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Bernhard Herbordt


Interweaving Performance Cultures


Theatre practitioners Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt both graduated from the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen, Germany. They have been creating transdisciplinary projects under the label ‘Herbordt/Mohren’ for many years. Their spatial and sound installations, performances, exhibition projects, radio and stage plays, musical theatre works and book publications have been presented in a wide variety of international settings, equally related to the world of science, the fine arts and the performing arts, and have received numerous prizes. Both were Fellows at the Akademie Schloss Solitude and artist-members of the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Herbordt/Mohren work on extended concepts of theatre and are engaged in an institutional critique within the performing arts. Their ongoing performance series ‘The Institution’ (since 2012) investigates the Andersmöglichkeit (literally alternative possibilities) of institutions and explores potential updates of the institutional form. www.die-institution.org

Research Project

An Imagined Institution – Between International Interrelation and Local Responsibility 

Institutions are being established again. Or existing institutions are being reorganized. Other institutions are in crisis—as a consequence of political changes, possibilities of urban development or new global requirements. Meanwhile, what is possibly the fourth generation of ‘institutional critique’ is forming as artistic practice, and institutional and spatial lacunae develop beyond the large metropolises: Where do institutions position themselves between internationalization and local responsibility? What infrastructures of knowledge production and circulation do they establish? What kinds of knowledge do they produce? Which social processes of change do they engender? And which ones can be initiated through them? What degree of fiction is involved in institution-building? We suggest a comprehensive artistic approach to these questions: the critical reflection and reconditioning of our thematically related preliminary works, the research and analysis of the more recent establishment of institutions in different cultural contexts, as well as the concept of a staged model test based on this research. We will invent a fluid institution at the periphery of globalization - de-centred, mobile, in dialogue with the world - and substantiate it with fictional founding documents, press reviews and progress reports. We will attempt, via resources from the performing arts, to imagine an institutional ground that presents the asymmetrical relationships between city and country, art and science, and performative practices of different origins in new (non-)hierarchies.

Recommended Publications

  • Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt (eds.), Vorgestellte Institutionen / Performing Institutions. Berlin: Alexander Verlag, 2015.
  • Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt, Das Theater / The Theatre. Berlin, Alexander Verlag, 2016.
  • Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt, Die Institution / The Institution. Berlin, Alexander Verlag, 2017.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung