TO GATHER (HOW TO GET CLOSER)
A digital exchange format for transnational work and curating in Performing Arts
International festivals have always been located in the field of tension between the “global” and the “local” realm. Artistic works are transposed from the context in which they are created to the context in which they are performed. Travel enriches and uproots. The standstill of the last year and a half has thrust most artists and programmers back onto their immediate surroundings, while often casting new light on that setting. The pandemic has become a catalyst in many areas of life within our societies, exacerbating inequalities or rendering them even more apparent. That also holds true for the performing arts: while artists from the Global North could largely rely on state support, stopping production was often not an option for artists from the Global South, with scarcely any options of funding aid from local institutions. What forms of collaboration remain – or first emerge – when the pandemic makes artistic production and presentations across borders difficult or impossible? How can spaces for encounters and exchange be established? What possibilities does the internet offer as a global space? Wrapping up the festival, TO GATHER (HOW TO GET CLOSER) seeks to exchange ideas on collaborative work across borders and to collect, transmit and preserve diverse understandings of more equitable ways of producing and curating.
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04.11., 2-3.30 pm (CET):
Monster Truck / Footprints of David | Followed by a conversation with Sahar Rahimi, Segun Adefila and Oluwaseun Awobajo | Moderation: Julian Warner | Film in English
GHOSTING is a term that refers to completely breaking off contact and communication out of the blue. When theatres in Germany were closed in November 2020 and travelling became impossible, the performance group Monster Truck, choreographer Segun Adefila and the seven performers from the Lagos-based children’s theatre group Footprints of David decided to relocate to the internet. However, communication was disrupted: “Boohoo!” – “Can you hear me?” – “I can't see you” – “Are you even there?”. No reply was forthcoming. And so performer Sahar Rahimi holes up in the theatre and make up for her collaborators’ absence with a series of surrogate acts. Finally, a courier delivers Anjoola 2, a three-dimensional variant of the smallest girl in the group, with desires and fantasies completely disconnected from the real version and ultimately controllable. With images shot in Berlin and Lagos, GHOSTING is a film about being together and being abandoned, about digital bad consciences, teenage conflict avoidance and transcontinental power games. At SPIELART the film screening will be followed by a talk with Sahar Rahimi, Segun Adefila and Oluwaseun Awobajo who will discuss how they worked together in an impermeable time.
04.11., 4-5.30 pm (CET):
IMAGINE A THEATER – A panel on local-global art spaces
With Elisabeth Efua Sutherland and Sankar Venkateswaran | Moderation: Virginie Dupray
Seeking an artistic practice that is integrated into life rather than isolated from it, Sankar Venkateswaran and Satoko Tsurudome built a theatre in the remote jungle of Attappadi. They work there with their neighbours from various indigenous and migrant communities. After studying in the USA, Elisabeth Efua Sutherland returned to Accra (Ghana) to found the Terra Alta theatre and a community programme aimed at children designed to convey Ghanaian heritage. A conversation about artistic positioning between the local sphere and the global context.
05.11., 12-1.30 pm (CET):
WHERE IS THE INTERNET LOCATED? – A panel on performances in the digital realm
With Eisa Jocson, Jamal Nxedlana and Lindi Mngxitama (Bubblegum Club), Mallika Taneja | Moderation: Silvia Bauer
Over the past year and a half, numerous web-based and digital performance formats have been developed. In MANILA ZOO, Eisa Jocson presents artists performing at home while the audience watches a live stream in the theatre. Bubblegum Club are developing a ZOOM performance, Mallika Taneja is curating REST OF THE STRUGGLE, a project running for a number of weeks on various digital channels. How does a relationship with the audience develop in these projects? Is the internet a geographically neutral place? Can there be an international audience and how might this in turn influence artistic projects?
05.11., 2-4.45 pm (CET):
FESTIVALS AS GLOBAL SPACES – A conversation with three artistic directors
Where and how do theatre festivals position themselves, and why? Eva Neklyaeva, co-curator of the SPIELART Theatre Festival, interviews three artistic directors, Jeff Khan, Daniel Blanga Gubbay and Ron Berry, about their curatorial approaches.
