The Presence of the Past - European Cultures of Memory (2012)

Cartographies of the European Past: Nation, Region, Trans-Nation

The third IP-Summer School “Cartographies of the European Past: Nation, Region, Transnation” is dedicated to examining concepts of nationality and related notions such as region and transnation regarding their interdependence with discourses of cultural memory, history and historiography. Taking as its starting point the notion of ‘the presence of the past’, the programme will investigate dramatic, theatrical and performative manifestations and reflections of culture that are invested with issues of national and regional identity. The IP-Summer School offers a wide range of seminars, lectures and workshops as well as evening lectures, film screenings and thematic excursions on the topic of history/historiography and its different modes of representation.


A limited number of places is available to students from the three partner universities, University of Vienna, University of Bern and Trinity College Dublin to attend the Summer School at a discounted rate of 79 Euros. This includes accommodation and lunchtime meals as well as all seminars, workshops, lectures and the reimbursement of up to 90% of the costs of your travel.To download the registration form please click here.  
Students from universities other than Vienna, Bern and Dublin, please contact Annika Wehrle (performedia[at] to receive further information.


Seminar 1: National Past – Transnational Presence? Contemporary Dance from Belgium captures the stages of the world
Christina Thurner (Bern) / Sabine Sörgel (Aberysthwyth)

For around 20 years, international dance and theatre festivals have been showing an eye-catching number of performances of dance or theatre groups from Belgium. How is this phenomenon (also called the „new flemish wave“) to be explained? Historically, aesthetically, topographically, socially, structurally, economically etc.? The seminar will explore, discuss and analyse this phenomenon and aims to understand: who plays which role in this story of success – in the past and in the presence?

Seminar 2: Local Players on Metropolitan Stages
Stefan Hulfeld (Wien) / Friedemann Kreuder (Mainz)

The historical coming-into-being of the present reveals itself in the degree by which metropolitan stages are able to move originally local matters as milieux de mémoire (Nora) into a trans/national perspective. The seminar is dedicated to the Bavarian author Marieluise Fleisser. Bertolt Brecht's staging of her play Pioniere in Ingolstadt – a love story between the rough pioneer Korl and the gentle maid Berta – at the „Theater am Schiffbauerdamm“ on 30 March 1929 caused a scandal among the audience because of its „restriction of the thematic circle“ and its lacking contemporaneity, according to the legendary critic Herbert Jhering. On the contrary, the thematically equally autochtonous folk play Der fröhliche Weinberg by the Rhine-Hessian author Carl Zuckmayer – a romantic comedy about Jean Baptiste Gunderloch, the owner of a vinyard, and his illegitimate daughter Klärchen – had been enjoying triumphant success among the Berlin audience on the same stage on 22 December 1925. This was primarily due to the audience's weariness of the „unrestrained literary bullshit“ of contemporary redemption drama, as Alfred Kerr, the famous adversary of Herbert Jhering in the field of theatre critique, noted. The seminar investigates the conditions for the (non)recognisability of both authors in the collective memory of a metropolitan world, which in both cases is also displayed by biographical dynamics.

Seminar 3:Conjuring up the Past: Landscapes, Monuments and Scenes of Memory
Steve Wilmer (Dublin) / Julia Stenzel (Mainz)

The presence of the past has indisputably a spatial dimension: Our environment is filled with places that refer to history or our individual past. And yet, these places bear a different relation to the past: While some of them are cherished places, held in high esteem, others gain their importance because of the ‘documentary quality’ and a third category is related through programmatic and artificial stagings of the past. The seminar will discuss these varied forms of spaces and the process of their gaining cultural meaning through all kinds of performative practices.

Seminar 4: Cooking, Theatre and Taste. Creating Transnational Identities.
Julia Danielczyk (Wien) / Birgit Peter (Wien)

Comic practices of figures like Jack Pudding, Jean Macceroni, Pickelhäring or Hannswurst enclose configurations of taste. The predominant comprehension of theatre as literary art has buried this former tradition of acting and its implicit transgressing structure. Simultaneously, literary theatre defined allegedly a new and “better” taste. However, our seminar will focus on comic traditions by taking into account both historical sources and meals/dishes or recipes. As for instance, Carl Friedrich Flögel in his Geschichte des Groteske-Komischen (1788; History of the grotesque-comical) signified an early collection of “Hanswurstiaden” as “Olla Podria”, which is the well-known name of the Spanish “national meal”. Flögel’s lapsus linguae (in fact the collection was called Ollapatrida) will be our point of departure in order to study the relation between the act of cooking and eating as well as the creation of national cookbooks and the creation of national “Lustigmacher”. 

