Spanning ten days and ten venues in Berlin, with the silent green Kulturquartier as its festival centre, Berliner Festspiele’s MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues 2022 (18 to 27 March) focuses on the visible and invisible relations that hold everything together, in music and beyond. How can relationality be rethought, redrawn and artistically experimented with?
“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.” (Donna Haraway)
Thinking Together is the discourse format of MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues. Dedicated to the materiality of thought – the bodies, minds and senses that share this space –, the format provides time to connect to stories and through questions that lay at the heart of the festival.
Consisting of lectures, workshops, public talks, reading groups and experimental settings, Thinking Together invites artists, participants, guests and hosts to reflect present time related issues through the lenses of sound and vice versa.
Sunday, March 20, 10 am – 1 pm
Thinking Together 1
Solo – Experiences of a Pandemic
with musicians of Klangforum Wien, moderated by Marcus Grammel
Sunday, March 20 – 22, 10 am – 1 pm
Under the Rustle of Trees, We Listened to the Hum of Machines
with Abhijan Toto and Dennis Dizon for the Forest Curriculum
Under The Rustle of Trees, We Listened To The Hum of Machines is a workshop developed by Abhijan Toto and Dennis Dizon for the Forest Curriculum, drawing on their ongoing research project The Forest Curriculum's Weather Stress Index. The workshop takes the form of listening sessions, reading and annotation groups, embodied exercises and karaoke interventions that investigate more-than-human relations and political and aesthetic registers. Rather than a traditional workshop model, these sessions are conceived of as sites of collective research to unpack ideas of “registration” and “indexicality”, and from here to turn towards an alternative conception of sensitivity.
March 20 – 25, 2.30 pm – 5. 30 pm
Thinking Together 3
Mycelial Work Group
with Daniela Bershan, Aubrey Birch, Nahla Koch, Red Vaughan Tremmel
How might we use an erotic epistomological approach – in Audre Lorde’s sense – to learn from and be with mycelial networks and their fruiting bodies? How might we relate to this world with the orientation of an amateur, organism, guest, gourmet, healer, or fearless lover? What happens when we collaborate with mycelial intelligence rather than “work on” it? What happens when we adjust our speed and pace of working, our projections and expectations? What kind of power dynamics are revealed by and reproduced through the creation of sterile or pasteurised environments? What would it mean to create nutritious living conditions at large?
During six afternoons the co-hosts of the Mycelial Work Group seek not only to be intimate with the subject of these networks but also to experiment with methodologies of approaching, touching and relating to our subject. In addition to sharing low-threshold practical hands-on knowledge for growing, cultivating and processing mushrooms, we will meander through our speculative intelligences and radical cross-practices. Hands on and hearts open, we will move easily between the lab and the kitchen table, text and taste, laughter and study, considering for example what the ubiquity and intelligence of mycelial networks might teach us about refiguring relations of power and togetherness.
Taking away the platform of authority this work group aims to create erotic possibilities to encounter knowledge together and bring it into complex, interdependent and experimental ways of learning together.
The Mycelial Work Group is oriented by the ongoing experiment (of eight years) of ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE, a fluid grouping of artists and scholars who live together for 10 days each year, focusing on contemporary urgencies through feminist, queer and decolonial analytics and practices. We practice a radical openness to a diversity of sense-making methodologies and intelligences, always collectively remixing different ontologies and epistemologies through workshops, ritual, reading groups, invocation, map-making, artistic practices, cooking and cleaning, critical inquiry, reproductive care, sex, magic, and radical forms of togetherness.
Monday, March 21, 1 pm – 4 pm
Thinking Together 6
Listening East 1
with Martyna Poznańska, Agnieszka Bulacik, Paulina Miu and Matthias Schönijahn
Listening East is the title of two thinking, being and becoming together sessions hosted by a cross-disciplinary artist Martyna Poznańska together with Agnieszka Bulacik, Paulina Miu and Matthias Schönijahn, to explore Eastern imaginaries by means of listening, embodiment exercises, and storytelling.
Listening East becomes a space where Eastern borders can be momentarily dropped, challenged and rethought through relational practices which bring into focus the invisibilized West/East European divide that to date segregates communities across the European continent. These sessions take a rather poetic direction, reflecting subjective perceptions of places the participants have visited to think along, sing along, listen along and be along the East.
The title lends itself to Poznańska’s release of a series of field recordings the artist made to investigate the perception and transformation of Eastern Europe, as experienced by generations after the Cold War. Poznańska grew up in Białystok, Poland near the Belarussian border, but during her upbringing, she felt always compelled to go West. A space of promise. A space of the future and stability.
The result of this curiosity was the album Listening East, which was recorded over the course of six months in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania: a series of field recordings that include convivial bar conversations to failed phone conversations, to echoing church bells. The goal of the project was to “domesticate” these sonic areas by bringing out the diversity and uniqueness in these acoustic worlds. This work looks into sounds and feelings such as foreignness, unattractiveness, remoteness, danger and mistrust – feelings often associated by post-cold-war generations with these Eastern realities.
Tuesday, March 22, 1 pm – 4 pm
Thinking Together 7
with Liza Lim
String Thinking: a hands-on workshop session exploring the animacy of string as a ‘companion creature’ that helps us to relate to, ‘think’ or 'invent' the world. The session works with ideas from Donna Haraway's Staying with the Trouble as well as Tim Ingold's The Life of Lines but does not require prior theoretical knowledge. Lim will also discuss how these ideas relate to her own work as a composer. This session is open to all. The workshop will focus on the topics ecology, story-telling and material agencies.
Wednesday, March 23, 1 pm – 4 pm
Thinking Together 8
Thinking Together with François Bonnet
March 23 – 25, 10 am – 1 pm
Relationality Work Group
with Rolando Vázquez & Abhijan Toto
The Relationality Work Group within Thinking Together gives time and space to focus on relationality itself, its politics, different forms, conceptualizations, genealogies, and practices.
We are living under conditions of defuturing, of the loss of Earth (Earthlessness) and the loss of Worlds (Worldlessness). The condition of separation that is at the basis of being an individual person, at the basis of personhood needs to be overcome. Relationality points towards an epistemic and aesthetic turn, a turn in our ways of experiencing and living on Earth and with others. Relationality signals a transition from personhood towards a state of being, towards manners of being earthly, towards Earthhood and Communalhood.
In these series of workshops we will work through the pedagogies of positionality, relationality and transition, to explore this turn from the primacy of the state of being an individual person and the predominance of enunciation towards practices reception and listening, of remembering and hosting, towards forms of earthing and commoning.
Thursday, March 24, 1 pm – 4 pm
Thinking Together 9
Thinking Together with Georges Aperghis & Sofia Jernberg
Friday, March 25, 1 pm – 4 pm
Thinking Together 10
Listening East 2
Mit Martyna Poznańska, Agnieszka Bulacik, Paulina Miu und Matthias Schönijahn