2-2.45 pm (CET):
Conversation between Jeff Khan and Eva Neklyaeva
Jeff Khan devised LIVEWORKS as an Asia-Pacific festival that centres feminist, queer and First Nations perspectives.
3-3.45 pm (CET):
Conversation between Daniel Blanga Gubbay and Eva Neklyaeva
Daniel Blanga Gubbay presents Kunstenfestivaldesarts’ DIASPORIC SCHOOL, which engages with the circulation of knowledge across distances.
4-4.45 pm (CET):
Conversation between Ron Berry and Eva Neklyaeva
With LIVE IN AMERICA in 2021, Ron Berry seeks to re-imagine the festival as a “justice- oriented space for enriching communities, uplifting histories, and building a shared sense of stewardship”.
05.11., 5-6 pm (CET):
MOVING WITHOUT BODIES – A panel on how concepts and ideas travel
With Silvia Bottiroli, Kris Nelson, Mwenya Kabwe and Lindiwe Matshikiza | Moderation: Rucera Seethal
The pandemic has brought international tours to a standstill for some time now and this had already been preceded by criticism of flying due to climate change concerns. New modes of collaboration are emerging in response. Kris Nelson, art director of LIFT in London, introduces “concept touring”, which involves ideas travelling. Silvia Bottiroli addresses prototyping and the question of how a work can be developed across continents and yet for a specific local audience. In “Priority Mail”, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Mwenya Kabwe have developed a project involving various artists from the African continent that explores the historical reasons for the dearth of exchanges between Anglophone and Francophone regions.
06.11., 2-3.30 pm (CET):
CREATING ECOSYSTEMS –A panel on mentorship programs
With Ogutu Muraya and Omar Abi Azar | Moderation: Martine Dennewald
Two mentor projects are showing works-in-progress as part of NEW FREQUENCIES during the concluding days of the festival. With Maabara Exchange Theatre, author and performer Ogutu Muraya has founded a writing workshop in Nairobi. Beirut-based Zoukak Company has initiated 4 mentoring projects in the past two years alone.Ogutu Muraya and Omar Abi Azar talk about their motivations, experiences and how their work influences local cultural scenes.
WIDERSTAND – ANEIGNUNG, ÜBERSETZUNG UND TRANSFER. EIN REALITÄTSTHEATER
Video and Book (4. Version) | Installation in the Festival Center
Since 2019, Frauke Zabel has been repeatedly revising the printed book "Realität-Theater-Körper-Aneignung-Übersetzung-Transfer. Possibilities and Impossibilities of Resistance", published by adocs publishing. This long-term project takes its starting point in a discussion between five (cultural) workers* in São Paulo about resistance against neo-fascism, right-wing populism and censorship in Brazil, shortly after the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro. Already in this conversation, the role of Frauke Zabel, who invited to this discussion and sits at the table, comes into focus. The reworking and reflection of the role of the white, German artist (K) in Brazil has found its transfer into a video work as an ongoing process. In the video, the reading of the text is documented alongside the editing and revision of the printed book, as an ongoing engagement. The book is meanwhile extended by a text contribution about the situation 2020 in Brazil by Adriana Schneider Alcure. Another attached transcript continues the dialogue begun in São Paulo. This second conversation on solidarity alliances took place in December 2020. For this, Lisa Jeschke, Katrina Mäntele, and Frauke Zabel met at the Lyrik Kabinett Munich, while Adriana Schneider Alcure was video-connected from Rio de Janeiro.
São Paulo, February 2019 - Conversation with: Cláudio Bueno, Bárbara Esmenia, Peter Pál Pelbart, Sylvia Prado, Márcia Silva.
Design | Concept Anna Lena von Helldorff Editing | Concept Juliane Schickedanz Other contributors Anne Kulbatzki, Mehmet Sözer, Jules* Elting, Isabelle Cohn, Diana Marie Müller, Vivi Balby, Diana Felber, Louis Hay, Nora Wehofsits, Anna Jehle, Paula Van Erven, Julia Swoboda, Mira Sacher, Oliver Precht, Constanza Meléndez, Verena Wössner, Mira Mann, Felix Kruis, Lisa Jeschke, Katrina Mäntele, Adriana Schneider Alcure
Frauke Zabel (*1985) is an artist and art educator. After a guest semester at the Universidade de São Paulo in 2017 and her studies at the AdBK Munich, Frauke was in Brazil again in 2018/2019 with the help of a DAAD scholarship. Since 2013, she has been an honorary member of Kunstpavillon e.V. in the Old Botanical Garden in Munich and has taught between theory and practice at various art colleges in Germany.
