February 20th 2021
That's all folks- we are done! Our multimedia installation "Good night" is ready to go. PRAGMATA is a proud parent of one more project. And it feels amazing and weird at the same time. We had to empty our space, which has been our home for the last 3,5 months and say goodbye. We had to transport all of our stuff to many different places. We had to fit all our three projects in a rather dystopian storage place of 6m2. We don't know when our premiere is going to take place. And yet, the fact that we are done is very fulfilling.
And now I am back in the existential black hole, the one that I know really well. It is where I land after finishing every intensive project. This time it feels different though. This time I knew it and I have been preparing myself for a while. This time I allow myself to be here. I don't resist. I know exactly what I need. This time I can take much better care of myself. It is exciting and moving and I am deeply grateful about all the magic that happens in my life.
January 24th 2021
Today I am this swan. This picture describes quite precisely my situation. I am in the water and I have to swim in order to float. The water is freezing. I am swimming non-stop. And yet, all I want is to hide away for a bit. Just for a little bit. I want to have a little break from the world and enjoy some silence. I pretend to be this swan for a little while. Then I can return to be myself again.
December 27th 2020
Only some days are left from this year which, I have the feeling, everyone wants to get rid of. It has been undoubtedly hard and challenging in many ways also for me. But it has also given us, PRAGMATA, the opportunity to realise this new production, Gute Nacht, which has been a very urgent dream for a long time. So I am also very very grateful about this. It is a little bit funny when I think that I have an idea coming to my head and then the city of Berlin is giving me money to realise it. It is like a children's game. I love it. The process we are going through as an artistic collective right now is also not the easiest. But. We are definitely an amazing team which can face difficulties, riddles, stressful situations and nevertheless be together and care for each other. This is a quality I really appreciate in our togetherness. And we also have a bunch of loving people supporting our process and our work. We don't know if the premiere is going to take place in February- it is all very vague at the moment. And yet, we are determined, we work hard every single day, as if it would be sure.
November 13th 2020
Stop and go.
The pandemic is here to teach me to be in the here and now. This is the third time that I have to be in quarantine since October. The third time that I have to get tested. The third time that I have to isolate myself from the world, disinfect every time I go to the kitchen, have physical contact only with my plants.
In the meantime: our project with PRAGMATA has started and we have found the best place to realise it. I am extremely excited to dive into the work after a very intensive week in the new space. No idea when I can go back there. But I see the whole stop and go as a chance to reflect and grow. So I try to embrace and welcome it. I trust, everything is going to be done on the right time.
Here is a first hybrid which is not going to make it to the final thing, but still, it is the first error and it has a great value for me.
July 31st 2020
A couple of weeks ago I re-read the book "Extremely loud and incredibly close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. There is this couple in the book who live together and have invented these so-called "nothing places" in their home. These are designated zones which make you invisible when you enter them, so you can do or be whatever you want in there. I immediately felt the urge for a "nothing place" for myself. Here I am now. And it is beautiful. And I have a a very clear plan:
This whole pandemic time has been very challenging for me. Change, instability, collective fear, major shifts in my personal life. It feels like being on a train which runs fast. I am looking out of the window one landscape after the other. It is a lot of information and I need time and space to digest. So I made the time for myself and I found a beautiful space. This one.
I am really struggling at the moment to be in here and now. I find it hard not to be in before and after. There are a lot of things which should be decided and I feel, I cannot decide if the ground under my feet is not stable enough. Firstly I have to let my feet feel the ground and then the decisions are going to come by themselves.
3. Get inspired
I get inspired by "nothing places". My favorite ones are the ones with very little stimulation. One of my favorites is in south Crete and only has three colours: sea, rocks and sand. The "nothing place" I am at the moment also has three colours: trees, earth and sky. Being in such places, I can unravel all the little ideas dancing in my head and let them finde their space outside of me. At the moment there is a lot of inspiration. I am intensively working on my book and it is very emotional and makes me happy.
I am really grateful that I have the privilege to take this break for me in a "nothing place", relax and work on the things that move me. Oh yes.
