Art After All? – Commoning Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz / Berlin
Dust to Glitter (Staub zu Glitzer): Cecilia Hussinger, Falk Lörcher, Kasia Wojcik, Sarah Waterfeld
The German state-theater is in crisis: scandals of misuse of power, declining attendance, attempts at delegitimization from the Far Right. The discrepancy between emancipatory claims on stage and democratic deficits behind the curtain is unmistakable. Diversity management, leadership collectives or gender quotas do not change anything about the core problem, the hermetic and strictly hierarchical theater structures. Although these publicly funded institutions are supposed to be there for everyone, access remains denied to many. However, theaters could be more than bourgeois entertainment venues – meeting places for tenants initiatives, refugee support or labor struggles, for example. The queerfeminist collective Staub zu Glitzer and its network have been working for 6 years to open up the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, formerly a left-wing workers’ theater, to the broader urban society. The goals of the collective are anarcho-syndicalist self-organization, radical democratization and commoning of the Volksbühne – in other words, the creation and organization according to the needs of the people from “below”. In the meantime, there have been official negotiations with representatives of the theater regarding the long-standing demands of the collective, but these have failed. The logical consequence: Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz must be occupied again!
Staub zu Glitzer is aiming to connect to different international self-organized institutions, that are negotiating the cultural commons, cultural places organized by communities under democratic principles of participation beyond market logic and bourgeois exclusivity. In Athens, invited by Avtonomi Akadimia, the collective wants to broaden the conversation around the commoning of cultural institutions, and introduce their transmedial concept to local artists, academics, activists and engaged citizens. The collective wants to connect to local struggles, situating their activism right in the center of Akadimia Platonos, supporting the fight for it to be a community space for all.
Staub zu Glitzer is a queerfeminist collective from Berlin. They work at the intersection of art and activism and occupied Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, formerly a left-wing workers’ theater, in 2017 as part of the transmedial theater production B6112. B6112 is on the one hand an activist intervention, on the other hand an eminent large-scale work of art and creates new standards of immersion between fiction and reality. Its aims are the radical democratization and commoning of the Volksbühne under the premises of anti-racism, queerfeminism, and anticapitalism. In addition, Staub zu Glitzer regularly (co-)organizes large city-political networking events, for example the 4-month-occupation of the container ship “Freibeuter” at Rummelsburger Bucht, and is a member of several leftist alliances like the “Alliance against Homelessness”. In February 2023, they announced the re-occupation of Volksbühne with a large Squatchain-Campaign. In March 2023, they were invited by the Institute of Radical Imagination to participate in the event “Art Occupations & the City as Cultural Common” in Bologna.