Lia Rodrigues, #1 – 2022
No power without mass, #1 – 2022
On Kinships and Twins, #1 – 2022
Young Stage, #1 – 2022
CLAIMING COMMON SPACES IV: Cool Down, #1 – 2022
Plant Meditation: A Practical Guide, #1 – 2022
Faces in HELLERAU – Friedemann Heinrich, Financial Management & Controlling, #1 – 2022
To Claudia „Wanda“ Reichardt, #1 -2022
The European Art Saxon, #1 – 2022
Oath of the Stones, #1 – 2022
Kulturland Sachsen geschlossen?
Offener Brief zur Situation von Kultureinrichtungen unter Corona
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.
15./16.10.2021 1984: Back to No Future Gob Squad (DE) In 2020, Gob Squad was awarded the Tabori Prize by the Fonds Darstellende Künste for significantly shaping national and international theatre aesthetics. In 2021, the group received the Friedrich Luft Prize for their 12-hour performance “Show Me A Good Time” (2020, invited to the Theatertreffen 2021). A production of Gob Squad. In co-production with HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, The Public Theater NY(USA), Schauspiel Leipzig, Anuja Ghosalkar/Drama Queen& Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai (India), HELLERAU-European Centre for the Arts Dresden, Teater Momentum Odense and Sort/Hvid Copenhagen(Denmark). Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Funded within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
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.
HYBRID BOX – Modular Gallery for Digital Arts November 2021 HYBRID BOX I AM (VR) Susanne Kennedy & Markus Selg (in collaboration with Rodrik Biersteker) VR installation Production: Ultraworld Productions Co-Production: Berliner Festspiele, HYBRID BOX/HELLERAU-European Centre for the Arts, International Summer Festival Kampnagel, Münchner Kammerspiele, Noorderzon Festival of Performing Arts&Society, Schauspielhaus Bochum/Oval Office, Theater Commons Tokyo, Volkstheater Wien HYBRID BOX is a new modular gallery in front of the Festspielhaus Hellerau presenting experimental and interdisciplinary art in the digital age by local and international artists. www.hybrid-box.org HYBRID BOX is a project in cooperation with HELLERAU-European Centre for the Arts, PYLON and GRAFT Architects. 2021 HYBRID BOX programme is supported by MUTEK, Goethe-Institut, Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.
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.
22.10. – 31.10. HYBRID PLAY #RealityCheck With BBB_, Chez Company, Dimitri de Perrot, K TV, machina eX, onlinetheater.live, Robert Henke & Anna Tskhovrebov, Susanne Kennedy, weltuebergang, ArtesMobiles and others. Also interesting: 10/11.10.2021: DIANA Award-AI Songwriting Contest and Writing Camp, a cooperation with c/o pop Festival and DAVE. 05.12.2021: Magic Machine Award – the world’s first award just for machines, a cooperation with Rosy DX, C. Rockefeller Center, Netzwerk Medien Kunst und Tech With HYBRID, a new international platform, a laboratory, experimental and discursive space for the arts in the digital age and critical phases of global transformation processes will be established in HELLERAU. HYBRID PLAY is funded within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.
