Enjoy creating, constructing, living off the grid, eating fresh food out of the garden, wondering about the speed of plants growing and just be in Africa! TOONDA, Kiswahili for Creating, will become an Artist Retreat, where we hope Artists from all over the world can come together to interact and find inspiration by nature and the community in the remote area. With TOONDA we wish to support the artistically and culturally exchange, being a space for an open exchange of ideas, for supporting creative processes and collaborations. We're intensively working on the buildings and hope to open TOONDA to the artist world by 2020. Here are some impressions while we re still working.
A woman is born, free and wild, curious and idealistic. Over the years she grows up to be a materialistic, hard-working, functional human being without any connection to her inner soul. What would happen if this little human has the chance to restart, being a valuable creature on the planet without being used by a capitalistic society?
We just started with an euphoric first rehearsal about our utopia of finding inner piece, value little things, love the nature, be a part of the society and not being misused by wrongly goals. Flutist Ming Wang plays Feng and Tenor Songyan He is her soul, fighting for her inner piece. Music is composed by the two contemporary composers Dr. Yijie Wang and Dong Zhou. Both composed each two acts, which enrich the story by very different styles from romantic Chinese influenced to noisy electronic music. I'm very excited about the opportunity to write and direct this intensive experiment!
It has been in my drawer for a while, but this year I had to take it out and work on it: "Punk Barbie"- a feministic play slash installation about feminism, bodyshaming and harassement.
A woman who got annoyed by being reduced on her body, getting paid less than men... She doesn't want to become upset all the time, because someone is - let's say - sexual offending, harassing, raping...her. So she gets rid of the female soul and reduces herself to an ever-smiling barbie who'll never get upset even if she's suppose to be a loving mum, having an awesome career and being the best lover ever. Well... Unfortunately it didn't work as well as she would have loved it to. So she becomes Punk Barbie. A spitting, farting, noisy, provocating, fuck-u-world-Barbie.
Can't wait to finish writing and start rehearsing it with Zoe Hutmacher!
Artist Anna Myga Kasten and me were longing to work together again already for a longer time. The invitation to the Up-Festival in Denmark was a great chance to make it happen! I had written a couple of monologues out of the perspective of killed journalists 2 years ago. Since the situation became worse these last 2 years worlwide, I found it more and more urgent to work with this topic. "The freedom of press is the indicator of a democatric system which is controlled by the public, by the society, by us. People tend to throw it away more often recently. But placing journalists in prison, killing them, has never been a good sign for a society." (Killing Letters)
Anna developped an abstract object out of stuffed truck canvas which is hanging in a public space. The size itself was pretty impressive already. IT became everything we needed and wanted for the performance by approaching it in a sepcific way and using it differently. A barricade, a throne, a castle, an instrument of torture, a comforting blanket - all in one it's everything we needed to show the world of the characters of our performance which are inspired by e.g. Marlene Esperat. The phillipine journalist died 12 years ago after she started researching about "lost" money for a lab, which was working against starvation. The money found it's way to Provate Estates of friends of the party of the President.
In our performance in public space - which just happend last weekend - actress Melissa Holley would jump into 3 characters. The first one is someone who slowly gives birth to the idea of freedom in generally, using the object like her body. In the second part Marlene Epserat became alive speaking about her death and how it happened. The third character is someone like you and me, wondering why and how this is the way it is and what we can do to make sure, that journalists and everyone else don't get killed just for asking for the truth.
I really enjoyed working on Killing Letters and think we will develop it further this year to show it at different places.
Thank you so much Anna and Melissa!
What if... you follow your little naive and pathetic moment and wish for a world where the colour of your skin doesn't matter at all?
How could we get closer to that? What helpful techniques, methods, rituals could be already there or what would we have to develop ourself to make sure to get rid of racsim?
I've met with actress Melissa Holley and Tash Manzungu and chosed a setting on the german countryside at a backyard and a garden. In this peaceful and conservative setting we tried to play around with white and black colour until there was a unifying color.We tried to develop rituals that you have to do to loose the idea of skin color and get over a discrimination by the color of your skin.
My Performancekollektiv DissOPERAlusion was invited to this years Festival Zukunftsvisionen (Visions of the future) in Görlitz. So we jumped in the car and drove to the most eastern point of Germany. Beside the fact that the City was so beautiful, Poland unexpected close and the people of Görlitz lovely and helpful - the Festival was great! For the last years this annual Festival of Contemporary Arts chooses one of the abandoned very old houses in the middle of the city, restore it fairly and give artists a chance to interact with the history of the building and the atmosphere. DissOPERAlusion was choosen together with 25 artists and performers out of more than 200 applications to give their impact. We enjoyed beeing in this old jewish warehouse and happily been a part of the opening evening. DissOPERAlusion means Dissolution + Opera + Illuison. It's based on 4 compositions by Yijie Wang which are speaking about spring and autumn, summer and winter. After playing each composition dancer Alice Kluger, Afro-Soul Singer Lebo Masemola and Drummer Lin Chen would start their 8 min improvisation, with one of them in the center of the improvisation, getting supported by the others. I came up with the idea in 2015 after asking myself how contemporary music can be worked with and shown on stage.
