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Flussgeschichten |River Stories

Jun - Nov 2023












Glass, water, algae etc.

The water you see in front of you is not from around here. And yet it is part of the same hydrosystem as the Spree. The residents of Raddusch poured it into an aquarium to send it as a message to Berlin. With the help of a traditional Spreewald barge, it was taken on a two-day journey from the natural harbour of Raddusch to Berlin — retracing part of the Spree river — from its source in Saxony to its mouth in the Havel. But the journey and placement of the water raises the question of what it means to transport a section of a land and waterscape to another place. What do you see before you? A symbol? A representation? A part of something bigger? Or something new that has only come into being as a result of the journey?


Ash wood, COB-LEDs, powerbank, metal

A cube of light – nine, stele-like structures rise vertically, narrow on one side, tapering to an elongated paddle blade on the other. These so-called 'Rudel' are traditionally made of ash wood and serve as a means of transport on the water canals and rivers in the Spreewald. For the installation "Hydrophilic artefact for an archaeology of the future", Surreal Labor transformed the 4.20 m long paddles into filigree light objects that can be freely arranged in the room. The recessed light strips not only mark the current water level of Raddusch's natural harbour (2 metres, as of 09/23), but also serve as an elegiac testimony to a present that – in view of the increasing water scarcity and the dwindling level of the Spree – may soon be history.

Julia Ihls & Marius Prost, Surreal Labor


1 x 0,6 m photographs, direct print on Alu Dibond

Looking into a speculative future without water, the two foreign bodies show close-ups of the largest dune in Brandenburg, embedded in the flow of time.

Klemens Czurda


Rope, Deko-Batist natural fabric, recycled wood

Rivers have a subtle quality of communicating with us: through lights, colors, sounds and movements of water. Through them, we reflect, remember and act. However, when we begin to consider the future of rivers, these points of connection are often guided by logics of human-driven engineering and technology and the perspectives of waterways are ignored. We want to venture an experiment: this participatory installation seeks to create spaces for conversations and collaborations with the Spree. Visitors can leave audio, written and drawn messages to the Spree - to gather empathy with the Spree as a non-human actor and better see her as an active stakeholder in the negotiation process for our future…

This participatory installation was created within a collaboration of set designers, anthropologists and science communicators. Three stations cover topics of the everyday, the challenges and the imaginaries for the futures of the Spree. Fabrics, ropes and wood create an atmosphere that emphasizes the subtle voice of the river and invites people to speak with it. All materials also reflect the life around the Spree: the traditional dresses of the Spreewald region in the fabrics, the ropes on the trees mirroring boats held on docks and the wooden games of Slavic communities traced into the interactive character of the installation. Approachable tools, like drawing, writing and recordings, gather the impressions of the visitors and their relationship to the water.   

Camila Ivana Vargas Pardo, Omar Sherif, Desirée Hetzel, Zora Ritz, Patricia Usée, Pauline Münch


A short film with interviews in the Naturhafen Raddusch which highlights the importance of inter and transdisciplinary perspectives - with the Spree in the centre. Listen in to scientists & locals share their connection to the Spree, how we can work together with her, and visions of her future. 

With Desirée Hetzel, Heindriken Dahlmann, Carola von der Dick, Jonas Kuppler, Tobias Krüger, Márk Somogyvári, Hartmut Konzack, edits from Klemens Czurda & Pauline Münch


The film documents the two-day river trip undertaken by a ferryman, a filmmaker, an actor and a scientist in early October from the Spreewald to Berlin. The goal of the trip was to bring the research,the art works  and a tank of water directly from the natural harbor Raddusch to the urban river side venue Holzmarkt 25, Berlin. And all this with the help of the actor which connects both places - the Spree.

In text and image, the film reflects on the possibility of leaving one's human point of view and taking non-human perspectives, a movement we know from myth. What happens when we question the centrality of the human and give space to the multiplicity of non-human actors? We enter the realm of metamorphosis… 

Oliver Rossoll (image), Maximilian Grünewald (text), Steven Lehmann (barge ride), Pauline Münch (organization)



Two different water bodies from the Raddusch area show us the contrasts of underwater life: on the one hand, the quiet green Radduscher Hafen, where we are now standing, and on the other side, the brown Kahnsdorfer Fliess Wasserbehandlungsanlage, where the iron-heavy waters get treated by active photosynthesising plants. These recordings are not edited and were realised using hydrophones (underwater microphones) in August 2023.

Jonas Dahm & Diane Barbé



Encounters –with a Kahnfahrer, a beaver, a Schleusenwerter, an anthropologist– carry us softly through the Oberespreewald on the quiet canals of the Radduscher Hafen, through the engineered waterways and sluices (Schleuse) of the Hauptspree, and dives underwater in the Wasserbehandlungsanlage of Kahnsdorfer Fliess near Schwarze Berg in Raddusch. These four scenes emerge from recordings made in August 2023 on land, aboard a kayak, and in the water with a hydrophone (water microphone). They present a kind of "movie with no images" where the sounds guide us and dive into contemporary questions surrounding the Spreewald.

Jonas Dahm & Diane Barbé



Performance in German language

The giant Sprelnik is not only the namesake of the river Spree, but also a great friend to mankind. But his generosity has its dark side. We tell the old legend in a new guise on the banks of the river...