May 7th 2020
We didn't play ver-rückt, our experimental children's performance. But the theater has published secret music tracks, which did not make it to the performance. Have a look:
Foto: Jara López Ballonga
May 1st 2020
I know I have used this picture before, but it is one of my favorites. It also reminds me of the crazily creative day I spent with Fil in this absurd place a bit outside Berlin couple of years ago. I have realised, this break has given me a lot of time to rethink and redifine. So here my next project, which is going to accompany me for the next years. A big thank you to Eirini for the support, inspiration and motivation. Here it is:
Looking for people who have changed their names for a book project.
This is a book project that explores the transition experienced by people who have changed their name. I am interested in exploring the reasons behind such a decision, the social pressures that you may have experienced, the kinds of support received, and the diverse journeys you may have undertaken. My goal is to create an archive of different stories, a community of people with different motivations but the same goal, and finally a tool for people to understand what undertaking such a mission might entail.
I would like to interview people of diverse backgrounds/biographies who have changed their name or are in a process of doing so. If you are interested, please send me a short text (half A4 page is enough, but you can write more if you wish), telling me a little about yourself and your story. You can write me in English, German or Greek.
About me: I changed my name almost a year ago and this has had a huge positive impact on my life and identity. This has not been an easy path for me and it is still hard sometimes. As such, I would love to connect with people with similar experiences, gather their stories and share these with the world. This could be an empowering project for lots of people out there undergoing a change or considering doing so.
Please write me to firstname.lastname@example.org using “This is my name” as a subject.
Feel free to forward this to people who might be interested.
Looking forward to your stories!
Foto: Fil Ieropoulos
March 17th 2020
This is a very special time. A time when everyone is interested in the same subject. A time where we are forced to be in the here and now. A time when we spend a lot of time alone, but we are all together in this. This crisis is a dangerous opportunity, my friend Birds said yesterday. An opportunity to re-evaluate, what is important to us and what is not important. An opportunity to declutter feelings, thoughts, actions, routines. Or just the drawer with the tupperware. An opportunity to create space for something new.
By the way something new: three weeks ago I created an instagram account, where I post a sketch every day. You can follow me here: @alphakar. Looking forward to digital friends, with or without quarantine.
11th of March 2020
Three days of TUSCH Festival starting today in Podewil. We (PRAGMATA, Sophie Bartels und Franziska Burnay Pereira) supported the cool kids of the Bötzow Elementary School to create an installation. Five suitcases, favorite objects which recall early memories, a sandbox and other surprises.
More info here.
Goodbye for now.
Foto: Franziska Burnay Pereira
27th of February 2020
So there is this amazing review by Barbara Fuchs on tip magazine about our childrens' theater production "ver-rückt" in the Schaubude Berlin. The title says : "everything is possible". And basically, it is. At least I think so. If not really everything, still a lot. I can be a caterpillar and then transform to a machine and then disappear and come back again out of a cocoon. This has nothing to do with the things written in the review, but as you cannot read German, I assume, I can just write about the things that plopp into my mind now. And maybe it is boring or irrelevant and maybe noone reads this. (If you do read until here, send me a message with the word "macaroni". Yes, it is stolen from the amazing Miranda July). And if you think all this is irrelevant, please note that this is my private space and here I am allowed to play like a kid. This is fun. At least, I think so.
January 25th 2020
This is not about me. It is about a person, who has been there all the time, accompanying me, teaching me, supporting me, allowing me to support them. It is about the person I cannot imagine my life without. It is about a person, who is going their own way since I can remember. A person who I am deeply proud of, even if they don't get such an amazing review like this here. It is about my sister. And, of course, I know she is amazing, but I am also deeply touched, when I read other people say that "she sings like a wound throbs". Because I also feel the same way. Because I am completely inspired about how personal her work is and how she is not afraid to show off her scars.
Foto: Maurizio Martorana
December 16th 2019
Last week I almost lost my ear.
The story starts with a persistent otitis and ends with lots and lots of cortisone, sleepless nights and valerian. It is called acute hear loss- not a very charming name, I would say. I didn’t know that loosing a sensory organ would be that easy and I am highly impressed by how strong and how fragile our body is at the same time. Now I am starting to hear again and I am really grateful about all the small sounds that I missed for more than a week.