The Followers of Ø – Trond Reinholdtsen in conversation with Harry Lehmann and Christine Wahl, #2 – 2021
Mr Reinholdtsen, you are working on the music of the future! With your Norwegian Opra, you develop large-scale philosophical opera projects in which the music is played entirely with virtual instruments. Now you are coming to the Dresden Contemporary Music Days at HELLERAU. What will you be showing there? It’s about a strange, mystical group of losers: inside and outcasts from the lumpenproletariat, the precariat. They call themselves “The Followers of Ø” and will perform their affirmative agitprop oratorio “To arms! To arms!”. For the (few) of you who don’t know the background: “The Followers of Ø” are hyper-enthusiastic and sometimes somewhat radicalised viewers who very often watch my YouTube film series “Ø” and try to interpret it. One part of this “Ø” series could be experienced at the Munich Biennale in 2018: Troll-like creatures with construction foam heads sang key sentences of philosophy with great fervour. The protagonists of the “Ø” films have voluntarily and completely isolated themselves from bureaucracy, decadence, digital noise and the whole idea of an “outside” in general. They call it “the system” and have barricaded themselves from it in the basement of a remote Swedish village. There they plan “The Event”, a mystical action of world-changing proportions. Unfortunately, their preparatory research,their philosophical and political deliberations, their methodological experiments in art and alchemy have come to a centripetal, semi-incestuous dead end; their “project” has become somewhat lost in theory. You call your Norwegian Opra “the birth of opera from the crisis of contemporary music”. What does this crisis consist of? To be honest, it’s a very boring crisis. Who cares about it? Maybe a few Germans. And me, of course. It is a real and catastrophic crisis, but also a tedious and redundant one. The bottom line is that contemporary music is in a sad, dark state, and I’m not really in a position to analyse how it got that way. Isn’t it that the whole scene is lacking in inventiveness, and has been since the seventies? When visual art entered the phase of dematerialisation and lost its media specificity, music followed very slowly. There have been individual exciting outbursts, but our beloved genre always seems to fall back into a counter-revolutionary position. Can you please describe this music-specific conservatism in a little more detail? For me, the contemporary music world is very academic, in the worst sense of the word. There are certain codes and unspoken rules (what is sometimes mistakenly called “craft”). You have to follow those to show that you belong to that system. But academism is always a sign of fear – fear of the anarchy of invention, novelty and dilettantism. That’s why we guard contemporary music with super-strong institutions: with academies, festivals, ensembles, orchestras, the concerto and commissioned works. But institutions driven by the logic of fear always end up choosing the most pragmatic projects and supporting the works of least resistance. Indeed: a catastrophic crisis. How is Norwegian Opra going to get out of it? The attempt is to question precisely these institutional coordinates, that is, the infrastructure of production. And with that, logically, I had to start all by myself: No money, no audience, everything was produced in my living room. On an existential and personal level, the crisis was thus solved; everything else remains to be seen. According to the “Theory and Propaganda Department”, Norwegian Opra has a lot planned: It wants to be a kind of parallel action to Richard Wagner’s famous Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. What fascinates you today about Wagner’s idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk? The reference to Wagner is, at its most basic and banal level, a nostalgia trip: a longing for a time when music was at the centre of the arts, politics and philosophy and helped construct and reinterpret the defining myths of humanity and progress. This is the music before the crisis – at least that’s my fantasy. The idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk was formulated – as readers know, of course – at the height of Wagner’s revolutionary activity, more or less during the flight from Dresden, where he, Bakunin and the rest of the gang had erected barricades and published dangerous pamphlets. In his text “Art and Revolution”, which he wrote a year after Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” appeared, Wagner introduces the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, signalling that there is a strong connection between the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk and the political awakening. But he also dreamt of a link back to the Greek drama of Aeschylus, where art was closely connected to public life, religion and the state. As you can see, there is much here that is exceedingly fascinating: I intend to do all that, of course. Would there actually have been a professional alternative for you? No, I was always a monomaniac. Abridged version; the full interview appeared in Theater der Zeit, March 2021.
04.11.2021 Followers of Ø (premiere) Trond Reinholdtsen & The Norwegian Opra (NO)/ Decoder Ensemble (DE) Music Theatre Commissioned by HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts for TONLAGEN – 30th Dresden Festival of Contemporary Music TONLAGEN is supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen.
