The theme and holder for events at Ponderosa in 2019 and beyond is Tipping Utopia. And in August, there will be a series of special events happening here, as part of the Tipping Utopia series. We are happy to welcome last-minute visitors to any and all of these events — so come on out to one of these concerts, jams, performances, installations and more. The full details are here below, and we’re looking forward to seeing you out here in Stolzenhagen...
The two weeks of the Ponderosa Tanzland Festival 2019 and the accompanying P.O.R.C.H. Tenth Anniversary Celebration have just finished up -- and it has been amazing. We want to thank everybody who attended, who took part, who helped to make it all happen. Time to take a look at how it all shook out... there is plenty here, so get ready to scroll-scroll-scroll and soak it all up.
(Almost) all of these photos have been taken by Ludger Storcks, who has been determinedly documenting the happenings of the festival in real-time. Others are credited in individual captions. For more from Ludger and everyone else here, make sure to follow along with us on your favourite monopolistic-data-platform of choice. And we will have more for you soon with the rest of our summer program -- so hopefully we can welcome you out here soon...
Proceedings began with a warm-up event on the night before the beginning of the festival (which also happened to be the fourth of July). This was a unique in-the-round concert by KvT and Dragons/Doyle.
Dragons/Doyle | Photo: Ludger Storcks
KvT | Photo: Ludger Storcks
KvT | Video by Chani Bockwinkel and KvT
This was then followed by an opening night with performances from Kathleen Hermesdorf, Stephanie Maher, Witchtits, and a combined introduction-circle-performance-encounter featuring P.O.R.C.H. participants from every single year of the past decade, all onstage together.
Opening night performances | Photos: Ludger Storcks
The next afternoon, there was a discussion in the Speicher kitchen about the history and future plans of both Ponderosa and Kulturpark Stolpe, our newly-emerging offshoot based in the village of Stolpe, down the road from us.
And in the evening, we finally got around to having an opening circle, once everyone had arrived...
The first week featured workshops led by FAKE Company...
FAKE Company workshop | Photos: Ludger Storcks
...along with the continuation of some long-standing traditions, such as the Wednesday-evening contact improvisation jam.
Contact improvisation jam
Each morning also included the unique experience of disco-qigong, facilitated by Kathleen Hermesdorf.
Disco-qigong with Kathleen Hermesdorf
During the weekend of the first week, P.O.R.C.H. alumni were also presenting workshops and offerings, in a tightly-packed program of fascinating complexity. It took a bit of work to get it all figured out...
Figuring it all out
A list by the noticeboard of all P.O.R.C.H. participants, from 2010 to the present
The weekend also featured a series called Re-Runs, which were re-performances and re-enactments of works from the first decade of P.O.R.C.H., presented either by original performers, returning again, or else by other P.O.R.C.H. participants, remembering and re-imagining what had been before.
The weekend also saw the Stolzenhagen premiere of The Frame. This was a work by Tove Sahlin/Shake it Collaborations, Josefin Runsteen, and Leo Svensson Sander, with a special guest appearance by Stephanie Maher and Ulrich Kaiser Jones...
The Frame | Photo: Ludger Storcks
All of the activities that have been occurring as part of the Ponderosa Tanzland Festival 2019 are also happening in the larger frame of Tipping Utopia. This is a long-term project, led by Stephanie Maher, which began at the start of 2019 and will continue for the next three years at Ponderosa.
This outer context has resulted in some artistic overlaps between the festival and Tipping Utopia. The Frame, for example, featured recontextualised excerpts from You Are A Luxury Item, a prose-poem by Stephanie Maher that is part of the archive of Tipping Utopia.
The Tipping Utopia website has also featured contributions, over the course of the festival, from Ludger Storcks (with Ponderosa objects)and Stephanie Maher (with Big Studio objects, July 1). And there will be more soon.