This is what I wrote on the first cortisone high:
When I lost my ear
It felt very silent
And very loud
I am thinking about letting my hair grow
So they cover the hearing device- in case I need one
I am thinking of myself as a new Frida Kahlo
I loose something and become a great artist
A loss and a coincidence
I am thinking of myself as an activist
I am going to create a strong community with other people
Who have lost their ears
We are going to become strong and visible
The world is going to adapt to our needs and wishes
I am thinking of myself as a lot of great things
While lying in bed
Trying to avoid thinking about the side-effects of cortisone.
November 3rd 2019
The premiere is over.
The post-premiere-blackhole is there.
But it is ok.
Here a beautiful text by Verena Lobert- thank you!
Foto: Jara López Ballonga
August 17th 2019
Back from my vacation I landed on a double final spurt: our festival Klang der Dinge (The Sound of Things) is getting closer and the production “Ver-rückt” where I make sound and perform on stage, is beginning the last intensive rehearsal phase. I am very happy, as the next few weeks are going to be very intensive, full of things I love.
I am looking forward to singing vegetables, crackling discoveries, sounding machines, self-made instruments, and onomatopoeia at Klang der Dinge (stolen from our programme notes). I am also happy to meet the artists in person, to work intensively for four days, to be a part of a really nice festival team. I am excited about listening to the sound of the objects. Finally. And all these in almost three weeks.
I am also really looking forward to the string instrument I am constructing and the sounds I discover everyday, the sound collages with broken sounds in between old melodies, the real insect sounds taken from the Animal Sound Archive of the Natural History Museum, which I am going to combine with machine sounds, hanging from the ceiling and -of course- our daily workout during rehearsals! Yes.
June 24th 2019
Our festival KLANG DER DINGE/THE SOUND OF THINGS is online!
I am really honoured to be the co-curator (together with Tim Sandweg and Felix Koch) of KLANG DER DINGE/THE SOUND OF THINGS festival, where experimental music, object theater, sound art and performance come together.
The festival takes place from the 5th to the 8th of September 2019- save the date and come round! All infos here.
The picture is taken after a concert of the vegetable orchestra, an ensemble playing with instruments completely made from vegetables. They play on my birthday- what a coincidence!
April 28th 2019
"In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would be like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Yet if I try to imagine this, I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task.
Does it make sense, in other words, to ask what my experiences are really like, as opposed to how they appear to me?"
What Is It Like to Be A Bat? by Thomas Nagel (1974)
March 26th 2019
Did I write about Prague? The Theater Machine and PRAGMATA had their first international festival last month: the Mala Inventura festival. We performed as a part of PRALIN (Prague and Berlin) and had some very intensive days, nice encounters, a genius performance, am amazing fancy-dressed-party, an evening full of curiosities and many many interviews.
One of them here, which I cannot understand.
Or is it maybe an article?
March 16th 2019
Our Things Left Behind start their journey!
Seven light bulbs are ready to pack their suitcases
and travel through the world in order to tell people stories
about endings and new beginnings
a big thank you to all lovely people who made this come true
thank you Künstlerdorf Schöppingen for supporting this project
thank you Alisa, Birds, Eirini for your texts
thank you Askin, E., Frank for your stories
thank you Frieda, Martin, Manu, Sarah, William for your voices
thank you Richard for the still and moving pictures
thank you Ines for your nails
thank you Basti for not loosing your trust, that we are going to make it
February 27th 2019
Time is running fast
come round to the Rue Bunte
and sing with us some old songs
about tough and crazy women
bring old and new friends
and celebrate with us
that we still have this space
for some more months
find the lamps
hidden in the garden
and be part of the stories
of the things that people
September 30th 2018
Back from long travels, everything is the same but new.
Indonesia was crazy. I survived an earthquake, ate extraordinary fruits, saw the amazing life under the water, visited volcanoes,worked in upcycling projects, had deep talks with strangers who became friends.
PRAGMATA met Teater Garasi in Yogyakarta, a group of inspiring people who make political theatre and performance, organise noise concerts and more. We had an artists’ talk about our work followed by a long and challenging discussion with the audience.
Tante & Tante went all the way to Saint Junien in France for the Champ Libres Festival. We presented All the voices to the the french audience, the piece that was nominated for the prize at BE Festival a year ago. We stayed next to the river, ate lots of baguettes, played ping pong, rehearsed in a completely yellow room in a place called blue star, learned some French for the show and played under surtitles for the first time.
