Zoom Festival 2015 – Dirt: An Apparatus


Dirt: An Apparatus (Stefanie Wenner, Germany)

“We’re suffocating in dirt – literally and proverbially. Useless information blocks the channels, spam filters can no longer stop it. Fukushima irradiates – four years after the accident, history is made and everything continues as normal. There is no cleanup operation possible that would rid the world of this history, this layer. The dirt we make disturbs and has always disturbed. Art not only requires a lot of work, it also generates dirt, that which is output from cultural events often outweighs the positive intentions. Beginning with the waste that cultural institutions generate every day, stage design that are created fire proof but far from ecological standards. There is also the waste of exploitation from its laborers, artists and curators alike. Then there are the carbon footprints for the travel by cultural producers as well as the transportation of art objects, this waste is inline with any other business structure.


The task of DIRT: AN APPARATUS is neither to reflect society nor to represent reality. We oppose naturalisations even in the disguise of artistic realism and naturalism with the performativity of matter. We search for a materialistic theatre. Agitators raise dust or rummage in the dirt which as earth could be considered treasure or a history of hidden punchlines. Dirt swarms with microorganisms which may even cure depression. Dirt is the perfect material with which to reevaluate matter.

Nothing is prescribed, everything is resonant. The humanistic narrative was always exclusively European, white, male and preferably heterosexual. It is formed of the dualism of either / or, defined through exclusion. It is opposed by positions such as that of Karen Barad, who uses the idea of the apparatus to describe the production of intra-active situations between human and non-human actors. What could be better than an apparatus to rehearse a new narrative? Jane Bennett takes so-called hoarders – people who collect things so extremely that they cannot be parted from rubbish and live in filth – as examples of humans who can hear the call of things. Capitalism itself, with its lust for more and more, its accumulation of items, could also be the product of a misguided approach to matter, just like the hoarders Bennett describes. This is where our apparatus begins and starts a new narrative. If the task of theatre is to be educational, we understand that as a challenge to generate better representations of reality and in this way to make a better reality possible. If culture is a repository for tradition, for that which seems worth remembering, then culture is also the place for an examination of that which we do not want, cannot rid ourselves of – that which pursues us, proliferates and has it’s very own economy: dirt. If the production of theatre itself is dirty, and increasingly follows the logic of international marketing, then this examination of dirt cannot follow the rules of an entertaining festival in both senses of the word. DIRT: AN APPARATUS does not only celebrate the communion of humans, but rather more comprehensively, the communion of things, of which we are a part.”



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DIRT: AN APPARATUS is taking over Rikard Benčić Factory space for one exceptional night.  We are inviting you to follow the traces of DIRT in Sound of [fæktəri] by cobratheater.cobra, an audiowalk especially created for Zoom Festival 2015. Book an appointment with Bettina Vismann and get a reading out of her own, for DIRT created Deck of Dust, a deck of Tarot of a very special kind. International acclaimed choreograpfer and performer Simone Aughterlony is showing together with Michael Günzburger, a visual artist from Zürich, Emergent Vestiges, a performance that was developed during the first station of DIRT in Berlin and which is exploring touch and traces of bodies in the space as well as printing on paper. Thorsten Eibeler, who was the creator of the DIRT room at Uferstudios in Berlin, is going to be the leftovers cook, creating a DIRT Menue for artists and guests. You are also invited to listen to lectures by Felicity Colman, Diana Coole and Rosie CoxLast not least we are presenting Liz Rosenfelds Video Work Foxes, which was also developed during the six weeks of DIRT in Berlin, as well as fragments of the video documentation of DIRT by Imogen Heath.

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A production of Apparatus GbR in co-production with Kampnagel Hamburg and Inkonst Malmö and in cooperation with Uferstudios GmbHand, Drugo more Rijeka. Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and by the Berlin Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs Department.


Stefanie Wenner was born in Kassel, Germany. She studied philosophy, sociology, literature and art history in Bologne, Cologne and Berlin, and got her Ph.D. in philosophy at FU Berlin. She teaches drama at various universities and colleges (FU Berlin, Universität Hildesheim, Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, HMT Leipzig etc.). She works as an exhibition and festival curator in the field of visual and performative arts, and was the curator at Impuls Theater Biennale 2013 festival. From 2008 she worked for HAU Berlin and at Kunst und Verbrechen. Art without CrimeYour Nanny hates you! Ein Festival zum Thema FamilieZELLEN and Lunapark Berlin festivals.

From 2010 she started developing performative platforms, producing inclusive platforms like Cells (bio-art and gardening) and Mycorrhiza (production of illusion). Dirt: An Apparatus is her most ambitious project so far.



Production: Drugo more

Partners: BAD.co & Dirt: An Apparatus

Supported by: Nacionalna zaklada za razvoj civilnog društva, Zaklada Kultura nova, Ministarstvo kulture Republike Hrvatske, Grad Rijeka – Odjel za kulturu, Primorsko-goranska županija, Goethe-Institut Kroatien

Sponsored by: TOI TOI d.o.o.
Media coverage: H-Alter, Kulturpunkt.hr, Moja Rijeka, Novi list
Technical support: Cyclorama d.o.o.

Program was realized within Balcan Can Contemporary platform.
Program was realized within Kamov Residency Programme.


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