No one can give anyone a voice, #2 – 2021
Golnar Shahyar in an interview with VAN editor Merle Krafeld about the musicality of different languages and the diversification of the music business. Reports about you say that you refer to Persian music in your songwriting – what is meant by that? Persian folk? Persian classical music? Golnar Shahyar: Folk still has a very strong ceremonial function in Iran, it is archaic. The sounds differ considerably from region to region, just as the languages differ. Iran is culturally very diverse. You study classical Persian music, you learn it from a master. The music has a higher social status, just like European classical music here. But at some point, this music was also part of folk music. And what of it finds influence in your songwriting? That’s very difficult for me to say. In Iran, after the revolution, there was a ban on women singing. Live music was also often forbidden, I really didn’t experience concerts very often in Iran. We had the revolutionary songs and war songs. And Tasnif, that’s something like a very old Iranian songwriting. And then MTV came along [laughs]. But this music was not representative of my generation. For me, it’s extremely difficult to categorise. You sing in many different languages, especially Farsi and English. What else? I also have pieces in my repertoire in Kurdish, Sephardic and in an imaginary language that I like to use when I feel that songs are not ready for lyrics. Sometimes they are never ready. And some compositions only become round through the textual message. Does the language change the way you compose or sing – because the languages work with different sounds, for example, or with different images in terms of content? Absolutely! Every language has its own sound and its own feeling. I also love singing in Arabic and listening to Arabic. The sounds of this language are incredibly beautiful for singing. German is difficult for me [laughs]. In Farsi, for example, many things remain open, have several meanings. Every language offers other spaces, other images, other sounds, other ideas. Are language and musical material connected for you? For example, do you also use the Iranian dastgah system when you sing in Farsi? I can sing Iranian scales to an English text. But it sounds so funny! [laughs] Our ears are simply not used to that. There is already something like a language melody through which the scales are connected with the languages. Apart from composing my own music, I am also looking for my own interpretation of the old Iranian traditional and folk music as well as the old tasnifs. This means that I sing according to the Iranian dastgah system, but with new vocal colours, vocal and arrangement approaches. In my own compositions, I sometimes think from the perspective of the dastgah system and develop the melodies in this system. However, it is my conscious decision to find my own interpretation and expression, which does not categorise me as a typical Iranian classical singer. To me, your pieces sound very lively and free, I feel there is a lot of improvisation. Our songs are composed: the structure and certain melodies. But how I get into a melody, for example – that changes at every concert. And there are always parts that I leave completely free for myself, where I let myself be surprised on stage what happens. You recently wrote an open letter about the media’s disregard for musicians with a migrant background in Austria … I have been working in Austria for almost ten years. In the music business there are clichés of cultures that have nothing to do with the actual cultures. This forces artists to present their own culture as exotic as possible – because otherwise they simply can’t perform. The education system also plays a role: you can only study European classical music, American jazz and Anglo-Saxon pop. We are often overlooked by music journalism. When we do appear, we are not regarded as artists, as specialists, but as exotic objects. It is also never discussed that “world music” is a problematic, discriminatory term. The term was invented as a marketing tool, but it is simply impossible to describe so much diverse music under one term. Do you have any concrete suggestions? This topic actually deserves its own interview. The marginalised cultures need more space and power in the musical ecosystem as a whole. And that has to develop organically. No one can give anyone a voice – people already have a voice. They know who they are and what they want. They just need the space, time and belief that they can do it. This is where education plays a crucial role. Music colleges should open their doors to these marginalised cultures as soon as possible. We need more musicians who understand musical diversity, respect it and can practice it. Then we could collectively develop an understanding of what our contemporary musical language is, because it is certainly not just the white European and American musical identity. Abridged version; the full interview appeared in the online magazine OUTERNATIONAL on 7 October 2020. www.van-outernational.com
Sat 06.11.2021 Amazon Stories Golnar Shahyar, voice; Elsa M’Bala aka AMET, electronics; Leopold Hurt, zither; Afra Mussawisade, tonbak; Mona Matbou Riahi, clarinet Elisa Erkelenz, curation and concept; Heinrich Horwitz, room and concept A concert by Outernational as part of 4:3 Kammer Musik Neu
Über die Mauer, #2 – 2021
Fri/Sat 14/15.01.2022 Über die Mauer Arila Siegert (DE) A production of the Akademie der Künste Berlin
Im Umbruch, #2 – 2021
A dance documentary about three East German women artists between everyday life and revolution, art and the culture industry, self and community spirit and the question of what remains of yesterday in today. With Fine Kwiatkowski, Daniela Lehmann and Cindy Hammer. A society in upheaval: that is the diagnosis of our time. But what does social upheaval feel like? For the Italian sociologist Barbara Lubich, this film began with a research project on subversive dance in the GDR. She moved from northern Italy to eastern Germany in 1998. During her research she met Lutz Dammbeck, Christine Schlegel, Hanne Wandtke and many others. And there was always talk of a special woman. A dancing icon. Fine Kwiatkowski. Fine was considered provocative, experimental, non-conformist and was a projection screen of political rebellion for artists and the public alike. Barbara Lubich visits her in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Fine begins to talk about her life in long conversations. Scientific interviews become filming for a long-term observation, questions about the past become questions about the now. At the same time, Barbara Lubich meets Daniela Lehmann, born in 1979, in Dresden. She too is a dancer. In the GDR she was supposed to become a high diver. But at some point she didn’t want to jump any more. Today she commutes between worlds, between Dahab, where the revolution has come to a standstill, and Dresden, her hometown, between her profession as a dancer and her role as a mother. And then Cindy Hammer appears on the scene. She was born in the year the Wall came down. At 11 she went to boarding school at the Palucca School, at 16 she continued her education while her parents ventured a new life far beyond the former border. In her dance she combines ballet and street dance with the imagery of Hollywood, inventing something new, humorous and at the same time deeply irritating. She knows what she wants. The world is open to her. But how do you know when a new act begins?
