meditation: A Practical Guide, #1 – 2022

06.02.2022

Faces in HELLERAU – Friedemann Heinrich, Financial Management & Controlling, #1 – 2022

06.02.2022

To Claudia „Wanda“ Reichardt, #1 -2022

06.02.2022

The European Art Saxon, #1 – 2022

06.02.2022

Oath of the Stones, #1 – 2022

12.01.2022

Kulturland Sachsen geschlossen?

Offener Brief zur Situation von Kultureinrichtungen unter Corona

10.09.2021

1984: Back to No Future, #2 – 2021

In their new production, Gob Squad travel back to 1984, back to the “good old days” when life was still analogue and simple – without internet and limited to three TV channels. At the risk of falling into nostalgia and losing themselves completely in the maelstrom of pop music, they meet their former selves: Teenagers who, in the midst of the Cold War and full of fear of nuclear catastrophe, tried to shape themselves and their future. Playfully, they transcend time to develop visions for the present via the past, which also saw “No Future”, and new perspectives for what lies ahead.

The collective and the audience

Gob Squad have been an integral part of the international art scene since their founding in 1994. Visual artist and filmmaker Phil Collins talks to members Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost and Simon Will about collective working methods, their own replaceability and the audience. Phil: There was a decisive moment in the 1980s when performance artists became a laughing stock in the popular imagination, in Hollywood films and on television. Performance was considered trivial, superfluous, useless, because – unlike today – you couldn’t make money with it. Performance implies criticism – of work, of time, of values. The focus is not on the individual, brilliant artist, but on the group as a creative force. What is the most difficult thing about being a collective? Sean: The collective takes time. You spend many hours talking and discussing. Ironically, it’s a long process until you have everything discussed and everyone on board to make art that relies decidedly on the spontaneous. Sarah: In retrospect, it shows that we started on the edge and beyond institutions, so to speak. We chose a path where you wouldn’t eventually become a director or a solo artist, with a name that everyone knew. We gave up the I and became the we. We decided on this journey and on the DIY punk aesthetic. Perhaps we thought – quite naively – that we could permanently operate outside the system with our political stance. Today, of course, it’s clear that we too belonged to the establishment at some point. We have to pay rent. To be able to work, we apply for funding, and you never get money for free. Money always comes with an agenda. Sometimes we ask ourselves if we are part of a culture factory. Even though we always decide against the product and work in a process-oriented way, we are aware that we live in a culture where we are evaluated and judged by the product, by the result, not by the process. It’s hard to rebel against this commodity value-driven inertia and also to build consensus in the group about what exactly that means. Simon: Gob Squad has been around for a long time. For 25 years. The way we work together has always evolved. Our own experience has increased our interest in collective forms of work, especially in collectives that have also existed for as long as we have and that manage to create a framework for themselves in which individuals can move freely. Johanna: I always think of a long relationship in which it becomes increasingly difficult to surprise the other person. At the same time, however, trust in each other grows. In this conversation with you, Phil, it strikes me again that there are words that Gob Squad would never use. We relate to each other so much that the English members of the group know the vocabulary of the Germans and adapt to it. It is rare that we have to ask what a certain term means. On the other hand, we just as often ask: “Whaaaat? Why not? Why do you see it differently from me?” So there is both this almost automatic familiarity with each other, and at the same time a lot of convincing that needs to be done. Phil: Besides the work for your productions, a lot certainly goes into the daily maintenance of a group that has been working together for over 25 years. That interests me. Because I myself also often cooperate with groups and teams, but usually in different compositions. So I don’t necessarily have to convince others of my ideas. In contrast, you develop your ideas on a completely different basis. Sean: You say you don’t really need to convince anyone? But I need dialogue to develop ideas. We usually present the fragment of an idea, something that interests us, an end, a beginning, but never the whole thing. If the spark is there and someone takes up the idea, we develop it. If not, we do something else. Sarah: It really makes a difference whether it’s an artistic project or Gob Squad in general. Developing a payment system that everyone feels is fair, or how much say we give our staff – that’s hard, emotional work. In contrast, the rehearsals are more relaxed. Simon: Getting up from the table, moving around the room and trying things out – that’s completely different from a six-hour meeting about collective structures. Johanna: But we also negotiate the creative aspects of our work: “Do we try this scene again? Or do we leave it out?” Bastian: Leaving it out is usually the most difficult, because someone in the team can always discover something good about an idea. Phil: An ongoing theme is the autobiographical. No matter how radical and offensive or how cautious and reserved you are, when you decide how much of yourself is reflected in the production: As a spectator, I am inevitably always thrown back on my own history. In these structures of confession, if you like, I can locate myself, and here and there I then want to take your place quite actively. What is it about this autobiographical impulse that appeals to you? Johanna: When I saw early works by Gob Squad, even before I was a member of the group, I was particularly touched by the fact that there is not this distanced art expert or master who acts, talks, performs on stage, but a person you can approach: an ordinary person with weaknesses, someone like me. I felt directly addressed. Sharon: We never play a person we are not. This probably has to do with post-modernism: As artists, we are part of the work. “We play ourselves” also serves the relationship with the audience that we strive for. We are not interested in displaying special skills that might be attributed to a stage language or methods of performance art. We want to present everyday, non-constructed bodies and people and not stand alone or above the audience. Berit: When you say that you want to actively take our place while watching, Phil – I take that as a compliment. None of us sees ourselves as irreplaceable. On the contrary, our performances are not about individual fates, but about shareability. Johanna: They are about stories that everyone has experienced, that we can all share. Everyone can identify with them, get involved with them. Berit: That is important to us: that everyone can find themselves in the projects we develop. It’s also about shared authorship. Everyone contributes and writes in, and what comes out in the end belongs to everyone equally. Only from the mosaic of puzzle pieces does a narrative emerge – often only at the moment when we are on stage together – and the audience also adds its part. In this sense, our plays are never finished or completely written. Abridged version; the full interview appeared in: Aenne Qui ones (ed.): Gob Squad – What are you looking. at? Postdramatic Theatre in Portraits. Volume 1, 2020. A publication series of the Kunststiftung NRW at Alexander Verlag Berlin, pp. 64 – 74, translated by Lilian-Astrid Geese.