Tipping Utopia is much more than just an online project, however. For the time of the festival, the big studio has featured an altar comprising objects from the history of Ponderosa, of Stolzenhagen, of earlier artistic collectives in Berlin and San Francisco, and other found objects integrated into the whole.
Tipping Utopia altar, big studio | Photos: Ludger Storcks, Adi Brief
Also, it would not have truly been a festival without a rainstorm.
One of the high points of the second week of the festival was Anthropomorphic, the FAKE Company performance on the evening of 11. July, in the big studio -- the first performance by the ensemble since their Reckonings and Antidotes performances in Dock 11 in Berlin last year.
Anthropomorphic by FAKE Company | Photos: Ludger Storcks
Meanwhile, there were still plenty of other things happening as the week progressed...
Some impressions of the week... | Photos: Tessa Broadby, Lily Kane, Aurora Prelevic, and others
...and everything was leading up to the Performance Marathon, where there was something close to six hours of performances, presentations, installations, interventions, dances, songs, spatial arrangements, constructed situations, human solar systems, magical transformations, and more. All followed by a kitchen dance party.
Performance Marathon 2019 | Photos: Ludger Storcks and others
And there was a delicious brunch the following morning, to restore and reinvigorate some weary and woozy minds and bodies.
Leo surveys his empire
The noticeboard by the end of the week -- yes, things got busy
The following days included a demonstration-participatory-jam-event, with Karen Nelson, called Contact Improvisation Interrogates its History and Currency, in which participants were invited to enter an imagined portal into the history of contact improvisation.
Karen Nelson | Photos: Ludger Storcks
This week also included The Spiral of Fortune (7 of Birds), a week-long "intensive laboratory and politicised mystery school" facilitated by Keith Hennessy and Michael J. Morris. Keith and Michael finished their week by presenting a performance investigating the history of witchcraft in Norway, among other things.
Keith Hennessy and Michael J. Morris | Photos: Ludger Storcks
And finally, the second week of the festival closed up with a fire ritual in the garden, to bring everything to a close.
Garden fire ritual | Photo: Ludger Storcks
Plenty of the participants in the festival have been posting online as things have been happening, and here below are a selection of some of the posts that have come our way. If you have any more that you would like to see added here, please let us know.
And, of course, that is not all -- our full summer program is still ongoing, with the P.O.R.C.H. Gardenbody Module, Night and Day, Color Block, the Radical Abundance Ruckus, and much much more coming our way over the next month or so and beyond. So hopefully we might see you out here in Stolzenhagen some time soon, regardless how it might happen. Looking forward to it.
Am Samstag, den 29. Juni, öffnet Ponderosa seine Türen und Ihr seid herzlich eingeladen. Kommt vorbei, schaut Euch um, unterhaltet Euch bei leckerem Kuchen und findet Antworten auf alle Eure Fragen. Ihr müsst einfach nur nach Stolzenhagen kommen. So einfach ist das.
Aber das ist noch nicht alles - wir wollen Euch auch die Möglichkeit geben, diesen wunderschönen Ort wirklich kennenzulernen. Und so könnt Ihr das ganze Wochenende hier verbringen, inklusive Auftritten von Kathleen Hermesdorf, Christine Bonansea, Peter Pleyer, Stephanie Maher und anderen, plus Wochenendparty, leckeren Kuchen, allen Mahlzeiten und natürlich dem Tag der offenen Tür selbst.
Und es geht noch weiter - ein paar tolle, kleinere Veranstaltungen warten in diesem Sommer auf Euch, darunter besondere Performances, Konzerte, Auftritte und andere Events, die in keine Schublade passen. Das alles könnt Ihr zum Sonderpreise für Ponderosa-Mitglieder erleben. Jeder ist herzlich eingeladen, dabei zu sein.
