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German Federal Cultural Foundation Funds Joint Project Between Staatstheater Karlsruhe and Ethnologisches Museum

Museum Europäischer Kulturen

A new blueprint for collaborations between museums and theatres. A joint project between the Staatstheater Karlsruhe and the Ethnologisches Museum of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is one of 15 from around Germany to receive funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation as part of its new Digital Fund. 

De-Linking Sounds: A Transcultural and Media Platform

The general manager of the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Peter Spuhler, can hardly conceal his excitement: “we are so happy about this funding for De-Linking Sounds: A Transcultural and Media Platform, our unique project connecting theatre and museum, digitality and an interrogation of colonial legacies, past and future. In our project with the Berlin Ethnologisches Museum, which also represents a contribution to the current interrogation of the legacies of colonialism taking place across Germany, we investigate colonial structures online and develop a digital platform on the topic. We are looking forward to four years of ground-breaking projects and transmedia and transcultural artistic production, such as the participatory chamber opera commissioned from the Jewish-Hungarian composer Georg Hajdu, which is composed with the help of algorithms.

Since 2016, we have been opening up the Staatstheater through the international series Opera and Media Art and through other artistic projects on digital culture, and on 25 January 2020, coinciding with our premiere of Turandot, we will be holding the Opera and Media Art Symposium at the ZKM Karlsruhe, at which international artists and theatre-makers will discuss the links between opera and media art, the challenges and opportunities presented by the digitalisation of the arts, as well as their own artistic practices. With De-Linking Sounds: A Transcultural and Media Platform, we will be able to significantly expand upon our experience in the field of transculturalism. It is important to us that art incorporates the perspectives of all groups in society and is accessible to all, and our project aims to promote this objective.”

The Connection Between Theatre and Museum

Lars-Christian Koch, Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst is likewise delighted about the funding provided to this pioneering project, and about the collaboration more generally. “The thing that makes this project particularly fascinating and distinguishes it from the other projects funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation’s Digital Fund in particular is the connection between theatre and museum, and the way it brings together institutions from two completely different disciplines.

To this end, Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum is making available its Phonogramm-Archiv, which constitutes one of the most important collections of traditional music in the world. With more than 150,000 largely historical recordings, it provides a unique resource on which the project and participating artists are able to draw. In addition to the recordings, the archive will also be contributing its global network and experienced employees. What’s more, in the near future, the archive will be moving into the Humboldt Forum, whose profile will help to promote the planned digital platform.