ANIMAterialities – the future of grief (beide Abende hier nachstreamen)

The effects of climate change and the consequences of the ongoing pandemic are frightening. The foundations of our community rarely felt so existentially threatened. What to do?


Political action demands new forms of attention, and of care. Performance artist and philosopher Siegmar Zacharias, together with Neha Chriss, Eroca Nichols and Mithu Sanyal, invites us to participate in a “training for political imagination”, searching for ways on how not to suppress difficult feelings like grief. How can experience the power of collective imagination made possible by shared individual, collective, human and planetary grief? Over the course of two events, they will intergrate words and sonics, ritual, somatic and therapeutic practice, into a training of attention and care. The audience is invited to participate in exploring the possibility how another form of community might come up from individual sorrow.


Siegmar Zacharias has been developing experimental arrangements for “posthumus poet(h)ics”: Her performances, utilising material such as smoke, plants or slime, transmit what it could mean to enter into an exchange with materials that unfold their own presence and dynamics.


Following the FFT’s invitation, Siegmar Zacharias developed the training for political imagination: Posthuman solidarities as a 30-hour performative event on the occasion of the FFT’s 20th anniversary, in September 2019. Also present in 2019 were hacker and activist Neha Chriss (Australia), choreographer Eroca Nicols (Canada) and Düsseldorf cultural scientist Mithu Sanyal. Drummer and composer Steve Heather (AUS/D) is among Zacharias’ longstanding artistic partners.

day 1 (Friday)


1. Warm up, welcome and introduction with Neha Chriss, Eroca Nicols, Mithu Sanyal and Siegmar Zacharias


2. lecture performance by Mithu Sanyal (with Siegmar Zacharias)
How can we activate the importance of love for political thought and action? Based on Bell Hook’s “Analysis of Love as Political Action”, this live performance workshop integrates a witch’s kitchen and rituals for the home.


3. Femme meditation with Eroca Nichols: let’s talk about grief, baby


4. ASMR videos by Eroca Nicols

Femme armor as weapons for healing. Earth, Fire, Water, Air (ongoing)


day 2 (Saturday)

1. Warm up, welcome and introduction with Neha Chriss, Eroca Nicols, Mithu Sanyal and Siegmar Zacharias

2. sonic writing workshop with Neha Chriss
Exploring temporal embodiment through the vagus nerve. A sonic writing workshop for enhancing polyvagal informed solidarity.

3. somacoustic listening session Siegmar Zacharias and Steve Heather
The psychosensory concert explores intimacy and alienation as two dynamic forces of grief work and the possibility of a different coexistence. Touch by sound waves and the presence of those absent.

4. ASMR videos by Eroca Nicols

Femme armour as weapons for healing. Earth, Fire, Water, Air (ongoing)

Neha Chriss
Neha Chriss is a software engineer, activist and multi-disciplinarian concept and noise artist. Her research in psycho-acoustic and polyvagal theory – the interplay between sound, consciousness and neuronal processes – finds its way into handmade sound works and acoustic gathering spaces. The audience explores novel terrains of excitement and the boundaries of perception, through autonomous sound worlds that are programmed live. Neha Chriss currently resides in Australia.
Steve Heather
Steve Heather is a drummer, composer, and improvisational musician. Heather lives in Berlin and currently works in different projects, among them some with Kan Wandermark, Yannis Kyrialides, Tobias Delius, Derek Sherley, Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl, while he is also active as a soloist. He is a founding member of the SPLITTER improvisational orchestra. Additionally, he composes and works in the areas of dance, theatre, film and new media. In his own music projects (The still, Booklet, Ms Conception), he plays a range of styles, from avantgarde and free jazz right to noise and drone.
Eroca Nicols
Eroca Nicols currently works as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, but her multifaceted practice arises from her family of half-mystical, nomadic mobile home people. Nicols worked as a janitor for years and graduated with a BFA in video and performance art and sculpture from the California College of the Arts. Her teachings, her dance and her training have been heavily influenced by her continuous studies of rituals, biomechanics and Brazilian jujitsu. Eroca Nicols lives in Toronto (Canada).
Dr. Mithu Sanyal
Dr. Mithu Sanyal is an award-winning author, radio announcer and cultural scientist. She works in the fields of gender, race and sexuality. Among her books are the cultural history titles “Vulva. Die Enthüllung des unsichtbaren Geschlechts” (“Vulva. The unveiling of the invisible sex”) and “Vergewaltigung. Aspekte eines Verbrechens” (“Rape. Aspects of a crime”).
Siegmar Zacharias
Siegmar Zacharias works in theory and practice of performance. She develops performances and formats of artistic research in her works. Performance is her medium of ecological, posthuman, artistic and political practice, in which uncontrollable materials such as smoke, slime or the nervous system emerge as collaborative partners. Most currently, she produced works like “Drooling Lecture Series”, “Slime Dynamics”, “The Cloud: a cosmo-choreography made by animals, vegetables, minerals, humans, concepts and emotions.”, “Dirty thinking; invasive hospitality”, “THE OTHER THING”. She received a TECHNE scholarship for excellency and innovative research in 2018 to support the pursuit of her proposed doctoral thesis on a form of feminist posthuman poet(h)ics. She teaches at the Folkwang University of the Arts and at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Siegmar Zacharias lives in Berlin.
Production: Siegmar Zacharias. Coproduction: FFT Düsseldorf; Supported by the Kunststiftung NRW as part of the “Who is speaking?” coproduction series.