Hier kommen die Infos für den Tag der Offenen Tür, das Wochenende drumherum und das geplante Sonderprogramm in diesem Sommer:
Tag der offenen Tür: Infos und Hinweise
Unseren Tag der offenen Tür veranstalten wir in diesem Jahr am 29. Juni. Falls Ihr nur an diesem einen Tag bei uns vorbeikommen wollt, sind wir von mittags bis abends gegen 18:00 für Euch da. Der Tag ist für Euch bei uns kostenlos.
Anreisen könnt Ihr entweder mit dem öffentlichen Bus, dem Rufbus oder einer der anderen auf unserer Seite beschriebenen Möglichkeiten. Falls Ihr kommen möchtet, schickt uns bitte vorab eine Mail.
Tag der offenen Tür: Für ein ganzes Wochenende!
Wir würden uns freuen, wenn Ihr am Tag der offenen Tür ein bisschen Zeit mit uns verbringt. Wir wollen Euch auch die Möglichkeit geben, diesen wunderschönen Ort wirklich kennenzulernen. Und so könnt Ihr das ganze Wochenende hier verbringen, inklusive Auftritten von Kathleen Hermesdorf, Christine Bonansea, Peter Pleyer, Stephanie Maher und anderen, plus Wochenendparty, leckeren Kuchen, allen Mahlzeiten und natürlich dem Tag der offenen Tür selbst.
Das alles bekommt Ihr zu einem sehr, sehr, sehr, sehr, sehr günstigen Preis für Ponderosa-Mitglieder. Wollt Ihr dabei sein? Dann schickt uns bitte eine Mail vorab, damit wir planen können.
Hier sind die Details:
Coole Taschen — nur für Mitglieder!
Und noch mehr besondere Events im Sommer
Ein paar tolle, kleinere Veranstaltungen warten auf Euch, falls Ihr einen kurzen Ausflug aufs Land machen möchtet. Alle diese Veranstaltungen haben Sonderpreise für Ponderosa-Mitglieder, aber jeder ist herzlich eingeladen, dabei zu sein. Wir freuen uns auf Euch! Mehr Infos zu diesen aber auch anderen geplanten Veranstalten folgen in Kürze. Schaut hier einfach öfter mal vorbei oder folgt uns an den üblichen Orten, um auf dem Laufenden zu bleiben. Wollt Ihr zu einer bestimmten Veranstaltung kommen, schreibt uns bitte vorab eine Mail. So können wir planen. Danke!
11. Juli: FAKE Company Performance
12. Juli: Ponderosa Performance Marathon (featuring the Tipping Utopia 70 seconds of LOVE and RAGE sessions)
16. Juli: One-off special Demonstration-Participatory-Jam-Event mit Karen Nelson
2.–4. August: Tipping Utopia Un-conference
17.–18. August: Object Jam mit Michiel Keuper und Konzert
24.–25. August: Performance Journeys Weekend
Bitte denkt dran - weitere Details zu diesen und anderen Veranstaltungen folgen in Kürze - schaut bitte hier noch einmal vorbei und folgt uns an allen üblichen Orten, um auf dem Laufenden zu bleiben.
On Saturday, June 29th, Ponderosa’s Tag der Offenen Tür 2019 will be happening, and you are very much welcome to come along, for free. Come to take a look, to have a chat, to eat some cake, and to get answers to any questions you might have. All you need to do is get yourself to Stolzenhagen, which is easy.
But that’s not all — we also wanted to give you the chance to really get to know the place, and so there is also the possibility to come out and spend the whole weekend here, including attending performances by Kathleen Hermesdorf and Christine Bonansea (in QUEENS/Rising), Peter Pleyer, Stephanie Maher, and more, along with further performances, a weekend party, all meals, and of course the open day itself.
And that’s still not all — we also wanted to let you know about some other one-off events that will be coming our way this summer, including special performances, concerts, events, and other uncategorisable occurrences. All of these events have special prices available to Ponderosa members, but all are welcome to come along.
So, the details of all these three — the Tag der Offenen Tür, the surrounding weekend, and the upcoming special events this summer — are all given below, in three parts.