Sun 16.01.2022 Im Umbruch A Film by Barbara Lubich (DE)
Residency Programme HELLERAU, #2 – 2021
Artists research, test, reject, create, present. In cooperation with the Fond Darstellende Künste, HELLERAU provides space and time for 95 #TakeCareResidencies. The writer and filmmaker Jovana Reisinger and the trio “Patterns of Paradyze” with Kathrin Dröppelmann, Margarete Kiss, Leon Lechner provide insights into their research process on the following pages.
By Jovana Reisinger, whose research deals with the concept of home and anti-home art (version of 31 May 2021). L.L. once sent me a photo of himself on a mountain, surrounded by mountain pines, low-hanging clouds and other mountain peaks. His hair was tied in cute braids and he made a cute face while coyly blinking at the camera. I found him very attractive, not at all a catalogue nature boy. This portrait came abruptly with a line that made me think of mothers and photo albums from the 1990s (“Am riding high”). Still, this man seemed made for the summit (for all summits!) and I immediately replied, “You look good in the landscape”. And although I wrote him that, he never went hiking with me (whew!). Instead, L.B. and I took a rental car and drove out of the city, into the mountains. The excitement of the impending nature experience made us giggle delightedly and a pop song playlist fuelled the mood further. Fortunately, it had been raining steadily for days and the weather only promised to improve from midday onwards, so we could confidently sleep in and relax (hearty lunch!) before setting off on the hike (cf.: “The way is the goal”, “Even the longest path begins with the first step”). L.B.’s blue Patagonia down jacket not only nestled elegantly into the landscape of the rushing mountain river we were hiking upstream, but blended quite smoothly into the mass of other thin, dark blue down jackets that started with us from the hikers’ car park that was actually so signposted – which amused us as much as it repelled us. My aunt’s discarded hiking clothes suggested without a doubt that I was not only a regular tourer (complete misjudgement), but also that I value quality and brands – and have the necessary capital (No!). So I passed for a pro. Unfortunately it was pleasantly cool, so the trousers with all the zips didn’t come into play, which would have shown me to be one with a sense of permanently changing weather patterns. I like the idea of going out in a pair of long trousers, zipping up in between at knee level and then at the thighs and unzipping the lower parts each time. Three-pants-in-one I think is great. I love practical things, but I especially like the feeling of security that (high-tech) functional clothing gives off. However, the promise of being equipped for any situation (survival mode: on) must be worn with the attitude of never being ashamed of being overequipped (motto: “forewarned is forearmed”). I’m annoyed by the constant greeting each other on the mountain, which I do either over-committedly or furtively mumbling – which in the end will probably always out me as an insecure city dweller. For a while I stood on a hill looking at the people happily consuming at the hut in their survival couture style, happily chatting to each other as if they were all known to each other. L.B. was almost impossible to spot with his outfit and at some point joined me at the vantage point with a beer, which made me happy – because such a drink would taste especially delicious after such an effort. Not only did it turn out that for most of our companions this pretty hut was the end of the hike (nice destination!), but also that the rest of the time the mountain river had to be crossed again and again to reach the waterfalls in the gorge. The initial uncertainty gave way to an unexpected sense of adventure and we jumped from stone to stone, nimbly finding our way across the icy water (only one foot landed in it, but stayed dry thanks to the high quality shoes, thank you auntie). I felt my heart pounding and liked to be faster than L.B. on the other bank sometimes, but he usually held out his hand to help me over tricky passages. On this day, the clouds were racing as fast as the river was rushing along and the last few metres we thought we were going to run into a terrible thunderstorm (here we are in nature for once!) but kept going. But then, just as we were climbing onto a rock in front of the waterfall to eat our snack, the sun broke through and the surroundings showed themselves in the most beautiful kitsch. The rocks, caves, pines, mountain flowers, medicinal herbs and the roaring sound made me think that I urgently needed to move to a mountain village to be truly happy. I took many photos. Overwhelmed and happy. Totally high. Lonely in the gorge. We had lost the others. All of nature just for us. I sent one of them to L.L. He replied: You are beautiful in the landscape. And I knew it was true. Because this one was perfect. L.B. laughed and I didn’t know why. I laughed and remembered a moment in the alpine part of the botanical garden in Berlin when L.K. and I found the most beautiful tree (teardrop pine) and vowed to stay together forever. Nature triggers the funniest and finest feelings in us. Pining, I thought: Dear Drama, I’m all in! Show me what you got. And L.L. has already cancelled the next walking day. #TakeCareResidencies is a funding programme of the Performing Arts Fund within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR. Realised by the Alliance of International Production Houses, the association of the 7 largest institutions for the independent performing arts in Germany, funded by the Federal Government for Culture and the Media.
