VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin
ASSEMBLE:
Panic Room
On the Possibility of Feminizing Space
26.03.

Discourse
English

The public spaces we move through are primarily designed following logics of traditionally masculine connotated ideas. Even if not always visible, the aesthetics and functionality of cityscapes, public leisure space, architecture and interiors of public institutions are deeply intertwined with decades and centuries of patriarchal organization and the conditions of cultural production underlying these infrastructures. Even if the binary distinction of the female, private and domestic space and the male, public exteriors is nearly as ancient as space itself, it is still inscribed in the ways our environments are designed. Historically, the study and application of perspective coincides with “men looking at things”: from Vasari, through Night-Shift devices in war technology, POV Pornography to Google Street View. In the iconic Figure of the Flaneur, Brutalist Architecture or the psychogeographies of public space, masculinity has become form. The definitions of ‘functionality,’ ‘efficiency,’ or ‘neutrality’ in design, which are entangled with what historically is associated with a masculine identity, become evident in how things appear and are reproduced in our everyday surroundings. And even if not explicitly phallic: The symbolic function of architecture and city planning as illustrations of prestige result from centuries of need to manifest and signify male power, regardless of whether it’s on behalf of the church or the state.

In her performance and installation piece “WOMEN” at Haus am Lützowplatz for ASSEMBLE’s first season, Amy Ball explored the conditions of gendered space through an opaque character filling in the traditionally masculine figure of the rider. The image of the lone adventurer roaming the vast outdoors, on horseback or motorbike, is strongly connected to fictions of masculinity and freedom.

In conversation with Anna Gien, Fette Sans, and Verena Dengler, PANIC ROOM evolves around these questions, looking at various artistic approaches towards the possibilities of feminizing space: How do these conditions inflict the way we move through these spaces? What is the body’s potential, as a political subject, for appearing affected by them? How are our imaginary and emotional spaces tied to the aesthetic reality of our environment? Are there ways to reclaim the aesthetics and designs of space? Is there any way to define a feminine/feminized alternative which is not defined by lack? And how to avoid clichés of femininity which are geared at white, cis women?


ASSEMBLE
The performance series ASSEMBLE commissions new live artwork for cultural institutions throughout Berlin. ASSEMBLE was founded in 2017 by Adela Yawitz and Anna Gien and is led by an inquiry into art institutions as public spaces. Its monthly program proposes public, open gatherings in art spaces, and invites artists interested in the potentialities of crowds or assemblies, and their political significance. ASSEMBLE looks at the conditions in which some bodies become visible in public, while others are hidden, exposed or discounted; how groups form and disperse; and moments of interdependence amongst bodies in a hyper-individualized environment. Over the course of the series, the performances suggest forms of public gatherings, resistance, or identities; and consider possibilities of action in public, private, and institutional spaces.

ASSEMBLE’s series for Grüner Salon runs parallel to the public performances and addresses its main questions through conversation and reflection. It invites participating artists to expand on their work; leading academics and practitioners to speak on the public sphere; and exciting perspectives on the online public sphere, Queer and feminized spaces, and Berlin-specific public space.

ASSEMBLE’s 2019 performance program launches on May 3rd at Kunstquartier Bethanien with a new production by Raimund Hoghe.

ASSEMBLE is funded by the Capital Cultural Funds, Berlin.

Past Activities

ASSEMBLE: Raimund Hoghe im Gespräch mit Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter

On May 3rd, the 2019 season of ASSEMBLE opens with a new performance piece by Raimund Hoghe at the Bethanien / Kunstraum Kreuzberg. The new commission is Hoghe’s first performance in Berlin in recent memory and is dedicated to the Bethanien and the artist’s memories of it from the 1990s. On the following evening, Hoghe reflects on this commission as well as the leading questions in his decades-long career as a dancer, choreographer and writer. Hoghe speaks with Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter (FU), who has been a long-term conversation partner.

Raimund Hoghe was born in Wuppertal and began his career by writing portraits of outsiders and celebrities for "Die Zeit," later published as books. From 1980 to 1990 he worked as dramaturge for Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal which also became the subject matter for two more books. He has been working on his own theatre pieces for various dancers and actors since 1989 and collaborating with artist Luca Giacomo Schulte since 1992. In 1994 he produced his first solo for himself, "Meinwärts", which together with the subsequent "Chambre séparée" (1997) and "Another Dream" (2000) made up a trilogy on the 20th century. His work has been recognized with prizes such as the Deutscher Produzentenpreis für Choreografie in 2001, the French Prix de la Critique in 2006.

Gabriele Brandstetter is co-director of the International Research Centre "Interweaving Performance Cultures" and Professor of Theatre and Dance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin since 2003. Her research focuses on history and aesthetics of dance from the 18th century until today; theatre and dance of the avant-garde; performance, theatricality and gender differences; as well as various concepts of body, movement and image. In 2004 she was awarded the “Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize” by the DFG, and in 2011 the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Among her numerous publications are ReMembering the Body (2000, co-ed. H. Völckers); Bild-Sprung. TanzTheaterBewegung im Wechsel der Medien (2005); Methoden der Tanzwissenschaft. Modellanalysen zu Pina Bauschs ‚Sacre du Printemps‛ (2007, co-ed. G. Klein); Schwarm(E)Motion. Bewegung zwischen Affekt und Masse (2007, co-eds. B. Brandl-Risi, K. van Eikels), and Tanz als Anthropologie (2007, co-ed. C. Wulf).

ASSEMBLE: Artist and choreographer Manuel Pelmuş in conversation with Prof. Sandra Noeth (HZT)

Doors open at 6 pm
Tickets: 5 / 3 €

For the first event in the series, curator and researcherSandra Noeth (HZT) speaks to Romanian artist and choreographer Manuel Pelmuş. In his recent ongoing action for ASSEMBLE at the Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Pelmuş addressed questions of togetherness. Starting from the revolutionary practices of Rosa Luxemburg and Mary Wigman, he questioned how to act together by embodying the gesture and postures of others virtually, imaginarily and physically. This insistence to engage in something collective – despite various temporal, spatial, social and political dispersion, fragmentation and intrusion – proposes a body-based idea of resilience. Pelmuş explores this idea in dialogue with Prof. Sandra Noeth, discussing an embodied notion of agency that is not directed against something, resisting or protesting, but rather relies on a collective process of learning, with bodies at its core.

Manuel Pelmuş is an artist and choreographer based in Oslo and Bucharest. His work employs dance and movement to address structures of the art world: collections, museums, and their role in cementing memory and identity. He often works site-specifically, relating his „ongoing movements,“ as he terms them, to the setting and history of the space and city they are being shown in. Trained in classical dance and having toured with the Romanian national opera and the Hamburg opera, he skillfully creates environments for his live works to be seen in, combining elements from dance, dramaturgy and visual arts.

Sandra Noeth is a Professor at the HZT – Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin and has been internationally active as a curator and dramaturge in independent and institutional contexts. Noeth specializes in ethical and political perspectives toward body-practice and theory and dramaturgy in body-centered performing arts. As Head of Dramaturgy and Research at Tanzquartier Wien (2009-2014), she developed a series of projects on concepts and practices of responsibility, religion, integrity and protest in relation to the body. She is also a senior lecturer at DOCH/Stockholm University of the Arts and was a resident professor at ashkal alwan, Beirut (2015-16).

The event is kindly supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

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