Tag der Offenen Tür: practical details
The Tag der Offenen Tür will happen on 29. June. If you are coming out just for the day, then we will be here and ready to welcome you from around noon until around 6pm. You are very much welcome to come along, absolutely free. You can come by public bus, by Rufbus, or any of the other options outlined on our page about how to get here. And if you’re coming, please send an email to let us know.
Tag der Offenen Tür: come for a full weekend!
We‘d love if you would like to come out for the open day. But that’s not all — we also wanted to give you the chance to really get to know the place, and so there is also the possibility to come out and spend the whole weekend here, including attending performances by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Christine Bonansea, Peter Pleyer, Stephanie Maher, and more, along with a weekend party, nice cakes, all meals, and of course the open day itself.
This is all available at a very, very, very reduced price for Ponderosa’s members — we’d be thrilled if you would come out and spend some time here. And again, if you’re coming, please send an email to let us know.
Here are the specifics:
Cool bags — only for members!
And if you come out for the weekend, you will be able to see a rare full performance of QUEENS / Rising, a collaborative work featuring Christine Bonansea, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Yuko Kaseki, and Nadja Haas. They describe it like this:
“The body is not a thing, it's a situation: it's our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” — Simone de Beauvoir.
QUEENS is a poetic discovery. The audience is witnesses to a perspective of the contemporary female body. QUEENS is an artist collective: performers Nadja Haas, Christine Bonansea, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Yuko Kaseki, sound artist Superhand, costume designer Isabel Vollrath and sculptor Maurice Brown.
The event will also feature excerpts of Trident by Peter Pleyer.
Images from QUEENS / Rising as presented at Tatwerk Berlin
Other upcoming special events throughout the summer
We also want to let you know about a few upcoming shorter events that everyone can come along to, if you’d like a quick trip out to the countryside. All of these events have special prices available to Ponderosa members, but all are welcome to come along. We’re looking forward to being able to welcome you to Stolzenhagen at any of these events. More details about these and other events will be getting added soon — make sure to check back, and also to follow us in all the usual places to stay up-to-date. And if you would like to come along to any of these events, make sure to send us an email to let us know — it makes everything easier for everyone that way. Thanks!
11. July: FAKE Company performance
12. July: Ponderosa Performance Marathon, featuring the Tipping Utopia 70 seconds of LOVE and RAGE sessions
16. July: One-off special demonstration-participatory-jam-event with Karen Nelson
2.–4. August: Tipping Utopia Un-conference
17.–18. August: Object Jam and Concerts
24.–25. August: Performance Journeys weekend
And remember — more details about these and other events will be getting added soon — make sure to check back, and also to follow us in all the usual places to stay up-to-date.
Every year, we arrange a certain amount of work exchanges for people who would like to come and spend time at Ponderosa. The details of how this works are outlined on our page about work exchanges, here.
Apart from these more general possibilities, we also occasionally offer the possibility of specific exchanges for particular roles or tasks over the next few months — and we have a few of these for the upcoming 2019 summer season. Maybe you might be the person we need? Or someone you know? Let us know! The details are below...
However, before we get to the full details of the available exchanges, we also want to outline the possibility to undertake a direct solidarity work exchange, in the context of Color Block and the W.E.R.K. series of events at Ponderosa.
In our usual work exchange, participants come and work for one week, and then participate in a workshop for one subsequent week. You have no food and accommodation costs, and you only pay for the workshop fee. However, with the direct solidarity work exchange, you can come and work for one week, without any food and accommodation costs, as normal, and then make a donation of the week of workshop participation that you have worked for.
Through this direct solidarity exchange, you can allow a participant in Color Block to participate without food and accomodation costs — their costs of food and accommodation will be covered through your work exchange. Through this exchange, the space of Ponderosa becomes more accessible and more sustainable, and is able to more easily offer a space for radical explorations of movement, race, politics, and justice.
