The Künstlerhaus Mousonturm opened in 1988 as one of the first independent production houses in Germany. Today it is recognized internationally as one of the most influential and successful independent production centres. With over 4000 m2 of space in the protected monument that was once the tower of the former Mouson soap factory including a theatre, two studio spaces, rehearsal stages and studios, artists’ accommodation, stage workshops plus its links with Tanzplattform Rhein-Main and Frankfurt LAB, it offers outstanding production and performance facilities and is also available for event hire. Matthias Pees has been Künstlerhaus Mousonturm’s Artistic and Managing Director since 1st August 2013.
As an “artists’ house” we place recurring exchanges with creative artists, groups and collectives working in the contemporary independent sector in German-speaking, European and extra-European territories at the heart of our programming and productions. Contemporary dance and choreography, performance and innovative forms of international theatre by directors, writers and actors who come from beyond German-speaking territories and can therefore bring us closer to other forms of aesthetic expression and more radical methods of political action form the central impulse of the Mousonturm’s programme. In addition, scope remains for contemporary music and visual arts: we also screen films, organize concerts and present installations. Beyond this we regard the city and its metropolitan region as a stage, a space for interventions and actions that we regularly wish to perform in and to explore together with its citizens.
Frankfurt Declaration of the MANY
Numerous arts, cultural and scientific institutions in Frankfurt have already signed the Frankfurt declaration of the MANY. The Frankfurt Declaration of the MANY articulates solidarity within the arts, culture and science as part of civil society’s engagement against nativist-nationalist, fundamentalist, populist and authoritarian world views, and against right-wing incitement against, exclusion and disparagement of other people. With this declaration activists within Frankfurt’s artistic, cultural and scientific landscape are sending a socio-political signal that affects everyone’s daily practice. The publication of the declaration by the Frankfurt MANY is part of the initiative THE MANY and part of the initiative of further signatories who have joined and will join the MANY with their own declarations across the nation. -> Frankfurt Declaration of the MANY
Initiative GG 5.3 Weltoffenheit
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, as part of the Association of International Production Houses and in conjunction with numerous other public cultural and scientific institutions, is part of the “Initiative GG 5.3 Weltoffenheit”, which published a collective ‘Statement for Weltoffenheit’ at a press conference to mark International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020. This is based on a wealth of experience of working internationally and international working relationships in the fields of science and art as well as on a shared struggle against anti-Semitism, racism, far right extremism and religious fundamentalism in all its forms. The Initiative makes reference to Article 5.3 of Germany’s Constitution, in which the freedom of art and science is guaranteed, and expresses concern whether sufficient open-minded and public opportunities exist for discourses and artistic processes in which controversial arguments can be put and framed on equal terms, in which due notice is taken of marginalised and obscured voices representative of cultural diversity and critical perspectives, and especially in which no one side is able to use politicised definitions of certain terms as an instrument to exclude others. In this regard, the Initiative speaks out not only against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that attacks Israeli policy internationally and, as a political countermeasure, proclaims a boycott of Israel including the exclusion of Israeli artists and scientists from participation in international academic and cultural exchange. It also criticises the effects of the so-called BDS Resolution passed by the German Federal Parliament, directed against BDS supporters who are no longer to be given a platform in the democratic public sphere of our cultural and discursive spaces. The Initiative describes the problems this causes for the freedom of art and science as follows: “By invoking this resolution, significant voices are pushed aside and critical positions are represented in a distorted manner. Open-mindedness, as we understand it, is predicated upon a political aesthetic of difference that understands being different as a democratic quality and art and education as spaces that are about tolerating ambivalences and permitting divergent positions.”
Artistic Directors Bettina Masuch and Kathrin Tiedemann from tanzhaus nrw and FFT Düsseldorf, also part of the Association of International Production Houses and participants in the Initiative, articulated these problems on 16.1.2021 in the Rheinische Post together with the Artistic Director of Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Wilfried Schulz, in the following terms: “We do not want to have to deal with narratives of victimhood being set against each other and with scientific and artistic positions being denied admittance to our discourse because of allegations – repeatedly and clearly at the insistence of political interests and often with little conclusive evidence – of proximity to BDS. Even irrespective of actual artistic works. Every time we hold a festival or invite a performance, we do not want to have to research and inspect the biographies of the artists to see if they have ever expressed any criticism of Israel. We do not want to have to question Israeli artists and friends critically about their engagement with their own country. According to our experience and knowledge, this is the subject of a forceful inter-Jewish and inter-Israeli dialogue. We would find it absurd for Jewish artists from Israel who are critical of their own state to be accused in Germany of anti-Semitism and for this to have manifest consequences in public action. We concede that artists from African countries or from the Arab world may have different historical experiences and perspectives. However, we insist that the stage is not a place for political propaganda and advertising, but a place in which art and discourse may exhibit controversial ideas and views of the world.”
The Alliance of International Production Houses’ Committment to non-discrimination
The Alliance of International Production Houses (AIPH) is made up of seven leading institutions operating in the realm of contemporary visual and performing arts in Germany. Each of these member institutions sees itself as a place where diversity can thrive and where people with a wide -ranging array of biographies, interests, beliefs, expectations and social backgrounds can come together to engage in artistic exchange, expression and performance. One of the AIPH’s most significant social responsibilities is to ensure that each one of our member institutions is sensitive to discrimination of all kinds, regardless of a person’s origin, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, religion, culture, residence status, age, class, appearance or any other affiliation and attribution. -> Committment to non-discrimination