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Presence of an Absence I
24.04.

Performance, Discourse
German and English

With Samira Hodaei and Arlette-Louise Ndakoze
Moderation: Laura Beck

Berlin, Volksbühne, 24.04.2020: Europe's global genocide is not over. It is taking place, today, in the internment camps, where it robs migrants of their livelihoods, while it exploits their countries under colonial law.

It plays Monopoly to the point of worthlessness, which it spreads until it reaches a point of aloofness. It elevates its idea of reality. Its idea of the idea.

—Text by Arlette-Louise Ndakoze

The artist Samira Hodaei and the philosopher Arlette-Louise Ndakoze invite to a deeper approach, to a space of reflection and discourse, about the present past, the unseen present, Presence of an Absence.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education


Past Activities

Streitfall Identität Wolfgang Engler im Gespräch mit Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Questions of identity are the subject of heated debate in both the USA and Europe at the moment. On the one hand, we're talking about a loss of identity in a globalised society, and on the other, it's hyperindividualism that's threatening the experience provided by common social spaces.

This debate was brought to the larger political stage through the American election cycle and the election of Donald Trump as US president. In view of Brexit, and the growing authoritarian right-wing in Europe as well, the question of identity politics' level of influence on left-wing political discourse is being discussed vehemently. But can the struggles for emancipation from the women's movement, LGBTIQ activists or Black Lives Matter be played off against the fight for social justice?

Under the cipher “identity”, we're aiming to conduct a fundamental debate about what divides societies and what holds them together: Are questions about belonging, Heimat (homeland) and culture, or social and distributive questions more important? In the new “Streitfall Identität” series, sociologist and journalist Wolfgang Engler discusses these questions with his guests.

Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay grew up in Hagen. After he completed school at the Rahel-Varnhagen-Kolleg evening school in Hagen, he studied media arts at the Cologne Academy of Media Arts and finished his studies with a feature film titled Oray. It celebrated its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and was honoured with the Best First Feature Award. Oray would go on to receive more than a dozen international prizes. He's currently working on a documentary about Turkish-Kurdish music in Germany and on his second feature, Hysterie.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Streitfall Identität Wolfgang Engler im Gespräch mit Thea Dorn

Questions of identity are the subject of heated debate in both the USA and Europe at the moment. On the one hand, we're talking about a loss of identity in a globalised society, and on the other, it's hyperindividualism that's threatening the experience provided by common social spaces.

This debate was brought to the larger political stage through the American election cycle and the election of Donald Trump as US president. In view of Brexit, and the growing authoritarian right-wing in Europe as well, the question of identity politics' level of influence on left-wing political discourse is being discussed vehemently. But can the struggles for emancipation from the women's movement, LGBTIQ activists or Black Lives Matter be played off against the fight for social justice?

Under the cipher “identity”, we're aiming to conduct a fundamental debate about what divides societies and what holds them together: Are questions about belonging, Heimat (homeland) and culture, or social and distributive questions more important? In the new “Streitfall Identität” series, sociologist and journalist Wolfgang Engler discusses these questions with his guests.

Sociologist Wolfgang Engler, born 1952 in Dresden, has published numerous studies about ways of life in East and West Germany, as well as critical analyses about the modern era, democracy and the transformation of the political and the public sphere, such as Lüge als Prinzip. Aufrichtigkeit im Kapitalismus, Bürger, ohne Arbeit. Für eine radikale Neugestaltung der Gesellschaft and most recently, Wer wir sind. Die Erfahrung, ostdeutsch zu sein, together with Jana Hensel. Wolfgang Engler was rector of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts from 2005 to 2017.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Diaspora Europa: The Day I am Free. The Story of Katarina Taikon

Katarina Taikon has been compared to Martin Luther King. Born in 1932, she was a Swedish Roma civil rights activist and author of the famous children’s books series “Katitzi”. Through her work, Taikon came to change the course of Swedish history. The documentary film “Taikon” paints a dramatic and vivid portrait of one of the most important advocates of human rights in 20th century Europe, set against the backdrop of the developing Swedish welfare state. The film, directed by Gellert Tamas and Lawen Mohtadi, is based on Mohtadi’s acclaimed biography of Katarina Taikon, “The Day I Will Be Free” (Natur & Kultur, 2012).