If you are interested, just send the dates for the week you can work to: email@example.com (yes, ‘.com’, not ‘.de’).
Ok, here are the outlines of the other available exchanges:
And, as above, if you’re interested in one or more of these specific possibilities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us a short outline of why you feel you would be well-suited. 💜
Für das Ponderosa e.V. Projektteam suchen wir zum frühestmöglichen Zeitpunkt eine/n Assistenz der Geschäft- und Vereinsührung*in in Teilzeit.
Die Tätigkeit und Stelle ist in Stolzenhagen und Stolpe verortet, kann aber zu 50% auch von Berlin aus durchgeführt werden.
Ihre Aufgaben umfassen:
Die Anstellung erfolgt vorbehaltlich der Mittelbewilligung durch die öffentlichen Zuwendungsgeber und in Abhängigkeit zu den zur Verfügung stehenden Haushaltsmitteln.
Sie ist auf den Zeitraum Frühjahr 2019 bis September 2021 befristet.
Bitte senden Sie uns Ihre aussagekräftige Bewerbung ausschließlich per Mail bis spätestens 28.02.2019 an: email@example.com. Für Fragen zur ausgeschriebenen Stelle können Sie sich an Uli Kaiser unter oben genannter Mailadresse wenden. Die Bewerbungsgespräche sollen in der zweiten Märzhälfte geführt werden.
At the start of 2018, we began our Direct Solidarity contribution system. This was a little experiment — a way to try to create support, acknowledge inequality, and allow access. We have been running this system in a deliberately low-key, preliminary way — partly because we did not know what might happen, and whether or not this would be a system that people would actually contribute to or ask for assistance from.
The results of how the system worked in 2018 are:
As a result of this modest experiment, we have made a couple of decisions for the coming year:
This is a small but real method through which we are attempting to increase sustainability and accessibility at Ponderosa, and we’re happy to see it continue, and eager to see where it might go in the coming year. We’ll have more details about it all soon. And for now, if you’d like to attend an event here, you will have the possibility to contribute to, or request assistance from, the direct solidarity system. We hope to see you out here soon!
One of the participants in this year’s P.O.R.C.H. program was Darya Arefyeva. Darya (or Dasha) was taking photographs as she went, as a personal practice alongside her participation in the program. This created a unique personal record and thread of documentation of the time during P.O.R.C.H. this summer, which Dasha has been kind enough to let us share here.
These images of summer mainly show activities during P.O.R.C.H., but also the overlap that the program had with Color Block, Magical Release Ensemble, and other events that were running in parallel, during the high summer at Stolzenhagen. Take a look here below.
And, of course, if you’re curious to know more about P.O.R.C.H., or you’re considering coming here for the P.O.R.C.H. modules in 2019, make sure to get all the details of P.O.R.C.H. 2019, right here. ❤️
Ponderosa on the Road is back again! Yes, our little occasional series of events will be coming to the FRESH Festival, San Francisco, on January 20., 2019.
Ponderosa on the Road is an occasional event series in which we try to figure out ways for the spirit and essence of Ponderosa to be presented in other places around the world. And FRESH Festival is the premiere event celebrating and showcasing new work, research and ideas in performance, music, and dance in San Francisco and the bay area of California. It is presented by ALTERNATIVA, directed by Kathleen Hermesdorf.
And Ponderosa on the Road — SF 2019 will bring together international artists from the expanded, interconnected communities of Ponderosa and ALTERNATIVA worldwide, at the FRESH Festival 2019, in San Francisco — or, more specifically, at the Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut Street, in Berkeley — on January 20., 2019.
Read on for all the details...
Ponderosa on the Road — SF 2019 will be a unique event, at which participants will aim to share Ponderosa’s creative, inclusive and communal spirit with you. The participants are a group of people from all over the world who have been to Ponderosa (Ponderosa? What is that?), and they will be gathered together to host you for an evening of multiple experiences -- to carry the feelings, functions, fields, and forests of Stolzenhagen to FRESH at Finnish Hall in Berkeley.