Far before the scientific method, myths and legends were part of a body of knowledge that stored people's experiences and gave meaning to the world. In these narratives, not only humans have the ability to act, but also rivers, forests and other elements. This expansion to include non-human actors seems fantastic to us today — but it is precisely this view beyond Anthropocentrism (the notion of human superiority) that is worthwhile. Especially at a time when nature reminds us humans in catastrophic ways that not only humans have agency.

Sven Daniel Bühler (music), Maximilian Grünewald (text)




The collective SurrealLabor – consisting of Andreas Hölldorfer, Julia Ihls and Marius Probst – researches and works at the intersection of art, bio-design and digital media. With the question of what visions a society of the future can produce, it simultaneously challenges the boundaries of the status quo through artistic-spatial interventions.



AnthropoScenes connects theatre and science—with water in the spotlight. On stages in Berlin and markets in Brandenburg, artists and researchers experiment with different audiences to debate and develop sustainable water futures. It is embedded within Climate and Water Under Change (CliWaC), an inter and transdisciplinary research consortium studying the effects of climate change on water in Berlin-Brandenburg. Working closely with CliWaC scientists, AnthropoScenes partners with artists across the region. It is funded as an Experimental Laboratory  by the Berlin University Alliance until 2024. 


Maximilian Grünewald 

Maximilian is an actor and freelance dramaturg and received his training at the "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Academy of Music and Theater in Leipzig. This was followed by engagements at the Staatstheater in Karlsruhe and Hanover. In his work he is concerned with human/non-human relations as well as the dramatization of scientific discourses. In 2020, he co-founded the collective ANTHROPOS EX. The collective seeks ways to give a stage to non-human actors, experimenting with methods from theater, film, the visual arts, and the natural sciences. This has led to collaborations with students from the ETH (ZH), the ZHdK (ZH) and the HFG Karlsruhe, among others. In close collaboration with scientists, artists and residents of the Spreewald village Raddusch, Maximilian Grünewald developed the artistic concept of "River Stories".

Oliver Rossol
Oliver was born in Nuremberg in 1987 and works as an award-winning filmmaker, cameraman and video artist. He studied art at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main with Rotraut Pape. Rossol realized video works for Ersan Mondtag at Schauspiel Frankfurt. His long-standing collaboration with director Alexander Eisenach has resulted in productions such as "Anthropos Tyrann (Ödipus )" at the Volksbühne Berlin and "Einer gegen Alle" at the Residenztheater Munich. His feature film debut "Grün ist eine unmenschliche Farbe" with Alexej Lochmann and Lisa Birke Balzer debuted in 2022

Klemens Czurda 

Klemens works with photography and film as medium, focusing on documentary projects and conceptional media installations.  Projects are mostly site specific and revolve around the entanglement of society and its many artifacts and agents. From architecture, science & technology to social structures and remembrance: They embrace the Liminal in all its shapes and forms. From ubiquitous non-places to the 'Yugosphere', our existence in the Anthropocene and our relations in this network. 

Diane Barbé

Combining experimental music, biophonic research and activism, Diane explores human and non-human worlds through sound. Based in Berlin since 2015, she works at the intersection of ecology and music, using field recording as well as electronic and acoustic instruments. Her debut album "a conference of critters", released in October 2022 on the Berlin-based phonography label forms of minutiae, was created exclusively from field recordings collected during the pandemic in Thailand, and plays with the sonic appearance and disappearance of the artist in the recorded sounds. She is currently working on an ensemble of wind instruments, percussion, bird calls, and small sound devices called The Alien Kin, with which she explores the playful and ineffable spaces of communication between species and non-human languages. Diane is committed to an anti-exclusive musical practice and maintains close ties to DIY, feminist, and rural scenes that draw vitality and energy from and feed back into popular culture. She is committed to collaborating with dancers, dreamers, sound makers, image makers, poets, pipers, and all other kinds of creatures.


Camila Ivana Vargas Pardo

Camila is a Colombian artist whose work seeks to establish genuine connections between people through space. She has focused on using the tools of design and performance to create narratives relevant to specific social contexts. She has experience both on and off the stage and has worked in spaces oriented towards diversity, such as the Ramba Zamba Theater, the Gay Museum, and the Mobile Academy in Berlin. Her journey includes co-creation, community engagement, and interdisciplinary knowledge shared through artistic platforms. She enjoys exploring the hobbies of others and has been living in Berlin since 2021.

Omar Sherif

Omar is an interdisciplinary set designer and art director who combines his knowledge of architecture, set design and spatial design to create stunning environments and design harmonious user experiences. Omar has always been passionate about creating spaces and art to convey ideas and statements, and to live out freedom in design to touch the unspeakable

Desirée Hetzel

Desirèe is an Environmental Anthropologist and her work focuses on human-environment relations and incorporates current and future imaginaries for the Berlin-Brandenburg water landscape. She is part of the research consortium CliWaC (Climate and Water under Change), which focuses on water-related challenges in the region (more information go to Desirée Hetzel does ethnographic research in the Spreewald and talks to local resident about their views on water and the environment.

Pauline Münch

Pauline is coordinator of the AnthropoScenes project. With a background in science communication, she is interested in further exploring experimental and collaborative methods which can open discussions about water. Her work is situated at the intersection of artistic and scientific collaboration, as well as knowledge transfer and transdisciplinary research.

Also featuring Jonas Dahm, Sven Bühler, Zora Ritz, Patricia Usée, Steven Lehmann

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