When in May 2017 the action alliance ‘Unraveling the NSU-Complex‘ held their first self-organized Tribunal at the Schauspiel Cologne parallel to the official court trial in Munich, the confusions were quite big: Is it actually theater, a congress or a tribunal? And if it is a ‘real‘ tribunal, why it had so little in common with legalistic peoples’ tribunals like the renowned Russell tribunals or the trials of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal?
Author: brut Koproduktionshaus Wien
XIX: Safe vs. Brave? Art Between Sanctuary and Confrontation (with Miriam Ibrahim, Edit Kaldor und Ingo Niermann / Army of Love, Florian Malzacher)
Contemporary stages have often become places to exhibit one’s own injuries, traumas, or shame. Theater as a safer space – in the spirit of a concept that emerged in the USA in the 1960s in feminist and civil rights movements: A protected sphere in which one could communicate about one’s own experiences, goals, and strategies without already being confronted with permanent opposition from those who already dominate all discourses. But as important as protection against insult, injury, and re-traumatization is – doesn’t theater also have to be a space where there are no limits to freedom of expression, where everything can be discussed openly and radically? Perhaps, however, this oft-repeated juxtaposition is already following the wrong path.
MIRIAM IBRAHIM ° A Personal Insight: Deconstructing Toxic Structures in Theatre
“Racism and structural racism are parts of my everyday life as an artist. They have shaped me and my work since the beginning. These experiences, as well as others forms of discrimination, have shaped my artistic identity just as much as other educational and professional developments. Everyday stereotyping, fetishization and exclusion in education and theater have generated a lot of traumata. To stay healthy and in theater, I first had to find better ways of working and living. The deconstruction of social structures, creating new practices and new spaces/formats shaped my work as a director and dramaturg.”
INGO NIERMANN ° Army of Love
The Army of Love is a solidarity that offers training, discussions, manuals, and testimonial videos to promote the redistribution of sensual love to all who need it. Since its founding in 2016, the Army of Love has recruited people of diverse age, gender, ethnicity, and appearance all over Europe. While being highly concerned about issues of consent and inclusivity, the Army of Love has also been confronted with the danger of encapsulating itself in spheres of like-mindedness. Ingo Niermann will address the complexities the Army of Love has been dealing with and make a proposal for how they could address issues of hate and anger within the realms of care.
XVIII: Body Next to Body: Gathering Masses in Sport Events (with Z. Blace, Caitlin Davis Fisher & Michael Gabriel & Florian Malzacher)
The energy of body next to body. The excitement of the game. Winning, loosing, bursts of emotions. Shouting, singing, yelling, joy, and anger – sometimes on the verge of violence. Elite sport events bring together masses of people across nations, they are gathering with an immense personal importance for many and at the same time highly politicized billion-dollar businesses, streamlined for maximum profits on the borders of legality. This edition of The Art of Assembly takes place 50 years after the Olympic games in Munich, right in the middle of the legendary Olympiapark, envisioned as an open, democratic, and egalitarian space but immediately drawn into the abyss of world politics.
Artist and queer activist Z. Blace looks at how sport events could become owned by the community, counter-nationalist, counter-normative, gender-just and a sex-positive emancipatory experience. Caitlin Davis Fisher, a former professional athlete, works as movement researcher, artist and activist on gender, labor, the body, and community organizing in/with/through football. Expert in fan culture and social worker Michael Gabriel gives an insight into the cultural practices of the ULTRAS, claiming streets and stadiums with elaborated choreographies and the self-confidence of the masses.
The event took place in the frame of “Soft Democracies”, a project by raumlaborberlin as part of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympics, organized by the Cultural Department of the City of Munich.
Z. BLACE ° Queering Sport (Events)
QueerSport is an effort to understand, propose, prototype, intervene in the norms through queer expressions without defining it. Z. Blace informs and instigates some of these practices in different constellations ranging from grassroots organizing, embedded research, media campaigns, educational workshops, conceptual artworks and advocacy for Cultural Social Responsibility for Sport.
CAITLIN FISHER ° Post Play
Drawing on embodied experiences from the football pitch, Fisher uses movement, muscle memory, and narrative to discuss navigating a shifting terrain of femininity under the pressures of neoliberal growth. She uses somatic activism to question the enclosure of the market on the women’s game as felt on the flesh and its impact on movements and the connections between us. Powerful mechanisms of conformity take hold and gendered scripts dominate as players are pressured to prove their talent via football labor and their femininity via bodily labor to garner resources and opportunities. Discrepancies between representation and lived experience, what are the implications for agency, self-expression, solidarity and collective belonging? How could a look beyond the market-state to the embodied commons offer routes to emancipation and how we can conceive of a shared understanding about other ways to be together.
MICHAEL GABRIEL ° Stubborn and Independent: The Ultras
The emotional attachment and cultural expressions of football fans shape professional soccer worldwide. Clubs and the fan culture associated with them are often socio-cultural ambassadors for urban societies, regions, or countries. Since the mid-1990s, the male-dominated Ultras have been the central players of fan culture in Germany, replacing the so-called “Kuttenträger” and the hooligans. Many see them as the largest youth subculture at present. Stubborn and independent, sometimes even resistant, they operate in a highly commercialized environment shaped by massive security interests. What ideas and dynamics drive the Ultras? What is their relationship to profit-oriented clubs and the police? How do they appropriate public space? What role do girls and women play in the male-dominated scenes
XVII: Assembling Knowledge (Satu Herrala, Ahmet Öğüt, Lotte van den Berg Florian Malzacher)
At least since Joseph Beuys’ legendary “International College for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research” artistic assemblies are also a playing field for the production and transfer of knowledge. The 17th edition of “The Art of Assembly investigates along concrete artistic practices how tools and experiences from performing arts offer settings and strategies for unexpected communication and transversal education: Choreographer and curator Satu Herrala in her works focusses on embodied knowledges in artistic and curatorial work, creating conditions for art to summon collective and transformative agencies. Artist Ahmet Öğüt – initiator of the Silent University, a solidarity-based knowledge exchange platform by displaced people and forced migrants- often seeks his collaborators outside the art field. Theatre maker Lotte van den Berg, one of the initiators of the ongoing project “Building Conversation”, centers her practice around collective experiences and the relation between performance and social as well as ecological challenges. How can art offer spaces for empowerment and self-development?
LOTTE VAN DEN BERG ° Building Conversation
Building Conversation is a dialogical art platform, based in Amsterdam, initiated by Lotte van den Berg and Daan ’t Sas, led together with Peter Aers. In the performative conversations they guide and perform together with participating audiences all over Europe, the theater itself becomes a public space. In over a 1000 performative conversations they explored the boundaries of what theater is and can be. Relating to the theatrical space as a temporary public space; a place in the midst of people, built with our bodies and words, that makes actions and interactions visible and revalues presence. Everybody present joins and together they evoke the fiction, which in this context does not stand for fantasy, the ‘as if’, but rather stands for a heightened reality, an extra focus on what is, ‘the very present present’. Not in the first place concerned with what takes place on stage, but focussed on the way in which we can create stage together.