10.09.2021

I Dream Therefore I am, #2 – 2021

Virtual reality of human consciousness “The richest, most maximally robust and near-perfect VR experience we currently know is our very own ordinary, biologically evolved form of waking consciousness itself. VR is the best technological metaphor for conscious experience we currently have.” Thomas Metzinger In the virtual reality installation “I AM (VR)” Susanne Kennedy and Markus Selg, in collaboration with Rodrik Biersteker, explore new immersive theatre dimensions. The audience is immersed in a virtual world with the help of a VR headset: only after the awareness of this new reality has been raised over several stages is the time ripe for the audience to meet the oracle. The future appears in the algorithms of the fractals. What question do we want to ask the oracle? Against the background of the analogy between the structure of human consciousness and VR experiences, old questions appear under new auspices. Since its beginnings – from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to the questions of Buddhism and far beyond the Cartesian cogito – the history of philosophy has been concerned with the epistemological problem of distinguishing the truth of things from the way they appear in our perception. Who would choose the red pill, who the blue pill? In a present in which the boundaries between virtual and supposedly real reality are becoming increasingly blurred, human life appears like a large-scale simulation that is increasingly capable of generating images, creating new realities and modulating emotions. Is what is depicted in our perception reality or one of many realities? Do we not still watch fascinated a shadow play on a cave wall? Or have we long since become part of a computer game in whose glitches the truth about ourselves is revealed? “Gnothi seauton” (“Know thyself!”) – as the inscription of the temple of Apollo in Delphi, the imperative accentuates the limitedness of human existence and at the same time points beyond it as a philosophical and spiritual educational mission. Just as the truth-seeking Oedipus set out for the Delphic oracle, the hope for knowledge and enlightenment manifests itself in a digital oracle in the context of “I AM (VR)”. “I AM (VR)” was developed with VR technology and can be experienced exclusively in virtual space. The audience travels through virtual space in search of an oracle, just as the ancient Greeks once visited the temple of Delphi to have their fortunes told. What do we encounter in virtual space? The history of mankind, artificial intelligences or an avatar of our own self? Or something completely unexpected? “‘I AM (VR)’ is a journey that takes you to a place that is hidden within you,” Kennedy explained. “A kind of online dreaming where you are a wandering spirit without a body. It’s a dynamic inner simulation where you are both observer and observed.” For the theatre director, who works in Berlin, virtual reality technology enables people to become aware of their real lives in a new way. “It’s a technology that shows us how we interact with reality, our normal lives,” she said in an online artist conversation on the occasion of the digital world premiere of “I AM (VR)” at the Commons Theatre in Tokyo. “It is a tool that lets us realise what reality is in the first place”. Susanne Kennedy studied theatre directing in Amsterdam, from 2011 she worked at the Münchner Kammerspiele, received invitations to the Theatertreffen, the Ruhrtriennale or the Wiener Festwochen, among others. After “Coming Society” (2019) and “Ultraworld” (2020) at the Berlin Volksbühne, Kennedy’s current work “I AM (VR)” is another dystopian, enigmatic investigation of identity and subjectivity, dream and reality, which she conceived together with Markus Selg. Markus Selg is a multimedia artist who explores the dynamic between archaic myth and computer technology through digital painting, sculpture, immersive installations, theatre and VR. Together with Rodrik Biersteker, he was awarded the Faust Prize in 2020 for “Best Stage/Video Design”. Rodrik Biersteker studied design for virtual theatre and games in Utrecht and, as an interdisciplinary artist, primarily conceives, researches and develops video and interactive technologies in a theatrical context.