The evening will start with a cathartic aural research experience led by Coral Short, followed by a potluck shared dinner featuring sublime culinary-conceptual offerings from Jesse Hewit. Evolving from this, there will be actions and interventions in the space, which may (or may not) include the following practices, contributions, and balms:
The line-up of all the participants in the event is not yet completely clear, but will include at least most of the following: Larry Arrington, Chani Bockwinkel, Adi Brief, Alex Crow, Caitlin Fisher, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Jesse Hewit, David Jensen, Kata Kovács, Kentaro Kumanomido, Ursula Marlee Marcussen, Tom O’Doherty, Gareth Okan, Thomas Anthony Owen, Coral Short, Jessy Tuddenham, Cathy Walsh, Hannah Wasielewski, and Miriam Wolodarski.
There is a Sugarmountain event here, and there will be more info soon...
Ponderosa and ALTERNATIVA are sister entities, who have been collaborating, creatively and programmatically, since 2000. FRESH was launched in 2010, the same year as P.O.R.C.H. — and it was through P.O.R.C.H. that FAKE Company came to be born, which will perform with ALTERNATIVA in FRESH. It’s all connected.
Of course, Ponderosa has deep roots in San Francisco. During the early years of Ponderosa, much of the activity here involved Stephanie Maher, a long-time denizen of San Francisco, inviting friends to travel from San Francisco to Berlin, and on to Stolzenhagen, to present their work. In the early 2000s, the then-new Ponderosa was, in some ways, a Berlin-oriented countryside equivalent to 848 Community Space in San Francisco, and with many of the same participants — Stephanie, Keith Hennessy, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Jess Curtis, and many more.
So we’ll be very happy to finally go back and reconnect these two threads through this event and its surroundings. We’re looking forward to it all — we’ll see you there! 💥
The Autumn Artist Exchange at Ponderosa began earlier this month, on October 8., and it has now run through three fully-packed weeks of collaboration, research, investigation, artistic exploration, and much more. In total, there have been around thirty people here, from all over the world, sharing time, space, ideas, hopes, and inspirations. The exchange is just now reaching its end — and we wanted to try to give a sense of how it has all been.
Stolzenhagen October colours at the Autumn Artist Exchange
It’s difficult, of course, to try to give outlines of the work that’s occurring here. But let’s try. We’ve split this up into two parts: firstly, here are some impressions of the things that have been happening; then, after that, some short interviews with some of the participants, giving a small taste of some of the curiosities that have led people to be here.
(And, if all of this ends up whetting your curiosity, don’t forget that the will be another exchange event — the Winter Artist Exchange — in February 2019. Take a look, and maybe we’ll see you out here for some cosy, focused time in the deepest part of the hibernation season.)
The participants in the exchange have been a self-organised group — both in practical terms, such as in cooking and planning studio use, and also in the artistic uses of the available spaces. This has led to some fascinating uses and re-imaginings of the potential of these spaces. For example, Tim Waltinger, Tigre Bailando, and Kae Minami presented paintings, drawings, and calligraphy — mostly works-in-progress — in a pop-up exhibition in the kitchen...
...and there were also several showings and performances, including Tom Oliver Jacobson’s short piece involving a short story about love, and ice-cream...
Tom Oliver’s kitchen performance
...and Camilla Birk De Oliveira’s and Nora Barna’s performance in the studio...
Studio performance by Camilla Birk de Oliveira and Nora Barna
...Isabelle Vuong gave a lecture about Futurology...
...the altar in the kitchen slowly accumulated items...
...we had lovely weather, so the garden was used as an outdoor painting and drawing studio...
...and there were plenty of talks, conversations, and discussions, of all kinds.
People have arrived at the Autumn Artist Exchange from all over the world, and they have myriad artistic and creative interests. Here are five short introductions to different participants and their work — and there are so many more that we could have talked to!
