hothouse for rough translations

The ways musicians, composers, writers, visual and performing artists have to find and go in order to be able to present their work in public can be rather complex and paved with contradictions. Besides the very process of creating artistic work itself artists are always obliged to find new sponsors: allies accompanying them on their way to the public, institutions and publishers who favor their artistic presentations and publications. Finding such allies seems to be the perfect bliss. And without doubt: for a short time it really is. But at the very moment when agreements are fixed, the first restrictions are imposed onto the project: The artist’s work has to be perceptible as a certain type of genre (even if the opposite is intended), it has to be realized over a certain period of time, under these and those local and infrastructural circumstances, the contribution might only be granted under certain conditions, or only can be spent in a very particular division between material and personal expenses – with no possibility of redistributing. And quite often an artist’s project and its artistic content are being modified due to the hosting institution's intentions.

Following their wish and ambition to present themselves and their work in theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls, artists are often inclined to allow this, while trying to ignore the typical issues of the subsidized cultural system. In favor of pragmatic and institutional decisions, artists sometimes (have to) accept and execute radical changes to their original creative intentions, thus having to compromise on the statutes of public sponsoring and re-presentation of art.

Sooner or later conditions and modifications as mentioned above result in forming an odd interspace, a gap between intention and permission, which creeps into the artistic work like an unresolvable question mark, the artist and later the audience have to deal with. Is this phenomenon of unintentional shifting (called 'décalage' in the field of simultaneous interpretation) unavoidable, when artists and cultural institutions try to realize projects together, using public subsidiaries? The optimist’s answer is: No.

But what alternative possibilities are there? Taking commercial support from the industry or the financial sector? This system, applied mostly in the USA, should be avoided, since mercantile aspects can transform art into an unrecognizable state. Thus, the remaining possibility for a unique utopia of enabling art and culture is to look out for structures and individuals that are not dependent on public institutions and commerce: project-based support by non-governmental contributors, by private donors and foundations that feel passionately about the artist's aspiration of finding new radical forms of artistic research, process and result - and even might consider being long-time allies.

Our project hothouse for rough translations (h4rt) suggests such a model, beginning in the city of Munich. A suitable space for this utopian concept is already found and secured for a two year period: a retired greenhouse of about 400 square meters in the quarter of 'Am Hart'. Being the last remaining construction element from a greenhouse area of the 1950ies, it is situated between apartments and shops and consists of a glazed interior and an old underground swimming pool right next to it - an ideal compound and space for a whole variety of artistic projects - films, concerts, exhibitions, installations, multimedia, performance, dance, theatre. The large glass house building, that due to its construction, localization, historical and actual context looks like a lost island, is in itself an urban décalage – and the starting point of our project: an international artistic platform that centers around the research of the different dimensions of one single term: 'décalage'.

No motto, no changing topics are going to structure the program of hothouse for rough translations – solely the artistic exploration of the intellectual and sensuous dimensions of one single phenomenon. The project team - Umberto Bauer (photographer/Munich), Ana Buljan (photographer/Zagreb), Florian Fischer (director/Munich), Simonetta Ferfoglia and Heinrich Pichler (artistic leaders of „Gangart“/Vienna), Benedikt Haubrich (author/Berlin), Christa Hohmann (dramaturg/Munich), Christiane Pohle (theatre director/Munich) and Malte Ubenauf (dramaturg/Berlin) – is inviting artists from very different genres and areas to develop specific projects for the hothouse at Schleißheimer Straße and help building a network for the artistic research of ‘décalage’.

hothouse for rough translations’ aim is to enable artists over the duration of ten years to work freely on a platform that is not initiated nor governed by institutions, but the invited artists themselves – and develop and phrase it further: approaches to and concepts of the term 'décalage', required work time for each project, forms of presentation, audience constellations, publishing strategies. The hosting team emphasizes on not being curators, but interlocutors and organizational partners to the invited artists. They ensure accommodation, travel and transport, space to research, rehearse and perform, technical support, public relations work and funding.

Within the total duration of ten years the space in which the artists realize their projects is supposed to change its location about every two years. After the start of hothouse for rough translations in Munich the project will relocate consecutively to other different european cities/places. The overall project has no predefined artistic objective, but is counting on the build up of momentum amidst the ongoing artistic work and among the involved individuals and groups. For the starting phase the project team has invited eight artists/groups: Gemma Antón Serna (photography), asinellone (photography), Bérengère Bodin (dance/performance), Mirko Borscht (theater/film), Anna-Sofie Lugmeier and Evamaria Müller (virtual poems/video poems/performative multimedia installations), NEXT VISIT (artists network/installation), Penelope Wehrli (performative media spaces/theater) and Duška Zagorac (documentary and fiction filmmaker). The encounters and dialogue between the involved artists, different work constellations and possible collaborations will result in further invitations. In the long run the determination of future locations of the project might emerge this way as well.

further information about the first invited artists

Gemma Antón Serna (F), photographer

asinellone (D), (photographer)

Bérengère Bodin (F), dancer, choreographer, writer

Mirko Borscht (D), director in theater and film

Anna-Sofie Lugmeier (D) and Evamaria Müller (A), virtual poems/video poems/performative multimedia installations

Next Visit (D), multi genre art network 

Penelope Wehrli (CH), director, scenographer, media artist

Duška Zagorac (GB), documentary and fiction filmmaker

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