Back in Germany, I found the Queer & Süchtig edition with my fish & chips story in it. Published by Queer Trash Distro, it is a collection of texts/artworks by queer and trans people that have to do with addiction.
Now I am wondering about how does Antarktis sound, as am going to compose music for a theatre piece, which deals with the Shakleton expedition to the south pole and also with the plastic rubbish in our seas. I am very happy about the upcoming errorista party, where I am going to exhibit my Sprachfehler (language mistakes) and also create a new installation. I got a shruti box as a birthday present, how amazing is this?
March 15th 2018
It is time to celebrate! Our Theater Machine (Theaterautomat) performed for the 250th time! This happened last week during the festival Wir sind die Zukunft in the Schaubude in Berlin. Brian, our 250th audience member, let us use his picture (it's all consensual here) to say thank you to all the people who has supported us these 1,5 years. So. Thank you :)
January 22nd 2018
Yes, I am pretty excited. And happy. And nervous. And restless. And all at the same time and some more. My zine “35 days with my belly” is now out and you can find it here.
I have to admit that I am really moved by the fact that queer trash distro has released my first zine, as I really like the aesthetics, topics, politics and diy character of their zines. If you don’t know queer trash distro, and you are curious, have a look here.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported this project, especially to Simo, Eirini, Basti, Polyxeni, Franky, Danai, Felix and Margret.
December 12th 2017
The year is almost over.
A text of mine about huge king prawns and body image will be on the radio tonight! At 19h on 88.4fm. Thanks to Women Writing Lab.
Another premiere, this time in Indonesia: my saw and violin music in the documentary "All is forgiven for we have been happy" about the poet Leon Agusta. Made by Katia Engel, Paul Agusta and Faozan Rizal. That's also where the image comes from. Here the trailer.
October 29th 2017
Last month has been busy.
I improvised music live for Impro-visionen in the SCHAUBUDE
our film Shut up! was selected by a festival in the netherlands
I have been preparing a zine, which is on its way to the world
I played in Fritz-Wortelmann-Preis with the Theaterautomat
my text was published on women writing Berlin lab
I renovated a room in 10 days
I worked in a theater piece that I had been part of 9 years ago
I worked for a small publishing company
I went to the theater, to the cinema, to a big party
I celebrated the birthdays of 2 lovely people
I read an amazing book by Melissa Broder
I have been working on a friend's website
I spend a very intensive time with 2 friends.
I traveled to Colone and Bochum and back to Berlin.
Now I feel a bit like this.
August 31st 2017
As I try to update this site so that it looks ok on smart phones, I am re-reading my texts of this blog. And I have just realized, I am describing everything in a very common way: big experiences, new places, lovely people, great shows. Happiness. The people who don't know me would think I am the happiest person on the planet. Well, I am not. It is not a lie what I am writing, but still, I am not. And I thought it is also good to write once when I am not that happy. Maybe it is also cool to write, that it took me five hours only to update the blog page, so that it looks ok on a smart phone. I am not even sure if someone reads this shit, but it is still important for me that it looks ok on a smart phone. Not because I am passionate about smart phones. In fact, I hate smart phones. But because I am a perfectionist. And it is exactly for this reason, I am writing today. Because I am a perfectionist but not perfect at all. Here I am in the middle of the night writing instead of going to bed. Good night.
picture: Ann Hamilton
July 13th 2017
BE Festival was once more a big new experience.
Tante & Tante worked for the very first time with an external person.
This was the greatest DANIEL GOLDMAN!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And we won an award: the Champ Libre Award.
This means, we have to pack our suitcases and go aaaaall the way to France for a 2-week residency and a performance in the international Champ Libre Festival!
Apart from that
I made some new friends
met some old friends
attended great workshops
saw a new perspective of the city with Ben Waddington
and did some acrobatics and animal dancing with Quim Girón
I saw a lot of good performances
I had sleepless nights
and long intensive days.
Now, back home again, I am very busy digesting all these.
June 20th 2017
PAF is over.
2 hot days in the technical room of Sophiensaele
32 people in our theatre machine
7 bottles of sparkling water
5 grilled king prawns
1 traffic jam
and one nice article
thank you. it was great.
June 8th 2017
I have just discovered a documentation of the festival Babel im Park I took part a couple of weeks ago in Hildesheim. Thank you everyone for a great time!