The film screening of “Taikon” will be followed by a panel discussion about the life, legacy and movement generated by Katarina Taikon, with guests: Lawen Mohtadi, journalist and writer, Maria Lind, curator, moderated by Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, deputy director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).

Lawen Mohtadi is a writer, editor and documentary filmmaker. She has worked for numerous Swedish media outlets and has been an editor of several culgtural journals, including the feminist magazine “Bang”. She is the author of the biography of Katarina Taikon, “The Day I am Free”. When first published in 2012, the book gained critical acclaim and won 4 awards. Along with Gellert Tamas she is the co-director and co-writer of the 2015 documentary “Taikon – the Untold Story of a Roma Freedom Fighter”, which is based on her biography. Mohtadi is currently a senior editor at Natur&Kultur publishing house.

Maria Lind is a curator, writer, and educator based in Stockholm and Berlin. From 2011 to 2018 she was the director of Tensta konsthall in Stockholm. In addition, she has served as artistic director of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, director of the graduate program at the Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and as director of IASPIS in Stockholm. She has taught widely since the early 100s, including as a professor of artistic research at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. She is the 2009 recipient of the Walter Hopps Awards for Curatorial Achievement. Recently, she curated the exhibition “Katitzi – a Literary Character Rooted in Reality” at the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) in Berlin.

Dr. Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka is an anthropologist and Roma activist, born in 1985 in Cracow/Poland. She earned her Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2016. She holds an MA in European Integration from UAB and an MA in Comparative Studies of Civilizations from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (UJ). She is the author of policy evaluations, reports, and articles, and is the co-editor of the book Education for Remembrance of the Roma Genocide: Scholarship, Commemoration and the Role of Youth (Libron, 2015). She has been an employee, member, founder, and collaborator of numerous Roma organizations in Poland and Spain. From 2008 to 2012 she was the European project coordinator at the Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia (FAGIC). From 2013 to 2015 she was an Open Society Foundations Roma Initiatives Fellow, conducting a comparative study of the Roma associative movements in various countries of Latin America and Europe. From 2015 to 2017 she was the coordinator and curator of the Academic Section (aka. Roma Civil Rights Movement Section) in the RomArchive – Digital Archive of the Roma. Between 2017-2018 she was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Romani Studies Program at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

This event is part of the joint event series “Diaspora Europe” organized by the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and Volksbühne on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of WW II. This Program is the gathering and event series of Jewish and Roma/Sinti communities to explore the politics and poetics of diaspora belonging within contemporary Europe.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Wir sind gleichzeitig überall in der Zeit. Geschichte plastisch denken

German and French with translation into Barbara Hahn

Éric Vuillard is an unconventional (hi)story writer, his books are full of descriptions of skilfully gathered moments from world history. The Order of the Day, awarded the 2017 Prix Goncourt, tells of Adolf Hitler's path from the transfer of power in 1933 to the annexation of Austria five years later. A span of time that seemed familiar to many for a long time and yet, Vuillard lets the reader see it in a different light. It's the choice of moments, the clever commentary, the literary accoutrement of details and the unfettered treatment of time jumps that all bring us closer to these historical events and allow us to witness events that are still, and should be, incomprehensible. Using his much-discussed book as a starting point, Vuillard discusses the possibilities for conceiving of history as malleable with journalist and moderator Shelly Kupferberg. They also examine how literary approaches can be used to make history accessible – remembering between fact and fiction as a tool in a time in which we are supposed to never forget. – Passages from DIE TAGESORDNUNG, the German translation of Vuillard's work, will be read by actress Katja Gaudard.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Photo: Melania Avanzato

Postmigrantische Gesellschaft Gleichheit jenseits von Herkunft?

With: Naika Foroutan (Director of the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research) and Sascha Lobo (author and journalist)
Moderation: Esra Küçük

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Diaspora Europa Opferkonkurrenz, Opferallianz?

Keynotes: Andreas Nachama, Emran Elmazi
Discussion with: Gilda-Nancy Horvath, André Raatzsch, Lea Wohl von Haselberg
Presented by: Shelly Kupferberg

Gilda-Nancy Horvath is an artist, journalist, project manager, and communications consultant. She started her career in grassroots projects for the Romani community in Vienna, Austria. Soon after, she started working for the Austrian Public National Broadcaster ORF. She has also written numerous articles for the Romani cause and worked with many international projects connected to Romani activism, art, and politics. After 10 years in front of and behind the camera at ORF, she started educating and qualifying young Romani people in her project: “romblog.at,” where she is the Editor-In-Chief. Currently, she is the Board member of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).