MY NAME IS TAMIZH (AT)
A new creation by Sankar Venkateswaran for SPIELART 2023
Date: 03.11. | Venue: Münchner Volkstheater | Speakers: Sankar Venkateswaran and Nicholas Kirutharshan (via Zoom) | Moderated by Rustom Bharucha (via Zoom)
The talk on the new creation is scheduled after the performance CRIMINAL TRIBES ACT: EXTENDED on 03.11. Indian theatre director Sankar Venkateswaran and Nicholas Kirutharshan, who runs a cultural initiative in Jaffna will be sharing their thoughts, reflections, entry points, the do’s and don'ts in their creative process of making a collaborative piece of theatre that deals with language, power and memories in the context of Northern Sri Lanka, particularly Jaffna. The talk is part of the new creation with a working title MY NAME IS TAMIZH (AT) scheduled to premiere in 2023. Sankar Venkateswaran is from South India, and Nicholas from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, who are two Tamil-speaking people from different historical and geo-political contexts. The conversation will be in English, moderated by Rustom Bharucha.
MY NAME IS TAMIZH (AT) is a theatre piece that is built on the principles of dialogue and translation, excerpted from ongoing conversations between people from different cultural backgrounds. Three performers, engaging in seemingly candid and discursive conversations, slowly enter and traverse a difficult terrain of memories, stories, eye-witness accounts and lived experiences of Tamil people of Jaffna. Using the incident of Jaffna Library burning as a locus point, the piece explores the role of language in creating (mis)understandings and through that somehow, playfully attempts to expose the nexus between language, power and terror.
Sankar Venkateswaran, born in 1979, is a theatre director from Kerala, India. He lives and works from Sahyande Theatre, a theatre-dwelling he built in the mountain valley of Attappadi, Kerala. His works include INDIAN ROPE TRICK, CRIMINAL TRIBES ACT, Ibsen’s WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN, Shogo Ohta’s WATER STATION, and INDIKA for Münchner Volkstheater. He served as the artistic director for International Theatre Festival of Kerala in 2016 and 2017. He is a recipient of Ibsen Scholarship 2013, Norway.
Nicholas Kirutharshan is the director of Kälam – a space for cultural encounters in Jaffna, in partnership with Goethe-Institut Sri Lanka, and he has been a driving force behind the exchanges and presenting diverse cultural events in Jaffna. Nicholas Kirutharshan graduated from the University of Jaffna where he served as a temporary lecturer before completing ARThinkSouthAsia Fellowship in New Delhi in 2016, and subsequently done an internship at Künstlerhaus Mousonturmin, Frankfurt in 2017.
Rustom Bharucha is the author of several books including THEATRE AND THE WORLD (1993), THE POLITICS OF CULTURAL PRACTICE: THINKING THROUGH THEATRE IN AN AGE OF GLOBALIZATION (2000) and TERROR AND PERFORMANCE (2014). The last publication was researched while he was a Fellow at the International Research Center/Interweaving Performance Cultures in Berlin, Germany, between 2010-2012. Very recently, he has published a new book titled PERFORMING THE RAMAYANA TRADITION: ENACTMENTS, INTERPRETATIONS AND ARGUMENTS, co-edited with Paula Richman. During the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, he produced a 9-episode video-lecture on Theatre and the Coronavirus. Currently, he is working as a dramaturge on an inter-Asian production of a new play based on the Mahabharata to be staged in Singapore at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, in June 2022.