A week ago I saw a video on Instagram, a conjunction with Yale University, showing "6 million years of evolution in one minute". It starts with an ape, passes Stonge Age Man, becomes a Black Man... and ends with a White Man.
Seriously. It ends with a white man.
In the 21st century.
I was irritated as always when an action of rasiscm just happens as it would be the most normal thing in the world. In the comments people were complaining about those who questioned, if the maker of this video just gave it a thought once, that this could be highly discriminating black people and state a non-acceptable supremacy of white people. Those persons complained about, that people always see rasiscm in everything. But this isn't "everything". This is an act of showing that rasiscm is still normal to even well educated people and that telling them make them react even more racist. Racism doesn't happen by accident.
Obviously I was upset with this. It unfortunately fits with the political development and atmosphere in this world; I can only be worried. So I asked my friend Lebo Masemola - a great singer who you should defintely check out! - if she would join me in a visualised question about which way evolution is choosing and if this way is about the colour of skin. We experimented outside with white creme, editing movements and a tag made by street artist LIES (Life Is Extremly Strange - check him out, too!). The video should be finished soon and I hope it will be food for your thought!
Stop Racism! Now!
In Kampala, Uganda, I had the opportunity to make a performance as a member of the FREE(AK) SHOW. With the collaboration of a Sculpturor, an Eco-Artist, a Street Artist, a Poet and me as the Performance Freeak we wanted to support the Eco Project Eco-Action by turning the focus on how to handle all the trash we're producing.
On the compound where we were presenting the exhibition was this lovely pool. After so many good discussions with the artists I felt the urge to sum our talks up in a way.
So I decided I want to work with the Pool as the symbol of purity and wealth. I threw as many plastic bottles I could find in it and worked on a floating dead body out of fibre glas and plastic bottles with the help of Reagan Kandole, the Eco-Artist. So the once beautiful pool was full of trash now. It also put in the mind all those islands out of plastic trash, which "found" together and swimming in the oceans worldwide.
When the guests arrived, the DJ turned on an athmospheric song, while Performer Patricia Corell arrived at the Pool, put on her bathing cap and her goggles and started swimming enthusiastically in the Pool. She dismissed the trash, pretending everything is alright, but has to swim right through it.
This was very important to me as we all agreed within the group that the worst thing after producing so much waste is the ignorance. As long as we don't see the trash and what it's doing to the earth and therefore to us humans in the end, we just pretend it's not there.
Patricia got out of the Pool, took off the goggles and the bathing cap, realizing she lost her hair. This is a very realistic threat and to show what we do in the end to ourself, she bend down screaming, giving birth to a plastic bottle. Being confused she quickly walked away, singing a child song to the plastic bottle, which she hold in her arm like a little baby.
I was surprised by the intensity the audience was watching and that they didn't step back when the performance started, but rather came closer and trying to understand what is going on.
Thanks to my beautiful Performer Patricia Corell and to Emmanuela Mantegazza for taking those fanatstic pics of the show!
While I was shooting the Video about identity in Berlin, I also did a rather simple video with Zoe just quickly outside. Even the cold freezing weather couldn't stop us... I had the idea of an ironical piece of video art about the force to smile and the refuse to do so. It's about hypocrits - might those be others or yourself. It's a condition and not a story. It's when you feel isolated, gray and gray and even more gray, and everybody else is just giving you the full smile, what you can't stand anymore, although you're trying hard and you don't know if it's just hypocracy. It's about the situation, when you feel alone, but you also really want to feel alone. When you decide to paint yourself gray, melting with your gray background and being frustrated and just general pissed with everybody who's smiling, because that's just what is not possible for you right now. With those ideas in the pot I also didn't want it to be self-pity, but those are moments everybody knows from his life. So I added some unexpected music to give it the ironical touch it needs.
For my upcoming group exhibition in Nairobi the topic is "Identity".
This is not just a word aiming for your very self, Identity does also imply your cultural identity and in my believe it is nothing fixed - I'm not just a person with my very own Identity which will always be like this right now, I'm also the sum of my experiences, of my surrounding, of my history, family, country I'm living in and I'm choosing to stay in. And this is all continuously changing as I'm living on.
With my piece "I've never agreed (with myself)" I want to show how everybody is actively judging himself/herself, reflecting himself/herself, by struggling, hating, loving etc. (with) yourself. This makes me feel like we're having more identities than just THE one. So I tried to show them.
I filmed a video at the East Side Gallery in Berlin, having a triplicate of the same person in front of it. As you might know the East Side Gallery is a piece of the original Wall in Germany (full of fantastic graffiti!). I use it as a synonym for the culture which you didn't choose, but you were born in. I projected this video, adding a Live Performance in front of the projection, where the same person judges herself watching her in the former video. I repeated this process with the latest video etc.
I'm almost done with the editing and looking forward to the group exhibition in Nairobi!
Thanks to the fantastic actress Zoe Hutmacher for being part of this!