Romani Rose (born 1946 at Heidelberg, Germany) is a Romani activist. He is the head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. From 1991, Rose took over the management of the Documentation and Culture Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg. Together with the Chairpersons of the National Minorities in Germany, Rose leads the Minority Council, which was founded on September 9, 2004. It is the union of the umbrella organisations of the four national minorities which belong to the German nation and have always been resident and autochthonous here. He has also fought for the protection of German Sinti and Roma from racism and discrimination, for compensation for the survivors of the Holocaust – at the same time announcing the magnitude and the historical importance of the genocide of 500,000 Sinti and Roma in National Socialist occupied Europe. Romani Rose is an iconic figure in the history of Roma struggle in Germany and beyond.

Emran Elmazi (32) is a Roma activist. Emlazi came to Germany as a refugee before the war in the former Yugoslavia. After his graduation from high school, he studied law at the university of trier. Now he heads the Unit "Dialogue" in the Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma, in Heidelberg. He also occupies the position of Deputy Chairman within the youth self-organization Amaro Drom eV "Our Way".

Shelly Kupferberg, born in Tel-Aviv in 1974, grew up in West Berlin. She studied journalism, theatre and musicology at the Free University of Berlin and began working as a journalist for public broadcasting while still a student. In addition to numerous contributions for ARD, she has been presenting culture, literature and society magazines for 25 years and works as a freelance editor and presenter for Deutschlandfunk Kultur and presents daily culture programmes on rbbKultur. In addition to culture, her thematic focus is on topics such as education, cultural mediation, civil society, democracy and participation, discrimination and migration issues. From 1997-2007 she worked for the Jewish Cultural Days Berlin and curated her own series. She hosts numerous readings and conferences, film screenings, and high-profile events for various foundations, ministries, cultural institutions and festivals. In addition, she is a volunteer moderator for Terre des Femmes and the NIF (New Israel Fund).​

Image: Robert Gabris: „Vierka Vastu Merav“ (Vierka I Die for You) 70X50 cm, copperplate on printing paper, Vienna/UDINE, 2014

This event is part of the joint event series “Diaspora Europe” organized by the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and Volksbühne on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of WW II. This Program is the gathering and event series of Jewish and Roma/Sinti communities to explore the politics and poetics of diaspora belonging within contemporary Europe.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Streitfall Identität

Questions of identity are the subject of heated debate in both the USA and Europe at the moment. On the one hand, we're talking about a loss of identity in a globalised society, and on the other, it's hyperindividualism that's threatening the experience provided by common social spaces.

This debate was brought to the larger political stage through the American election cycle and the election of Donald Trump as US president. In view of Brexit, and the growing authoritarian right-wing in Europe as well, the question of identity politics' level of influence on left-wing political discourse is being discussed vehemently. But can the struggles for emancipation from the women's movement, LGBTIQ activists or Black Lives Matter be played off against the fight for social justice?

Under the cipher “identity”, we're aiming to conduct a fundamental debate about what divides societies and what holds them together: Are questions about belonging, Heimat (homeland) and culture, or social and distributive questions more important? In the new “Streitfall Identität” series, sociologist and journalist Wolfgang Engler discusses these questions with his guests.

Sociologist Wolfgang Engler, born 1952 in Dresden, has published numerous studies about ways of life in East and West Germany, as well as critical analyses about the modern era, democracy and the transformation of the political and the public sphere, such as Lüge als Prinzip. Aufrichtigkeit im Kapitalismus, Bürger, ohne Arbeit. Für eine radikale Neugestaltung der Gesellschaft and most recently, Wer wir sind. Die Erfahrung, ostdeutsch zu sein, together with Jana Hensel. Wolfgang Engler was rector of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts from 2005 to 2017.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Hongkong-Proteste: die Smart City als Feind

The Swiss economist and investigative reporter Hannes Grassegger uses the example of the demonstrations in Hong Kong to show how people are battling, for the first time, against a highly-connected, digitalised Smart City. In this, the alleged city of the future becomes its residents' enemy. The personal futures of many pro-democratic Hong Kong residents depend on whether or not they can stop the flow of information about their conduct from reaching China.