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I am a PhD researcher at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, in a group called ‘Knowledge in the Arts’ (‘Das Wissen der Künste’). Initially I came to the Autumn Artist Exchange to work on a lecture about telepathy in reading and writing — or, how reading and writing are ‘practices of telepathy.’ But then, as the time here developed — and through having a lot of conversations about very different topics — I ended up working more on a methodology around how to relate to knowledge in the arts through having these conversations.
The writer that my research is most informed by is Hélène Cixous, a French theorist and critic. In her work, she talks about communication as being always telepathic — meaning that it always occurs from a distance — but that it is also always pathic — meaning that it always happens to us; so, we cannot intentionally communicate with books, texts, or characters from different times. One of the texts that Cicoux wrote is a text that combines really different characters and authors, from different other texts, and through this she kind of creates a heterogeneous, multidimensional cosm of different texts, such that you never really know where you are — it’s a linear text but it really creates a multidimensional space — and this was my starting-point.
And while I have been here, One thing that I did was that I asked Deborah [Deborah Black — see below] to read this text as well. I think she is very connected to several spiritual practices, and she was sharing her impression about, for example, tarot as a telepathic practice. I feel that I’ve learned a lot from her perspective — I’ve learned how to move away from just the position of sitting at a desk and writing and trying to reflect on something, and towards connecting this with practices of bodywork and accessing a deeper relation amongst different bodies.
So, through this, I’ve started to think about ‘telepathy’ as a mode of relation to each other — how bodies are actually communicating in a non-verbal way, wherever we are. And during this residency I think there were a lot of bodies here that were really quite sensitive to that.
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I came to the Autumn Artist Exchange to work on a small series of paintings, and I have also been creating a mask, and a new performance character using the mask.
The paintings are developing from a thread of work that I’ve been doing, but taking the chance to explore working on canvas for the first time in — I don’t know, maybe eight years or so? And through that, I am playing with texture and process, and continuing to explore themes about cathartic personal experience, interrelational dynamics, and the more esoteric mystical aspects of experience. The paintings depict characters that transcend species and gender and age and things like that — trans-dimensional beings.
And the mask character is still… birthing itself. So I don’t entirely know what it will be. But it is exploring ideas of transpersonal identity and the mystical deity existing within the human form, existing beyond binary identity.
Both of these sets of projects are ostensibly for exhibitions in some upcoming projects I’m doing for some festivals in Australia and Thailand, so I’ll be showing the paintings at a gallery at a music festival in Australia, where I’ll also be live-painting and performing the character in an interactive format. And I’ll also, I’m sure, be taking the character onto the streets of various cities that I go to — I’ll probably do a session in Berlin, and in Bercelona, and in other different places — exploring the boundary of art and street life.
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I came to the Autumn Artist Exchange because I wanted some focused time to get a lot of reading done — I’ve started around seven different books that I’ve wanted to finish since I’ve arrived here! However, I’ve also been researching through teaching, so I’ve been leading some sessions with people here, looking at how patriarchal structures have infiltrated my own teaching — trying to unpack that a little bit. And then, alongside that, I’ve been working out how my teaching, and the work I do, can start to inform social change outside of art-making. And also, I have been bringing in some healing work, and putting it alongside embodiment — dealing with how these two things can sort of lay side by side. That’s what I’m working on.
Then, separately from that, I’ve also been working on how to write from the body, and working in the discipline of poetry, because I think that poetry is a language for imagining the future, and so — seeing as I’m working with ideas about social change — I’m thinking about how we can write from the body and into the future. I’m working in that intersection right now.
Camilla Birk De Oliveira
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I’m researching, through dance and performance, about transition moments between death and life. So, birth and rebirth, and the decaying and emerging moments of bodies, the cycles of natural environments the cycles of our own bodies — and thinking also about the political implications of these thoughts. It can seem that something needs to die in our society so that something new can appear, and I feel that we are in a transition moment where I often feel lost, and it is through the body — through practicing movement, dance, performance — that I am able to find some ground.