10.09.2021

HYBRID PLAY #RealityCheck, 22. – 31. October 2021, #2 – 2021

Playing means gradually updating the rules. Or creating rules that require constant updating. There is a continuum between gaming and play. Both need rules. At one end of the spectrum is the loop. At the other end, an open form. (Hito Steyerl, in: A Tank on a Pedestal, 2018) The 10-day festival HYBRID PLAY focuses on interactive installations, interdisciplinary and participatory theatre and music performances as well as game formats that engage with digital forms of storytelling in a curious, risk-taking and above all speculative way, experimenting with digital aesthetics and opening up new spaces of interaction. In mixed forms of digital and analogue spaces, audience and artists meet and can take on changing roles in different settings: Spectator, Player, Observer … Programmatically, HYBRID PLAY subjects theatre to a #RealityCheck, (under)searches art in the age of digital transformation processes, in the midst of rapid developments of virtual worlds, avatars, epic games, metahumans or AI storytelling. In selected works and concepts, viewers can explore unknown perspectives, can act and decide, playfully and without fear of consequences: How can complex challenges like climate change be mastered? What skills will politicians of the future need? In weltuebergang’s hybrid utopia game “New Radicare”, invited guests play with and against each other in a situation room for joint public thinking and testing of social strategies. In the interactive card game “I want to believe”, K TV deals with the complex of themes of opinion-forming and the public sphere. The focus is on the visitors, who appear in the talk show setting as experts on the podium or as followers. The music show “Songs of Cyborgeoisie” by BBB_ is written from the point of view of various artificial intelligences that report on a world of the near future – to be experienced as a single-player game or as an interactive installation with live music. Chez Company send avatars from a control centre into the outside world – what kind of cityscape emerges from the subjective stories they transmit to us? What are translation errors and what are discoveries? The smartphone game “Loulu” by onlinetheater makes manipulation tactics and discourse shifts of “new right” networks tangible and shows that social internet platforms can be perfect germ cells for targeted radicalisation. Robert Henke’s and Anna Tskhovrebov’s current project “CBM 8032 AV” for five Commodore computers from 1980 combines a special curiosity about current as well as historical techniques of electronic music and digital art, about the aesthetic peculiarities of fascinating “black boxes” and “toys” such as synthesisers or computers. For the entire duration of the festival, the Great Hall of the Festspielhaus will be both an immersion space and a stage setting: the performative installation “No Man’s Land” by Swiss artist Dimitri de Perrot transforms the stage into a place of reflection and inspiration with a hybrid play between theatre, concert, installation and party. In his “disco of everyday life”, the audience can move freely and at the same time experience the play between DJ and audience as a stage play without words. Also for the entire duration of the festival, the collective ArtesMobiles will present, test and further develop the project “System Failed” in a try-out show. In cooperation with ZKM | Karlsruhe, CCC, CTM, Akademie für Theater und Digitalität Dortmund and NEXT LEVEL – Festival for Games, among others, a participatory performance will be created in the following months that deals with structures of power in the so-called smart age and makes algorithmic government techniques playfully tangible.