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
A Thematic Focus on Climate Justice
„What do we want? - Climate Justice! - When do we want it? - “ the activists of Fridays for Future have shouted since the beginning of the Climate Movement 2018. Today, Greta Thunberg is an adult, and the Paris Climate Protection Agreement has arrived in a new decade. The conditions as well as the effects of the climate crisis are unevenly distributed across the world. Issues of Climate Justice are always tied to Climate Fragility: in the regions which are already severely affected by climate change, the climatic and ecological catastrophe leads to additional political, social, and economic wounds. This is particularly true for indigenous and marginalised groups who try out old as well as new strategies to cope with the climatic changes. Following up on Taigué Ahmed’s dance piece THE DRYING PRAYER about the climate catastrophe at Lake Chad, the thematic focus at the opening weekend of the Spielart Festival is not supposed to look to the future with resignation, but sound out in talks, workshops, and artistic positions how and under which conditions performing art can stand up for climate justice: „- Now!“
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23.10., 3.10 - 3.30 pm:
IDEAS TO POSTPONE THE END OF THE WORLD – An Urgent Call for Climate Justice
Keynote: Ailton Krenak (Terra Indígena Krenak, Minas Gerais) | Portugese with Englisch subtitles
Ailton Krenak is one of the most important political activists of the indigenous movement in Brasil. The global catastrophe of climate change can only be stopped if humanity collectively dismisses the exploitative structures that have been installed. In his keynote for the thematic focus on climate justice he describes the perspective of the indigenous Krenak people on the climatic changes in the Amazone region and analyses in which respect the fight against climate change is linked to a global responsibility. A collection of his essays and speeches IDEAS TO POSTPONE THE END OF THE WORLD (2019) has been published in its German translation in 2021.
Ailton Krenak, born in 1954, is a writer, journalist, philosopher and indigenous movement leader of Krenak ethnicity. He played a critical role in inscribing Indigenous Rights in the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. He is co-founder and member of several indigenous rights organisations, such as the União dos Povos Indígenas (Union of Indigenous Peoples), the Aliança dos Povos da Floresta (Alliance of Jungle-dwelling Peoples), the Núcleo de Cultura Indígena (Nucleus of Indigenous Culture), among others.
23.10., 3.45-4 pm:
CLIMATE DANCES - Amanda Piña (Wien | Santiago de Chile | Mexiko-Stadt)
Filmscreening | Spanish with English subtitles
Just as DANZA Y FRONTERA the dance piece by Amanda Piña that is part of the opening of this year’s SPIELART theatre festival, CLIMATIC DANCES is part of her long term project ENDANGERED HUMAN MOVEMENTS, dedicated to dances and cultural practices that have already vanished or are threatened with extinction.
“In Climatic Dances, we show the revival of a dance of the Nahuatl speaking Masewal people from the Sierra Norte de Puebla. In the context of climate change, natural disasters and plundering by the global mining industry – ‘the Grim Reaper’s megaprojects’, as the native population in the Sierra calls them – some of the old dances are coming back. People realize that the obligation to dance and make sacrifices to the mountains has been neglected. The mountain is not merely geology for the Masewal, but a living being. It cannot be considered only matter. It is a being that gives water, that relates to the wind to create rain. So in this performance, the dances are the mountain or its spirit.” (Amanda Piña in Etcetera 2019)
Amanda Piña is a Mexican-Chilean-Austrian choreographer, dancer and cultural worker living between Vienna and Mexico City. Her work is concerned with the decolonisation of art, focusing on the political and social power of movement. Her works are contemporary rituals for temporarily dismantling the ideological separations between modern and traditional, the human, the animal and the vegetal, nature and culture.
23.10., 4 - 5.10 pm:
DANCING SPIRITS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE – Indigenous dances in Mexico as cosmopolitical ecologies and living technologies
Talk by Alessandro Questa (Mexico City) followed by a discussion with Amanda Piña | In English
The Anthropocene as a concept marks the geological dominance of the human species over all other life forms. For Amerindian societies however the world does not revolve around human industries but belongs to different collectives of spirits, including the dead and as well as other plants, animals and meteorological forces. Alessandro Questa will share his research on how certain traditional dances stand as the privileged protocol to embody such otherwise invisible entities and provide humans with the possibility of negotiation towards reciprocity. In recent years different extractivist industries paired to the local effects of global climate change have had a dreadful impact in the mountainous region of Puebla, Mexico. Such drastic transformations have mobilized Indigenous Masewal farmers to reignite traditional dances as technological resources to intervene in favour of their towns and lands.
