Hier, Jetzt (und Dann?)
Here, Now (And Then?)
It’s almost three years since arts venues first shut down, bringing live theatre and performance to a grinding halt in Germany and elsewhere in the world.
Whilst the larger arts and culture sector suffered devastating economic losses, artists found innovative ways to adapt their projects for digital consumpton. From live performances on video calling apps to audio plays that can be accessed at any time, there has been a tremendous growth in the use of technology and new media. However, these artistic explorations as well as critical research and resource building efforts have focused extensively on artists alone, such as their working methodologies and creative outputs. There has not yet been a dedicated effort to investigate the impact of this on arts audiences and take stock of changing demographics, consumption patterns, socio-economic factors, technical knowledge, accessibility issues and other considerations.
As we return to the "new" normal, what learnings, survival techniques and strategies do we carry to the future?
Here is an exploration of new performance formats, audience engagement strategies and artistic working methodologies for the future.
About The Research
The primary objective of this research project is to measure the change in attitudes, behaviour, access and consumption of digital theatre and hybrid performances (as compared to in-person, live performances) by arts audiences in Germany.
The research will additionally investigate how specific design, technical and artistic elements of such performances have led to the inclusion (and exclusion) of certain audience segments. Consequently, it will map barriers and challenges to accessing these performances, such as those related to ability, economics, access and technical adoption, among others, that might be uncovered.
This research is being conducted by Gaurav Singh under the German Chancellor Fellowship (Bundeskanzler Stipendium) with the support of the project host organization Rimini Protokoll, the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung and the Federal Government of Germany.
Unterstützt von / Supported by
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (German: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung) is a foundation established by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as other national and international partners; it promotes international academic cooperation between excellent scientists and scholars from Germany and from abroad.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s German Chancellor Fellowship Programme (German: Bundeskanzlerstipndium) is targeted at university graduates from Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Russian Federation, South Africa and the USA who have an international outlook and initial leadership experience. It addresses prospective decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders from a broad range of professional fields such as politics, public administration and business as well as society and culture. This fellowship programme is intended to give them the opportunity to spend a year in Germany exploring new solutions to the global issues of our times and widening their networks. This fellowship programme is under the patronage of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and is financed by the Federal Foreign Office. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grants up to 60 German Chancellor Fellowships every year – up to ten of which go to prospective leaders from each of the six countries mentioned above. By sponsoring them through the German Chancellor Fellowship programme the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation invites fellows to become active members of an international network of trust and cooperation characterised by exchange and contacts that persist beyond the shared fellowship experience in Germany. This creates a lively, continuously expanding network of international decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders who maintain lasting ties with Germany, thereby acting as intermediaries between their countries of origin and Germany.
Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel founded the theatre-label Rimini Protokoll in 2000 and have since worked in different constellations under this name. Work by work they have expanded the means of the theatre to create new perspectives on reality. Rimini Protokoll often develop their stage-works, interventions, performative installations and audio plays together with experts who have gained their knowledge and skills beyond the theatre. Furthermore, they like to transpose rooms or social structures into theatrical formats. Many of their works feature interactivity and a playful use of technology.
Hence, Rimini Protokoll declared the “General Assembly” of Daimler stock holders a theatre play or with “Call Cutta” and “Call Cutta in a Box” they set up a transatlantic conversation between a worker in an Indian call-centre and each audience member.
With “100% City” they have created a word-wide ever newly contextualising work, where 100 statistically chosen inhabitants of the city gather on a theatre stage. Their production “World Climate Conference” mirrors the drama of the diplomatic efforts for the protection of the earth's atmosphere at the Schauspielhaus Hamburg. For the multiplayer-video-walk “Situation Rooms” they built a hyperrealistic set in which the 20 audience members follow the tracks of people who's biographies have been shaped by weapons. In “Utopolis” the audience is guided through the city by 48 portable speakers – to set course for shared or contradicting utopias.
The pieces "All right. Good night." (2022), “Chinchilla Arsehole, eyeye” (2020), “Situation Rooms” (2014), “Wallenstein” (2006) and “Deadline” (2004), have been invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen. They also received the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis for “Karl Marx: Das Kapital, Erster Band”, the German theatre award Faust, the Grand Prix Theatre from the Swiss Federal Office for Culture, the European Theatre Award, the Silver Lion at the Theatre Biennale in Venice, as well as the German Audio Play Award and the War Blinded Audio Play Prize.
Since 2003, the production office of Rimini Protokoll is in Berlin.
About the Researcher
Gaurav Singh Nijjer (he/him) is an Indian theatre-maker, creative technologist and arts researcher. He is one-half of the Indian theatre collective Kaivalya Plays. He works with art collectives and institutions across India and Europe in different capacities. His artistic practice spans interactive, improvised and hybrid performances that explore new ways of engaging audiences, in the theatre, at home and otherwise.
He currently lives in Berlin, where he is the lead researcher for the project ‘Hier, Jetzt (Und Dann?)’ investigating hybrid performance formats and audience engagement methodologies as a Bundeskanzlerstipendiat (German Chancellor Fellow) with his host organization, Rimini Protokoll. Additionally, he is a supporting researcher in the project titled ‘Safety in the Performing Arts in India’, which seeks to enquire into the aspects of physical, mental and legal safety and well-being for individual practitioners through a mix of surveys and in-depth case studies. His research focus lies at the intersection of theatre, technology and society, including digital & internet culture, linguistics, data and mediality, among others.
His recent theatre works include Mining Hate (2023), Climateprov (2023), The Amazing Flabby Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales (2022) and Lifeline 99 99 (2021). He graduated with MA in Advanced Theatre Practice (Distinction) at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 202, receiving the prestigious Chevening Scholarship from the UK Government.