Kathrin Dröppelmann, Margarete Kiss, Leon Lechner (Patterns of Paradyze) We are researching heterotopic designs for inter-specific communication in contemporary gardens against the background of resistant practices of animals, plants and (non-)humans. What forms of a common language develop when humans no longer determine? Where can examples of this be found in the gardens of Hellerau? Starting from the concept of paradise, we develop a multifaceted methodology consisting of reading theory together, walks and fence talks in Hellerau. We will use the HELLERAU cultural garden to make our growing knowledge and exchange visible: Through the performative act of planting a field of nettles, we want to illustrate a parallel growth process to our thoughts. Not in the sense of a finished product or with a claim of objectivity, rather we are interested in questioning aesthetic practice for its knowledge: what kind of knowledge can art produce? Collectively, we negotiate ourselves and our approach. Negotiating in this sense means listening to each other, enduring, caring, discussing, arguing, giving in and being able to laugh about it. Private property vs. other forms of property, community land trust, cooperative,… Garden A garden is a demarcated piece of land in which plants or animals are cultivated by humans and thus cared for (cultivated). Unlike parks, gardens are usually private areas. Who are the owners? John Locke says: “The labour of his body and the work of his hands are, we may say, in a proper sense his property. Whatever, therefore, he removes from the state which nature has provided and left it in, he has mixed with his labour, and added to it something of his own. He has thus made it his own.” (TTG II 27, 216 f., John Locke: Two treatises of Government, England, 1689). Garden as shelter The garden as a space of control or as a community of relationships? Vegetation communities (non-)human/animal/nature Vegetation community describes the type of plant stand that has a very similar species composition. It arises because only a specific group of plant species can settle and persist under certain site conditions. The species are interrelated. Factors for coexistence are climate, mutual support and also competition. If the site factors change, the plant communities change into others. This process is called succession. Paradise The word “paradise” comes from ancient Iranian and means “enclosure”. “Chortos”, from which “garden” is derived, is Indo-European and means a fenced, sheltered place. Who is allowed in and who is not? Fence The fence can form a boundary to the outside or enclose an area. In the case of the garden, it protects a man-made space, a living space that explicitly excludes and includes people as well as non-people. Our interest in a wall led to a conversation with the owner. She explained to us why this wall was built in GDR times: it was to keep the exhaust fumes of the Trabants and Wartburgs that drove up the street recently out of the pie plate. Intervention: field of nettles We build a 7-metre fence of weeds. “Unkraut” in German: the “un-” always has the potential to be resistant and important. The nettle and its rhizomes grow and develop in parallel with us and our knowledge, networking and branching out. The first month has passed and our fence is not growing. Perhaps because the nettle does not want to be instrumentalised by us to build the fence? We don’t know. “If the Earth is Planet Garden [Gilles Clément] we should all be gardeners […]” Maria Paula Diogo, Ana Simões, Ana Duarte Rodrigues and Davide Scarso, Gardens and Human Agency in the Anthropocene, p.96,.l. 8, First published 2019 by Routledge