Auftakt Festival für szenische Texte #4 (2020)

For the fourth time since 2017, artists and art students from various disciplines came together at the auftakt festival für szenische texte from 20 to 23 May to transform texts by young authors into experimental formats. The festival thrived on the encounters and networking of all the participating artists and authors – due to Corona, however, we had to transfer auftakt to digital this year.

Thus, on the basis of the text ” totally beautiful! a choral piece”, a choral webpage including an online survey was created. “In the name of!” became a digitally animated short film. “Am Wulst der Zeit” challenged viewers* to leave their own homes and take an audio walk. The text “Co2mming – Wie ich mit Pornos lernte zu heilen” was the hook for a digital happening between video performance and participatory live chat. The festival ended with a tele-party that went well into the night. Overall, we are very happy about the course of the festival and the good cooperation of the four heterogeneous groups and hope that some of the artistic relationships will continue or even intensify beyond the festival – and in the best case will be continued analogously. And we would like to thank all participating artists, authors, dramaturges and tech experts once again for their commitment. Mille Grazie!

What we regret very much, however, is that we did not have enough capacity to adequately moderate the chat that accompanied the last work “Co2mming – Wie ich mit Pornos lernte zu heilen”. Thus, individual sexist and racist comments have been posted here that should have been commented on and removed from our side already during the evening. Here we ask all artists and viewers, and especially those discriminated by the comments, expressly for apology. We are currently thinking about how we can react immediately at similar digital events in the future to prevent discrimination and injury of artists and spectators and to make it clear that such comments have no place at the auftakt festival as well as at all other events of Cheers for Fears and Land in Sicht. There is still a lot for us to learn here, as well.

auftakt is a joint project of the Cologne literary association Land in Sichtand the NRW network Cheers for Fears. Since 2017, the auftakt has been held annually at different locations in Cologne. In 2018, the Cologne Cultural Council awarded the auftakt Festival the Cologne Culture Prize in the category “Young Initiatives”. Previous venues have been Schauspiel Köln’s Britney (2017), studiobühneköln (2018) and TanzFaktur (2019).


LAND IN SICHT is a reading series for young literature in Cologne. Since 2014, four authors have been reading monthly at Café Fleur. Literary texts of all kinds are presented, whether poetry, prose, dramatic texts or literary essays. The readers are made up of two groups: On the one hand, we want to offer a stage to young authors from the region and serve as a meeting place for young writers and those interested in literature. Everyone can send us texts. Whoever succeeds in the editorial screening will be invited by us. On the other hand, we would like to invite young authors who have already drawn attention to themselves to Cologne in order to stimulate exchange.

CHEERS FOR FEARS has been bringing together art and art theory students from NRW who locate themselves in the scenic arts in discussions, workshops, festivals and transdisciplinary artistic projects since 2013. Cooperations with theaters in NRW support the project and provide platforms for the network. CHEERS FOR FEARS lets itself be surprised in its festivals by video installations, performances or music, dance or scenic lectures and completely newly invented formats.


voll schön! – a choral piece
Text: Lena-Marie Biertimpel
Artistic realization: Elsa Artmann, Jonny Hoff, Leontine Köhn, Lena Violetta Leitner

In the Name of (Erster Teil)
Text: Liat Fassberg
Artistic realization: Annelie Andre, Yedam Ann, Louisa Beck, Annie Bloch

Am Wulst der Zeit
Text: Till Wiebel
Artistic realization: Andrea Garcia Vasquez, Benjamin Junghans, Anne-Kathrine Münnich, Frederik Schreiber alias Schlakks


CO2mming – Wie ich mit Pornos lernte zu heilen
Text: Lynn Takeo Musiol & Eva Tepest
Artistic realization: Céline Bellut, Magdalena Öttl, Johannes von Dassel, Emma Wilson

ENGLISH: Live streamed four-channel video (approx. 25min) and live chat hosted on the Happy Porn Association website
DEUTSCH: Livestream vier-kanal Video (circa 25min) und Live-Chat eingerichtet auf der Happy Porn Association

Artist Statement:
As an interpretation of the text “Co2mming – how I learned to heal with porn” by the authors Lynn Takeo Musiol and Eva Tepest, we produced for this one-night festival evening the web presence of a fictional association, the “Happy Porn Association”, via Instagram and its own website. On the latter, a four-channel video work was streamed with a live chat running alongside, where the audience could interact anonymously. This presentation was followed by a posed artist talk on Zoom, set up and moderated by the Auftakt Festival. Our video provided the framework to explore the dense material and extensive world of the authors* by showing four different spaces, times, and readings of the text in parallel. The video and its surrounding structure were a time-based ‘happening’ to be shown exclusively during the festival program. For this reason, it is not possible for us to re-create the experience, so we have chosen to release only a screenshot and this explanation as documentation.

We are very sad and extremely angry because of the racist and sexist online trolling in the chat room that was part of our website concept. These people were third parties who had nothing to do with us or anyone in the production. The shift from stage-based art to online content triggered by COVID-19 was a teaching situation especially with regard to online audience types. We apologize for the inadequate preparation of this fragment of the website and the lack of immediate response on our part with regard to inappropriate commentary behavior. We strongly condemn their disgusting behavior.

Separate from this incident, we are very proud of our work, say thank you to the authors and are especially extremely grateful to the inaugural festival for this otherwise great experience and opportunity!

Click here for the aufftakt festival 2020.