blundering about in the munich arts world

i’ve been living in munich for 5 years; it’s a long time, it’s also a short time. i’ve done a lot in that time, but most of it hasn’t been in munich. my german has improved in that time but i’m nowhere near fluent. i’ve met a lot of people here but i’m still on the edge of the arts community. i’ve been accepted into the künstler sozial versicherung (artists’ health insurance) but it’s difficult for me to initiate and realise arts projects here. i’m trying to change this. i’m blundering into things with my bad german & my crazy ideas, and seeing how the locals respond.

Magdalena München 2015so far, their response is surprisingly good. in the first weekend of june, i organised “magdalena münchen – erstes treffen“, a weekend of activities to introduce the magdalena project to women theatre & performance artists here in munich. i teamed up with performance artist dorothea seror to do it, and we succeeded in getting some financial support from the kulturreferat (the city’s culture department) and from the bezirksausschuß (local council) for this neighbourhood. both required meetings and telephone calls and emails and application forms in german, and while i did not do it alone it was a big learning curve. we had a great turn-out with a lot of interest from local women. it seems like there isn’t enough networking going on.

i’m also learning about just how segregated artforms are in germany – if you’re a performance artist then you’ve studied fine arts and you don’t get to work in theatres, and if you’re a theatre artist you’ve studied theatre and you don’t do performance art. i’m glad that in new zealand our definitions of things are much more fluid and it’s no problem – in fact, it’s fairly necessary – to work interdisciplinarily. you can read all about how the weekend went in my blog post on the magdalena website. (pictured above, doro and i are introducing the event and jill greenhalgh is sitting ready to speak).

inspired by the success of this weekend, i’ve already launched into another local project – with so far less success in the fundraising part, but i’m slowly learning about how these things work here. i’ve arranged a residency for annie abrahams at the villa waldberta in november and december, and we’ll begin work before that on a new collaboration. i have to secure local partners and more funding, which is actually going to be quite tricky as it’s now july and many people go on holiday now until the end of august. but let’s see; we have our concept and some ideas for partners and funders, so i will just have to go forth into munich and do my best.

it’s very challenging – i feel like such an idiot when i speak my terrible german, and i’m impatient – i don’t want to do another course, i just want to wake up tomorrow morning speaking fluent deutsch! but i’m also realistic: i’ve signed up for another course – this one is how to write formally. it starts in a couple of weeks. schau mer mal …