‘Tool’ can be defined as a device used for working, an instrument to carry out a task – even if it is digital. It is also an insult, as it is slang for a person who can be unknowingly manipulated or used by others. In discussions about conspiracy theories, opponents often claim that the other side is being manipulated by the media, politics or social media. This is why underlying every public exchange is the suspicion that the opinions are based on deceptions or have been influenced by some political power. The question arises as to what is true and real anymore. If we do not share a common denominator or points of connection, we cannot really communicate with each other.
The performance “TOOL” brings this question about what is real to a head and claims that musical theatre is a sound system, i.e., a sculpture of sound that moves over the stage. Here, sound becomes an instrument – a TOOL. This TOOL has a mind of its own and is an additional cast member. The performers react to one another, sometimes as part of the composition, and sometimes improvising. However, the TOOL in turn, also reacts to the performers. Who is manipulating whom here? Through the interactions between the performers and the TOOL, a new system of interaction emerges that eludes the simple logic and classic hierarchies of manipulation and control.
The focus of this residency is on intermediality. The artists seek to experiment with the connections between composition, video, sensory systems, objects, augmented reality and live performance. They are not only developing these ideas, but will also be performing them.
Artists Katharina Anna-Josefine Rausch, Christopher Johannes Scheuer, Friedrich Stockmeier
Katharina Anna-Josefine Rausch, Christopher Johannes Scheuer and Friedrich Stockmeier are an alliance of artists from Mannheim who work with intermedial art forms. They have collaborated in the past in various constellations, as well as working on independent projects in municipal theatres and other venues. Together, the trio wants to explore new performative forms in contemporary musical theatre.
Friedrich Stockmeier studied composition and new media in Mannheim. He is an author and composer, who writes poetry and plays in intermedial contexts. His compositions, theatre music, multi-media installations, staged readings and texts have been performed at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Landestheater Niederösterreich, Konzerthaus Berlin, as well as in the international music festival Heidelberger Frühling and at the Lviv Art Center. His art deals with animation processes and their paranoid refractions.
Katharina Anna-Josefine Rausch is a visual artist and dramatist. She studied theatrical pedagogy in Osnabrück and went on to study at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. Since 2021, she has worked as a dramatic advisor, drama coach, director and performer among other things at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Schauburg München and for the Theater und Orchester Heidelberg. Her work is positioned at the interface of theatre and visual art – combining performance, installation, as well as 3-D animation videos and augmented reality. In all her work, the relationship to body, gender and identity is always present.
Christopher Johannes Scheuer studied composition in Mannheim and music theory in Mainz. He has been commissioned to create compositions for various theatres and festivals in Germany. His work focuses on live electronic sound and / or motion detection sensory technology, as well as works for voice and dance. He teaches media practice, composition and music theory at different colleges in Germany. Presently, he is the project director for the Digital Stage at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts.
Photo © Katharina Anna-Josefine Rausch