Here the video by Robert Opermann.
April 17th 2017
Tante & Tante are trying to float together again
like on the photo taken almost 25 years ago
preparing our new piece for BE Festival
is an invaluable experience
keep being together
and being apart
facing the camera with distrust
and with the security
that even if the world falls apart
they will still float together
November 21st 2016
We did it! And got some very good feedback!
PRAGMATA's first big project is there!
Some extracts of the reviews here:
The Theatre Machine is a beautiful performance that goes a step further: there are no performers, no people on stage, there are just mechanical devices. (…)
A form of mechanical theatre (…) that asks a question about the role of people in an environment full of robots.
Holger Zimmer, RBB Kulturradio, Saturday 29.10.2016 | 08:10
In the magical Theatre Machine of PRAGMATA (…) you dive with the head inside a miniature stage. (…) During the performance you ask yourself while shivering what is going to happen in the autonomous house where the digital assistants are going to take over.
Tom Mustroph, Neues Deutschland, Berlin 2016-November-1st, p.14
© Maria Agiomyriannaki
15th of August 2015
We made it!
Me and Sebastian Schlemmiger have been thinking about this project for a long time and now it came to reality: our Hör-Buch!
When you see it in the bookcase, you think it is a normal book, but when you open it you can rest your head on a soft pillow and listen to stories. (Well. We have built speakers inside, but it is actually a secret.) There is also a USB port, through which you can load more stories or music or even charge it if the battery is low.
Thanks a lot to our friend Maria Agiomyrgiannaki for the great pictures!
30th of June 2015
A bit before my real summer begins, a nice surprise arrived: a review about my album. As you could possibly expect, it is written in a language that many of my friends don't understand. That's why, here a translation of bits and pieces:
"frank, sober and revealing"
"immediate and accessible"
"a form that consists in stripping down the sound by drawing on the psychology of play"
(Fontas Troussas, lifo)
and some links:
the music videos
1st of April 2015
My first solo album is out now!
I am excited, happy, anxious, grateful, relieved and so much more.
You can listen to it online or download it for free
or you can even buy a limited handmade edition, here:
DoDo, electric appliances & other animals
you can also find all lyrics in english and german.
ps. and don't forget this
(DoDo is going to be there)
22nd of February 2015
tante und tante are very happy having performed in chisenhale
many friends from different countries came and watched
their absurd domestic drama
and they booked a new show- they are going to perform in athens in april
now they pack their suitcases full with plaid toothbrushes
and paper stomachs
working like crazy for the production of DoDo's
first music album
frist long music video
first handmade CD
first do-it-all-yourself-but-really-yourself production
why should DoDo do all these first things right now?
it is a bit exhausting
performing for the video for the production of kafka fragments in athens
organising a soli performance in berlin on the 21.3. - save the date!
breathing in between
some facts in march:
soli performative concert/ musical performance in the rue bunte
Fytini, the album will be released
TEΤΡΑΠΑΚ live for the first time
some facts in april:
all my projects meet in athens in sound acts:
tante und tante, oiseaux bizzares, DoDo
DoDo album will be released!
15th of December 2014
Dear friends in Athens,
you have plans on Saturday!
Because I am sure you don't want to miss the following:
a presentation of a book of a great friend and artist
a film by my sister
a film by a friend, where I take part
a night full of suprises
more infos (in greek) here
4th of September 2014
This summer is over.
This summer I was a happy bear.
This summer I danced in isolated places.
And sang. And played the violin. For my friends "Ta troktika".
This is their song "intestines' little summer".
6th of July 2014
This week I had a mysterious guest.
We rode bikes without breaks,
we painted a room white,
we went to an experimental concert and fall asleep,
we ate a spaghetti called noodles,
we made two auntie-videos.
You can find them here, if you are curious enough:
Tombola und Tante
that's all folks.
Here is some unsorted information about me:
I like making small animals out of paper.
I like hoodies, jumping up and down, flirting with different sounds.
I like doing many things at the same time.
I like doing nothing for a long time.
I like yellow food.
I like complaining about the weather.
I like touching the forbidden things in the museum.
I like cheesecake.
I like coincidences.
I like nonsense.
Now you know me a bit better. Or you think so.
© Ulrike Mayrhuber