So, that is mostly why this research has brought me to Ponderosa. It’s a place where we can discuss these times of transitioning. Moving from an overripe capitalist moment to what could come next. I do this through dance, and through the body. To think about what is performative in this moment — this is what I’m working on.
My ideas have changed in the time that I have been here, partly because of the place, and partly through knowing what’s going on in my country. I am from Brazil, and it has been quite hard to face what people are deciding there in elections right now. I am here at the Autumn Artist Exchange for these three weeks, which are the same three weeks as the time between the first and the second round in the current election. I have been struggling with myself about being here. Moving between being really hopeful at seeing human beings here trying to build up a new perspective on life, and then also receiving outside information from home, about people still wanting to kill things that are different, and not exist through difference. This has connected a lot with my work — with the first impulse to research here about cycles of life. But I am also faced with the reality of being in this land, in Germany, where these ideas, this Nazism already happened, and is part of history, and yet also seeing that emerge in my country right now, again.
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I came to the Autumn Artist Exchange to work on three different things — which was maybe too much! The first was songwriting, but with a focus of trying to write from the body, and exploring what that means, rather than from analytical thought like lyric writing. The second was re-finding my dance practice, after a long period of not dancing. And the third was to start collecting audio around the topic of counterculture as a concept.
But what has actually happened since I have arrived is that I have been doing daily embodiment practices, which actually has made the time here much more about a sort of healing — more healing than I expected to happen here — and the conversations that I have been having have been much more broad than I expected. So what has actually happened is a clarification around my interests for the future — and that ultimately feels like it has been more significant than anything I’ve produced or practiced here.
What are you working on at the Autumn Artist Exchange?
I came here because I had heard about it through two friends of mine. I finally decided to come quite last-minute — I knew I would be in Europe for two months, and saw that there was this exchange happening. I work with sculpture and installation art, and I thought that this place would be a really great supportive artistic environment to be in while I was figuring out this idea that I have been working on here, related to a collective of which I’m a member.
This collective, the Council of Svoo, has been running for three years — so still fairly young — and it began at the sculpture department of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The members are mostly artists working in installation and sculpture. A lot of what they do is practical mutual support for artists — organising life-drawing classes together, doing one-off skills-based workshops, helping to present exhibitions (at least one a year); this kind of thing. So, very much a practical supportive group dealing with nuts-and-bolts things for a community of artists in similar disciplines.
So, the idea that I had was to try to create a ‘currency’ — or to put a value on — creative labour, that could be used within this collective, and maybe with others, as a way to exchange labour, to have labour be acknowledged. Ideally, to give people an easy way to ask for help.
Since I got here, I’ve been reading about gift economies, different approaches to artistic currencies, social currencies, and talking to all the wonderful people here about it all. I’ve also been using studio time to map out intentions for this idea. I’ve figured out, through these conversations and this work, that this idea is maybe trying to do too much at once. So I’ve tried to burrow down to the core intention, which is to allow people to ask for help, and to focus just on that.
All of these dedicated and inspiring individuals are here at Ponderosa in order to be able to go deep into their work, to spend time away from the bustle of everyday life, and to try to allow the focus that is needed for creative processes to bear fruit. We wish them all good luck in this — it’s not easy.
And hopefully you, dear reader, might also like to come out here some time soon, perhaps for another future residency, or one of the other events we’ll have in the coming months. Take a look at the full program page for an idea of what’s growing in our garden, and maybe we’ll be able to welcome you out here before too long. ❤️
The Ponderosa Blog is an ongoing experiment in putting one foot in front of the other, and one word after another, to transfer ideas in ones and zeroes to minds around the world and beyond. A rumble from a ruined speaker to maybe bring the gov’t. down, one sorry heart at a time. xo