After Grassegger's speech, Sabrina Apitz will serve as moderator for a discussion about shifts in the public sphere with Grassegger and director Kay Voges.

In cooperation with ARCH+

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

That’s not my story. Diversität und Perspektiven auf deutschen Bühnen

With: Susanne Keuchel (Director Akademie der Kulturellen Bildung des Bundes und Landes NRW), Thomas Köck (dramatist), Sandrine Micossé-Aikins (Head of the project office Diversity Arts Culture), Pınar Karabulut (director), Dan Thy Nguyen (director, actor), moderation: Leonie Adam

19:30 conversation Dr Susanne Keuchel and Sandrine Micossé-Aikins

What is diversity, and can it be ensured through mandated structural changes and quota systems? How can diversity and inclusion become an integral part of the system beginning with arts and culture education? And what criteria are being used to guide cultural policy?

Sandrine Micossé-Aikins and Susanne Keuchel discuss the current situation in the performing arts and measures that could be taken to get rid of the barriers that exist in the arts and culture industry.

20:30 panel discussion

Whose stories does the German theatre tell? Who's telling them, who's allowed to tell them and who makes those decisions? To whom does the freedom of art apply? Whose positions are represented on German stages? And what power structures and positions does the German theatre thereby reproduce? This panel discussion with directors and authors focuses on how they deal with these questions in their works.

Workshop: Critical Whiteness
Roter Salon, 16:00-19:00

Austausch zu Diskriminierungsschutz am Theater
Grüner Salon, 18:00-19:15

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Streitfall Identität

An event within the framework of

Questions of identity are the subject of heated debate in both the USA and Europe at the moment. On the one hand, we're talking about a loss of identity in a globalised society, and on the other, it's hyperindividualism that's threatening the experience provided by common social spaces.

This debate was brought to the larger political stage through the American election cycle and the election of Donald Trump as US president. In view of Brexit, and the growing authoritarian right-wing in Europe as well, the question of identity politics' level of influence on left-wing political discourse is being discussed vehemently. But can the struggles for emancipation from the women's movement, LGBTIQ activists or Black Lives Matter be played off against the fight for social justice?

Under the cipher “identity”, we're aiming to conduct a fundamental debate about what divides societies and what holds them together: Are questions about belonging, Heimat (homeland) and culture, or social and distributive questions more important?

In the new “Streitfall Identität” series, sociologist and journalist Wolfgang Engler discusses these questions with his guests. For the series launch his guest is author and journalist Jagoda Marinić, who takes an active and sophisticated approach to her involvement in the current discourse with her books Sheroes. Neue Held*innen braucht das Land and Made in Germany, among others.

Sociologist Wolfgang Engler, born 1952 in Dresden, has published numerous studies about ways of life in East and West Germany, as well as critical analyses about the modern era, democracy and the transformation of the political and the public sphere, such as Lüge als Prinzip. Aufrichtigkeit im Kapitalismus, Bürger, ohne Arbeit. Für eine radikale Neugestaltung der Gesellschaft and most recently, Wer wir sind. Die Erfahrung, ostdeutsch zu sein, together with Jana Hensel. Wolfgang Engler was rector of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts from 2005 to 2017.

Jagoda Marinić, born 1977, is a writer and journalist who works in cultural management as well. She is a regular columnist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and taz newspapers and also writes for The New York Times. She already received a nomination for the Bachmann Prize with her first novel Die Namenlose. Her latest work is a collection of essays titled Sheroes. Neue Held*innen braucht das Land. After stays in Zagreb, Split, New York and Berlin, Jagoda Marinić is now based in Heidelberg where she directs the intercultural centre.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

Klaus Theweleit: Männerphantasien

About 40 years ago, Klaus Theweleit's massive investigation of the sexual, psychological and socio-political pre-history of National Socialism in the Weimar Republic was published under the title Männerphantasien (released in English as Male Fantasies 32 years ago). In light of the return of right-wing street violence and faschistoid talking points, as well as propaganda campaigns against more liberated sexualities – keyword: “gender insanity” – Theweleit's analyses are far too cauterising for the book to be relegated to the archive of great works. In a brand-new edition, expanded with an afterword, Männerphantasien is finally available again, to be discussed and put to political use.

The program GESCHICHTSMASCHINE is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

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