Frauke Surmann

Empty scores.
Cross-border tactics of theatrical intervention.

This research project is dedicated to contemporary artistic practices in public space whose political relevance lies in their potential to create (and make perceivable) difference in the face of the experience of an increasing disempowerment expressed by social, economic and political determination. Public space is understood as the realm of everyday human experience as it is defined by particular sign systems, behavioral regulations and mechanisms of interpretation. Each specific condition of this realm implies a certain conception of community essentially deriving from a particular distribution of inclusions and exclusions.

The research project rests on the hypothesis that new possibility spaces of critique and dissens within this public space emerge when its everyday regularity is temporarily broken down, shifted, and thereby traced to its essential plasticity by directed artistic action. The analysis focuses on artistic practices which appear as subversive interferences, ruptures, and breaches within unmediated perceptual and/or mediated communicative processes whereby (re)structuring and questioning those processes in their functionality.

Withal their political potential is not solely limited to the critique of the privatization of public space and the idea of community it implies in the sense of an audio-visual questioning of social, economic and political regimes. In their particular performative enactment the aesthetic interventions furthermore do not acknowledge the limitations determined by these regimes and performatively subject them to a cross-border negotiation.

This research project aims to fathom and historicize the strategies of production and performance underlying the aesthetic intervention on the basis of exemplarily selected works. For that purpose a qualitative inductive research approach is proceeded, which enables for the completion of an empirical analysis by philosophical, cultural, sociological and ethnological research perspectives. Additionally this project intends to contribute to an interdisciplinary conceptualization which appears inevitably necessary for any further scientific investigation of the relation of art and politics.

Lectures and Panel discussions


„Playing the City - From Flashmobs to Missions“, „Social Aesthetics“ Joint Symposium, Goldsmiths College, London, 03.03.2010.

„The Politics of Music. Passages from a representative regime of the art to an aesthetic regime of the arts.“, „Klang in der Lebenswelt. Vom avantgardistischen Diskurs über das soziale Interventionspotential von Musik und Klangkunst“ Workshop with Prof. Dr. Søren Møller Sørensen, Internationales Graduiertenkolleg InterArt, Berlin, 11.06.2010.

„No Fun - A virtual simulation of inescapable tragedy“, „Panic and Mourning. First Graduate Conference in Cultural Studies.“, CECC – Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Lissabon, 29.10.2010.


„THE TORTURE OF THE NOW. The Body as Scene of collective Jurisdiction in contemporary Russian Performance Art“, „NOW, Legacies and Amnesia“, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 18.02.2011.

„More than at any previous time in history, we are continually engaged in the simultaneous living/authoring and reporting/critiquing of our lives. To what extent does the click-here label culture of the internet, social media, and 24-hour blogging prescribe rather than describe the present moment?“, Panel Discussion, „NOW, Legacies and Amnesia“, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 19.02.2011. (on invitation)

„Appetizer. Kulinarische Interventionen im New Yorker Untergrund“, „Vom Dazwischen: Subversion, Intervention und die Installation“, MS Dockville Kunstcamp, Hamburg, 05.08.2011. (on invitation)

Workshop and Symposia organisation

„NOW“, Workshop with the Drama Department Goldsmiths, University of London, Internationales Graduiertenkolleg InterArt, Berlin, 07.-08.05.2010 (Co-Organisation).

„Humanities Un-Plugged“, Joint Symposium, Internationales Graduiertenkolleg InterArt, Berlin, 11. – 13.11.2010 (Co-Organisation).

Panel organisation

„Wo die Freundschaft aufhört. Zwischen Remix und Plagiat.“, Ringvorlesung „Freundschaft“, SoSe 2011, Internationales Graduiertenkolleg InterArt, Berlin, 12.05.2011.

List of publications

„Mourning over the Loss of Tragedy in Contemporary Performance Art: A Case Study“, Hrsg. v.CECC – Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Lissabon, expected date of appearance: Autumn 2011.



Personal Details

Contact: fruehlingsfrauke[at]


Master of Arts in Theatre Studies and Musicology at Freien Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität Berlin


Erasmus-Scholar at Université Paris 8, Saint-Denis


DAAD-Scholar at Helsinki Summer School: Introduction to Arts Management

Since 2009

Doctoral Fellow at the International Research Training Group "Interart Studies" granted by Dahlem Research School.


Since 2009

Editor of „Spuren der Avantgarde: Theatrum Anatomicum“ Ed. Helmar Schramm, Ludger Schwarte, Jan Lazardzig. Walter de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin, New York.


Student Assistant at the Department of Theater Studies of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Helmar Schramm


Various internships in the fields of artist management, production and PR at spielzeit’europa/Berliner Festspiele, morgen music management, Neuköllner Oper, Komische Oper and Podewil – Zentrum für aktuelle Künste.


Since 2009

Trainee at Elisabeth-Hospiz Berlin


Reading assistant for elementary school students at Feldmark-Grundschule Berlin, Hohenschönhausen

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