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Sunday, May 13. 2018
earlier this year, i observed two crows* busy in the tree outside my window. over the ensuing weeks they constructed a large, sturdy nest, high up in the tree (apparently a "false acacia"). then, as the tree began to sprout leaves and buds, the two birds shared the task of sitting on the nest, taking turns to fly off for food. a few more weeks passed and the activity changed: both birds were flying back and forth a lot, and instead of sitting on the nest, they perched on the sides, heads down in the nest. feeding a baby or two, we guessed, and sure enough soon we observed two little heads appearing above the edge of the nest, necks craning and mouths open as their parents came with food.
but in the middle of last night, a terrible noise of desperate shreiking birds shattered the stillness. it went on for quite some time, and it was clear that there was some kind of battle going on. we feared for the little crow family. in the morning, we looked to the nest, and could see nothing - no little heads, no parents coming and going. all was suspiciously quiet.
then came a single parent bird. it flew to a much lower branch of the tree and sat there quietly for several minutes, as if listening, or waiting for something. then it moved a little higher, closer to the nest, and again waited. gradually, cautiously, it came closer and closer to the nest until finally it stood on the edge of the nest and looked in. no little heads poked out. the parent crow stood there for a long time, silently looking into the nest. occasionally it looked around, as if confused. after a while it flew to the next tree and sat on a branch close to our balcony, where we have never seen it sit before. later it sat again in the lower branches of the tree with the nest, looking despondent - devasted, even, if a crow can look devastated. the babies have clearly been killed. i don't know what predators there might be here - friends have suggested a cat, and although we almost never see cats out in the street here, it does seem like the most likely thing. there are a lot of small white feathers in the grass below the tree.
we are in mourning for the baby crows.
but also this morning, at the same time as we were waking up and anxiously looking for the crows, we got the news that our friend raquel gave birth to her second daughter at 5am this morning. joy at the same time as sorrow; life and death together. nature doing what it does ...
* a friend said that they are more likely to be jackdaws than crows; i have only briefly researched the differences, but i think these are crows since jackdaws have a smaller beak.
Monday, March 26. 2018
Thursday 29th of March around 15h30 Paris time (21:30 SGT)
You are most welcome online for
Online En-semble – Entanglement Training
An online performance directed by Annie Abrahams (NL/FR) with the wonderful artists Antye Greie (DE/FI), Helen Varley Jamieson (NZ/DE), Soyung Lee (KR), Huong Ngô (HK/USA), Daniel Pinheiro (VE/PT) and Igor Stromajer (SLO/DE)
In the frame of the online symposium Art of the Networked Practice - Social Broadcasting: an Unfinished Communications Revolution symposium, School of Art, Design & Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (29 – 31 March 2018, a collaboration between the School of Art, Design & Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore; and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Performance, USA). Chair Randall Packer.
Program of the day:
8 pm SGT Introduction by Randall Packer.
8.15 pm SGT Maria Chatzichristodoulou keynote Live Art and Telematics: The Promise of Internationalism
9.30 pm SGT Online En-semble – Entanglement Training Live networked performance
10 pm SGT Post performance roundtable
This is Singapore time. Find your own time here.
How to connect for the symposium (you will need 5 min to prepare).
In this new work we investigate how to be together in a connected world, where machines and humans have to communicate accepting partial overviews, glitches, time-lags, disrupting audience participation and ensuing disorientations. Abrahams considers the intra-active webcam performance situation a good apparatus to train and demonstrate entanglement. She wrote a script for seven performers with different cultural backgrounds. They will defy their own and the others’ ideas on performance and online politics in a conversational performance. In order to avoid chit-chat and to get rid of the distracting images of the faces she proposes to converse using objects, prepared phrases and voices. During the performance they create together a changing composition with the objects and improvise a sound environment with their voices and phrases. Because they share the responsibility for the performances’ acoustic and visual appearance it will be interesting to see how they negotiate their individuality and personal thoughts in this environment where they all have equal power. Contradictions, maybe even oppositions, as well as poetry can emerge in this collectively created complexity, where machines facilitate but also prevent. The performers research the limits and possibilities of their own agency in an attempt to be “with” while being separated.
Disentangling the Entanglements article on our preparations by Randall Packer
Live Art and Telematics: The Promise of Internationalism Randall Packer introduces Maria Chatzichristodoulou's keynote.
Web page with information about preparations, protocols, text, video, images and later the archives.
Tuesday, February 13. 2018
We are now one week into the Magdalena München Saison 2018, and already a lot has happened! The February artists have arrived in Munich and settled into the Villa Waldberta in Feldafing, and their performances, workshops and projects are underway.
Our opening on Friday 02.02. and Saturday 03.02. was warmly received. A good-sized audience was gathered i the foyer of HochX, when a masked figure (Cecilia Bolaños) appeared on the stairs, singing and drumming. She moved through the audience, singing and making contact with people, before leading everyone into the theatre space and all the way onto the stage. There, Martina Marini Misterioso gave her performance Final Act, a quiet meditation on the concepts of home and belonging.
As the audience sat contemplatively on the stage, drums and calling came from the theatre’s gallery. A regal figure (Sabine Bollenbach) in a long flowing sparkly blue gown that extended into the seating welcomed us – to HochX, to the centenary of women’s suffrage in Germany, and to the Magdalena München Saison. Her speech described Magdalenas and gave hints at the performances and events to come in the programme. Then she invited the public to be seated, and we listened to the beautiful music of Elis Roseira. I introduced the artists and spoke about Magdalena, then we heard more from Elis.