Workshop 1: Playing With the Rules: A Studio Exploration of the Trickster Spirit
Eric Weitz (Dublin)

This workshop will seek to engage at a practical level with various threads associated with the Trickster figure, as it appears in myth, folk tale and drama across culture and time. Although this character shares traits with the clown and fool in western drama, there are a number of distinctive approaches to improvisation and short-form devising to be used as interesting (and amusing) prompts in the name of a Trickster spirit. Operating from a basis of the shared, unspoken thought and feeling mined by humorous utterance, this spirit appears to play along the fault lines beneath a given culture’s ‘rulebook’ for approved, tolerated and forbidden behaviours. The workshop will attempt to explore embodiments for this spirit through several different approaches.

Workshop 2: Cartographies of Power: a physical exploration of the city/body interface
Aoife McGrath (Dublin)

Cities have always been important sites for staging the body politic. In this series of physical workshops, participants will explore the relationship between the socio-political structure of cities and the movement of the bodies that inhabit them. How do the cartographies of power that are embedded in the cityscape affect how people interact with and “see” each other? How have “movements” of change been staged by bodies in cities? These questions will be explored using a combination of physical theatre, dance theatre and devising techniques. Participants should wear loose comfortable clothing that is easy to move in. No previous movement/dance experience is required.

Workshop 3: „Lasst den Faden nicht abreißen. Denn solange wir noch Geschichten erzählen, 
leben wir.“ - Geschichte und Geschichten auf der Bühne.

(Please note that this workshop will be held in German)

Andrea Koschwitz (Dramaturgin, Berlin)

Günter Grass „Blechtrommel“, Herta Müllers „Herztier“ und Ernst Lubitschs „Sein oder Nichtsein“ bilden den Ausgangspunkt für einen Dramaturgisch-praktischen Workshop zu Bühnenadaptionen nicht-dramatischer Werke in aktuellen Inszenierungen. An praktischen Beispielen und mit konkreten dramaturgischen Übungen werden unterschiedliche Technik und Methoden der Bühnenadoption von Filmen und Romanen vorgestellt, die sich mit dem zeitgenössischen Erzählen von historischen Ereignissen, literarischen Biographien und gesamtgesellschaftlichen Prozessen auseinandersetzen.


Workshop 4: ALLE SOLLEN MICH SEHEN! - Vom Wort zum Bild, von Beschreibung zur Darstellung: Adaption von Roman, Novelle und Drehbuch im zeitgenössischen Theater -  
(please note that this workshop will be held in German) 

Boris C. Motzki 

Auf welche Weise werden Stoffe aus anderen Medien im zeitgenössischen, deutschsprachigen Theater adaptiert? Dieser Frage geht der zweitägige Workshop des Regisseurs Boris C. Motzki nach. Zunächst soll grundlegend erarbeitet werden, welche Arten von Adaptionen es geben kann. Nach dieser allgemeinen Klärung werden anhand einer Auswahl eigener Arbeiten verschiedene Formen von (im weitesten Sinne: Literatur-)Adaptionen vorgestellt. So werden u.a. die Adaption des Romans HAUSAUFGABEN von Jakob Arjouni, der Novellen LEUTNANT GUSTL und FRÄULEIN ELSE nach Arthur Schnitzler und die Bearbeitung FELLINI PARADISO nach einem unverfilmten Drehbuch von Federico Fellini präsentiert und diskutiert. Abschließend soll ein Ausblick auf die Adaptionsmöglichkeiten durch und von anderen Medien wie z.B. Kinderbuch, Graphic Novel u.ä. gestellt werden und der Frage nach der in den letzten Jahren immer größer gewordenen Beliebtheit von Adaptionen nachgegangen werden. Der Großteil des Workshops aber liegt im praktischen Erarbeiten von Adaptionstechniken und -dramaturgien - so sollen Romanauszüge, Szenen aus Drehbüchern u.ä, von den Teilnehmern selbst dramatisiert und die angewendeten Mittel analysiert werden.

Supporting Programme

The seminars and workshops will be framed by an extensive supporting programme. An evening lecture series, presentation panels for doctoral students and a themed cultural programme that includes excursions are complementing the working process. The aim is to establish a tight network on both an academic as well as on a social level which will serve as a basis on which to continue research projects such as the IP far into the future.