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Research Residency

Since 2016, Schaubude Berlin has awarded a four-week research residency each summer to study the effects of the digital transformation.

The programme is aimed at artistic teams of two to four people, at least one of whom must work professionally in the performing arts and have used puppets, figures, objects or animation forms of new media in previous works. The selection is made by a three-member jury.

The residency is intended as a research laboratory for which we provide the framework conditions: Space, technology, mentoring, a guest flat and a group honorarium of 6,500 euros.

Foto: Prapatshorn Sukkaset, Defrosting Thai Culture
Me, myself and my avatars, Residenz 2021
Die Schaubies, Forschungsresidenz 2020 zur Poesie von Algorithmen
das REBELL_boy, Forschungsresidenz 2017
Forschungsresidenz CLIPPY EMBODIED 2019, Foto: Silke Haueiss
2016: Augmented Stage

The research project does not have to be part of a planned production and does not commit to a premiere. Rather, the aim of the residency is to provide a space for the group to research artistic ideas, try out new forms and develop possibilities for new collaborations.

The residency is announced at the beginning of each year and takes place during the theatre holidays in July/August at the Schaubude.

Unfortunately, no research residency can take place in 2023.

by Un.thai.tled (Berlin/Thailand)
Kantatach Kijtikhun (music, photografy, performance art) | Theerawat Klangjareonchai (VR/AR, immersive experiences) | Raksa Seelapan (performance art, Physical Theatre, Butoh, improvisation) | Prapatsorn Sukkaset (scenography, costume design)

Residency period
25 July - 21 August 2022

Magali Tosato

Based on Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the team's research project "Defrosting Thai Culture" aims to deconstruct the rigid forms of traditional Southeast Asian storytelling (such as the royal mask theatre "Khon" or the shadow theatre "Nag Talung" stylised as folk art) and translate them into diasporic reality.

For the Thai artists living in Berlin, this process is about a pluralistic view of their own heritage beyond the inscribed social hierarchies and colonial influences.

Several objects that cast a shadow on stage.
Foto: Prapatsorn Sukkaset, experiments with shadows

They experiment with shadows and Kinect technology and ask: How do different perspectives affect how we perceive things on stage? How do the performers behave in space? What can the reciprocated gaze look like on stage?

Insights into the rehearsal process
from the beginning of the project at:

Verschiedene Gegenstände, die auf der Bühne Schatten bilden.
Schattenexperimente. Foto: Prapatsorn Sukkaset

Sie experimentieren mit Schatten und der Kinect-Technologie und fragen: Wie wirken sich verschiedene Blickwinkel darauf aus, wie wir die Dinge auf der Bühne wahrnehmen? Wie verhalten sich die Darsteller*innen im Raum? Wie kann der erwiderte Blick auf der Bühne aussehen?

Einblicke in den Probenprozess
ab Projektbeginn unter:

The residency took place from July 12 to August 8, 2021. Take a look at the detailed project documentation here!

In this research project, the residency team from Hamburg and Halle/Saale - virtual reality experience designer Lena Biresch, puppeteer and creative coder Nico Parisius, and 3D animator Tore Nobiling - looked at the performative significance of avatars and exploring the opportunities and limits of their use in virtual reality. The mentor of the project is Stefanie Rinke.

Me, myself and my avatars - project documentation

Theoretical background

Central to the project is the concept of "homuncular flexibility" by Jaron Lanier et al., which is about the extensibility and mutability of the homunculus - the term used to describe the mapping of movements and sensations experienced by the body located in the neurocortex of the brain. For example, when a limb is injured or amputated, the corresponding regions in the homunculus shift to other parts of the body. This flexibility is a prerequisite for identifying with the body of an avatar in VR at all.

Research into these processes combines findings from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and computer science and is based on the thesis that the homunculus can adapt bodies that differ significantly from the typical human form. Since there is no absolute separation between avatar and world in VR, the shape one takes on is of great importance.

In addition, there is the assumption of an increase in empathy: if one moves through water like a fish, can one not also think more like a fish? Thus, the use of peculiar avatars can awaken previously unused areas of the brain that are linked to the body. VR thus becomes a toolkit for exploring homuncular flexibility and offers the possibility of better understanding the relationship between the brain and the rest of the body (cf. Lanier, 2018).

The research project

The research findings of Lanier et al. were explored with today's technical means and made tangible in the interdisciplinary implementation. Which possible avatars (e.g. non-human, multiple or consisting of the environment) can the human brain adapt to?

Lena Biresch tackled the programming of the avatars' controls, Tore Nobiling tinkered with their three-dimensional form and Nico Parisius contributed his know-how from puppetry for the movement sequences.

Was passiert, wenn wir die Wahrnehmungsmöglichkeiten eines Computers ernstnehmen? Welche neue Welten kann ein Algorithmus erzeugen? Was für Gedichte kann er hervorbringen und was haben wir eigentlich von alldem?

Um diese und weitere Fragen zu erforschen, verglich das Künstler*innen-Team Friederike Schmidt-Colinet, Robert Läßig, Li Lorian und Carlos Franke Inszenierungspraktiken im Objekttheater mit Bilderkennungsmechanismen. Sie hoffen dabei nicht nur Neues über Algorithmen zu lernen, sondern auch neue Erkenntnisse und Vorgehensweisen für das Objekttheater zu gewinnen.

Blog-Dokumentation des Residenz-Teams

Die Forschungsresidenz 2020 wurde realisiert aus Mitteln der Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

Developed during the Schaubude residency 2019, this research project by Dohi Moon and Bjoern Erlach aimed at exploring how Human Computer Interaction design (HCI) can go wrong when engineers try to make machines more relatable to humans.

Building a robot lamp

With “Clippy Embodied” the artists wanted to bring a Clippy into an old fashioned office space and give it control over its environment.

Blog Residency Team

In collaboration with Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Alina Weber and Sven Björn Popp (virtuellestheater, Berlin) + Kathia von Roth and Torben Spieker (Spieleberatung, Hamburg)

Mentor: Christian Heller/plomlompom

»Taking Pepe as an example, we’ll ask ourself and the holy internet how Memes as virtual objects are bearing history, emotions and perceived realities« (Kathia von Roth)

Interview with the reasearch team (in German)

Wikipedia on the internet phenomenon Pepe, the frog

With: Larissa Jenne, Salomé Klein, Alexander Hector
Mentor: Helge-Björn Meyer

das REBELL_boy, 2017
»REBELL_boy is a spiky character; he gets worked up. We’ve drawn him out and now that he’s here, we want to get under his skin and find out what he looks like inside.«

Blog documentation + Teaser:

With: Daniel Huber, Alessandro Maggioni, and Tinka Legvart
Mentor: Sandy Schwermer

Blog documentation

LUDWIG, a mix of sensors, soft materials and improvisation, was one of the results and experiments during the residency. Videos of LUDWIG in action on the BADABOOMBERLIN blog

Window exhibition by Jonathan Schmidt-Colinet and Cali Kobel A thread weaves through the roof of a house - outlines crumble, the asphalt melts away. You become part of my landscape. Where are you standing? What do you see? If the perspectives are …
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Here is a PDF download of the statement by the children's and youth theatres addressed to Berlin's politicians, of which we are signatories. It describes what is needed so that the city's children's and youth theatres can continue to operate in …
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