Unfortunately the second half of our opening programme had had to be changed due to the non-arrival of Deborah Hunt‘s luggage, containing all of her puppets, props, costumes and scenery required for Tale 53; Snowhite. We screened the documentary film Magdalena instead, and then had an extra surprise finale to the evening when, as we sat in the foyer with a glass of wine after the film, the three missing suitcases arrived! It was a jubilant moment and a big relief. The show would go on!! And it did, on the following night, to an enthusiastic audience. Everyone stayed afterwards to hear an impromptu discussion from Deborah, explaining the various puppetry techniques she had employed and allowing us to have a close look at everything. Deborah will perform Tale 53; Snowhite once more, on Saturday 24 February at Meta Theater (Moosach bei Grafing).
On Saturday 03.02., Zoe Gudović opened her performance installation DISSOCIATION, in collaboration with Das KloHäuschen. She has transformed this former men’s public urinal into her living room, and invites the public to visit her, to drink tea with her, and to speak about love – in the context of her story of the 2001 Belgrade Gay Pride march, where violent thugs attacked peaceful marchers. Visitors then write something about love on a piece of toilet paper and this is hung in the KloHäuschen’s glass door. So many people came on the first day (they were “giving each other the doorhandle”) that the glass door was quickly filling up with people’s messages.
Also on the 3rd and 4th of February, Jana Korb gave her workshop Kreation im begrenzte Raum (Creation in Confined Space). Some of the participants came with their “confined space”, such as a suitcase, or a box, while others worked with Jana’s trapaze and other limitations that they found in the workshop space. They all found this idea of operating within limitations to be very inspiring.
The monthly “Jourfix” at the Villa Waldberta took place last Thursday. This is an informal party and an opportunity for the resident artists to meet local people from Feldafing and from the Munich arts scene. Often the artists give presentations or small performances, and naturally the “Villa Magdalena” artists put together a wonderful show. Deborah Hunt’s Macanuda mask character acted as our guide, leading us to the Palmenhaus for a preview of Kordula Lobeck de Fabris‘ multimedia installation Unischtbare Orte – das Leben ist ein Geschenk, and a work-in-progress from Jana Korb. Back at the Villa, Zoe Gudović gave a presentation about her street performances highlighting violence against women in Serbia, and the programme concluded with a taste of Tapete Manifesto from Thaís Medeiros and Ivan Medeiros Masocatto.
Today the Macanudos workshop is underway, the participants are busy making the masks and costumes that they’ll wear for the parade at Olympia Einkaufszentrum this coming Saturday. I’m busy catching up on admin and emails, and trying to finish this blog post that I began almost a week ago!
Friday, January 19. 2018
in just two weeks, the Magdalena München Saison 2018 will open with a special evening of performances at HochX. i've been working on this project for almost a year, with the help of a small organisation team. we're a lean operation - no office, and a relatively small amount of project funding, but with a lot of wonderful Magdalena energy!
during the last week we have been finalising all of the print material, with raquel ro working late nights and another designer, carina müller, jumping in with some wonderful ideas to really lift our marketing materials to a new level. one rather special detail is the font that is used for the word "Magdalena" - this is a brand new font, it's not even finished or publicly available yet, but its creator inge Plönnings happens to be a friend of carina's, & happened to have already completed the letters required for "Magdalena", & has allowed us to use them. the lovely coincidence is that as well as being a stunning font, the name inge has given to this font is "Magnet". those of us who work on the Magdalena Project website refer to ourselves as "the Magnetics", and we're all part of the MAGdalena NETwork, so to have a font called Magnet is very appropriate!
The programme and flyers are at the printers, email versions are about to fly into our inboxes, we have a press conference next week and the first international artists start arriving a few days later for their residencies at the Villa Waldberta. right now it's that luscious and slightly stressful anticipatory time - i'm surrounded by lists, notes, emails, messages, a team of people, but still the fear of forgetting something lurks in my head. have we done everything? what have i forgotten???
Wednesday, December 20. 2017
last week i finished read "Die Enthüllung" by the peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. it was selected for our Literaturkreis (book club), and i discovered that the english translation is not available until some time next year. mostly we try to choose books that are available in german and english, and in the past when there hasn't been an english translation, i've simply not read the book. this time, i decided it was time to tackle a german novel.
actually i have tackled german novels before. a couple of years ago, our Literaturkreis book was "Das Wochenende" by Bernhard Schlink, which deals with germany's left wing terrorism of the 1970s. it's available in english, so i read it first in english, and because it wasn't so long i decided to then read the german original. having already read it in english, and keeping the english translation beside me, i was able to get through it pretty easily. this year, i started reading "Aus Tausend Grünen Spiegeln" by Christa Moog, which is the story of an East German woman who is a fan of the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield, and makes a journey to visit all the places where KM lived. i'm still half-way through this one, & have taken a pause from it. it's quite poetically written, and jumps about in time, so it's difficult to follow when i'm only understanding parts of it. but as i'm familiar with KM's story and writings, there are large chunks of it that are more accessible to me.
so, "Die Enthüllung" is the first novel that i've started and finished reading in german, without an english translation, and without knowing the story. i'm sure i missed a lot of nuances and i can't comment on its literary merits. i was able to follow the plot, and get a good sense of the characters. in general, it was too much of a male sex fantasy to be a book i really like, but the main thing for me is that i've reached another milestone in my slow mastering of the deutsche sprache. Ein kleiner Triumph!!
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