Alessandro Questa is currently faculty and Coordinator of the Social Anthropology Graduate Programme at Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City. Trained as an ethnologist and anthropologist, his academic work focuses on understanding various transformations and imaginaries around the uncertain futures proposed by the so-called Anthropocene. He centres on the ethnographic study of Indigenous ecologies at their intersections with local multifarious effects of Global Climate Change as well as geo-capitalism and extractivist industry.
24.10., 3-4 pm:
WHAT FORM CAN AN ATONEMENT TAKE?
Pauliina Feodoroff (Keväjäu´rr/Suõ´nnjel, Sápmi), Moderator: Eva Neklyaeva | Filmscreening, lecture and talk | In English
In the land of the Skolt Sámi between the Finnish and the Russian border, state initiatives to alter the Arctic riverbeds have led to the disappearance of the water. The ecological degradation has had a drastic impact on the fish stock and climate change is worsening the impact of man made alterations to the river. Sámi artist and activist Pauliina Feodoroff has documented how indigenous-led watershed restorations are an attempt to survive in worsening climate crisis in focusing on addressing past damages.
24.10., 4.15-5.15 pm:
CLIMATE COLONIALISM OR CLIMATE REPERATIONS
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò (Washington, DC) | Lecture followed by a talk with Molemo Moiloa (Johannesburg) | In English
As climate crisis intensifies, our political responses could reentrench existing political inequalities. But the reparative approach called for by activists and thinkers across the world has the potential to change the world at scale, meeting the challenges posed by climate crisis by addressing the racial inequalities that formed our current political world and led to the climate crisis. This talk will discuss the possibilities and dangers of the coming era, and some potential opportunities for changing course.
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University, Washington DC. He focuses his teaching and writing on social/political philosophy and Africana thought, including figures and themes from the Black Radical Tradition.
Molemo Moiloa is based in Johannesburg. She has worked in various capacities at the intersection of creative practice and community organizing. She currently works on notions of ungovernability, social infrastructures of cultural organizing, and relationships to nature. She is one half of the artist collaborative MADEYOULOOK and co-organiser of the Open Restitution Africa project.
24.10., 5.30-5.45 pm:
THE RIVER IS ME
David Freid (Los Angeles) | Filmscreening | In English with german subtitles
For many years, the ownership of the Whanganui River in New Zealand was under dispute between the Kiwi government and the Maori people, who consider the river sacred. Now, however, it owns itself. In what is believed to be a world’s first, the river has been granted legal personhood, with the same rights and responsibilities as you and me. But determining where a river ends and the rest of nature begins — that may be up for some debate. Filmmaker David Freid traces the Whanganui River’s legal as well as spiritual nature and explores what can and what cannot be determined by the law.
24.10., 5.50-6 pm:
REBELLIOUS RESISTANCE - A Poetry Reading
Naomi Ortiz (Arizona U.S./Mexico borderlands) read by Erwin Aljukic | In English
„even as security urges me, “MOVE!”
even as trash is swept away
we who remain
and protecting diversity
is the only way to ensure
survival of everything“
From REBELLIOUS RESISTANCE by Naomi Ortiz
Naomi Ortiz is a Poet, Writer, Facilitator, and Visual Artist whose intersectional work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice, eco-justice, and relationship with place. They are a highly acclaimed speaker and facilitator with a leadership style emphasizing inclusion and spiritual growth. More information (https://www.naomiortiz.com).
Locations: HochX Oct. 23-Nov. 6 and Bellevue di Monaco Oct. 23-24 | Exhibition opening: Oct. 23 6 p.m. at HochX
Arno Trümper's photographs were taken in 2018 and 2019 on the occasion of a research campaign in the Lake Chad region by the independent think tank and consultancy on climate, environment and development adelphi. The Munich-based photographer and journalist Arno Trümper accompanied the scientists during their field research on the connection between climate change and political as well as social conflicts in the region. The pictures show places and inhabitants from Niger, Nigeria and Chad and illustrate the adelphi study, which was published under the title "Shoring up stability". The portraits and landscape shots provide the visual framework for the thematic focus on climate justice.
Arno Trümper works as a reporter and program planner for Bayerischer Rundfunk. He is also working as a photographer and filmmaker on various projects - among others for 3sat, ARD, ARTE, adelphi and the German Aerospace Center. The studied ethnologist and documentary filmmaker has been awarded several prizes for his work.