In addition to our family-friendly pilot runs at various venues, interviews with organizers and discussion formats with national and international artists, this lab was dedicated to our artistic exploration of the topic “parents in theaters.
Together with our children we designed posters and then put them up in a joint – and masked – action in the courtyard of Dock 11, where both the dance scene and families come and go. Our inspiration: the Guerilla Girls, who point out various forms of discrimination in the art world with their poster actions and public appearances wearing gorilla masks.
We want to draw attention to the fact that parents and caregivers are not included in cultural participation. By involving our children we demonstrate that it is possible to create and experience art transgenerationally when certain parameters such as time, space and formats are reconsidered.
So, on a Friday morning in September, we – 6 Agler*s – sit on the floor in the studio of the queer-feminist collective Altes Finanzamt.
Today we meet without children to prepare as much as possible. Equipped with paint pots, brushes, magazines and theater catalogs, we set to work. The goal: to create 15 collage-like posters. In between, we try on masks again and again. We associate possible catchwords and inscriptions for the posters.
We start with: “Parents into the theater!”, “theater for all!” and quickly make connections to our own working conditions. One suggests: “Do children kill artists’ careers?” and one with a polar bear mask, loosely based on Sara Ahmed: “Courage to killjoy.”
On Saturday we meet with children.
Today we are 7 Agler*innen, and 9 children aged between 20 months and 9 years.
We also have the support of invited parents and children. The plan: crafting in the morning, photo session at 2 p.m., poster making at Dock 11 at 3:30 p.m. It’s a full program, but we have built in plenty of buffers for breaks, naps and the unexpected. The children are enthusiastic, helping to finish the posters and preparing their masks to wear during our poster campaign. One child asks: Why masks? I can think of many reasons. After a while I answer: Because we want to stand out. Later, we realize that we also stand out without masks. More about that in a moment.
The design takes more time than we thought. Two of us are there without children and glue, write and paint without interruption so that we reach our workload of 15 posters.
Then we get going. We all gather in the courtyard where we and the posters are photographed.
The big kids are in desperate need of exercise and are playing tag wildly, two smaller ones are in desperate need of a nap, one child calls out “I have to pee” of course just as all the doors are locked and we are ready to go. Somehow we start moving, from Neukölln to Prenzlauer Berg, 7 women, 7 children, equipped with a camera, three strollers and a bicycle. Already this way belongs to the art action.
We cannot be overlooked and make our way through the Saturday bustle on Karl-Marx-Strasse to the Hermann-Platz subway station. We push our way down the stairs with kids, strollers and bikes (the elevator doesn’t work), squeeze into the subway to Rosenthaler Platz, drag ourselves up the stairs with kids, strollers and bikes (the elevator doesn’t work there either) and continue on foot right away, since the streetcar is also cancelled today (the Skater Marathon is taking place today).
Finally, we arrive in the courtyard of Dock 11, a little later than planned, but in a good mood and full of energy. We put on our masks and stick and paste our posters on the courtyard wall. Three of our posters are allowed to stay there to draw attention to our concerns. It is long after 5pm when the last of us leave Dock 11. It was an inspiring day between art, children and cultural-political activism.
For those who couldn’t be there live, the art action was shared live on Instagram. You can still view the photos here.
Planning of the art action: Isabel Mohn and Diana Thielen
artists involved of Ag Dance and Parenthood:
Claudia Garbe, Anja Kolmanics, Heike Kuhlmann, Saskia Oitmann, Johanne Timm
Fotos: Mayra Walraff
Artist Lab / Get labelled: Parents in Theaters!
an evaluation lab of the Ag Tanz und Elternschaft in sponsorship of the ZTB e.V..
The nationwide Artist Labs are a measure of the Fonds Darstellende Künste, financed with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR.