MAUForum: The Event of the Self/Other

Ceremony and celebration with artists and audience

European Premiere

MAUForum: The Event of the Self/Other

© Sebastian Bolesch

Past Dates

With this unique event spielzeit’europa focused on dialogue and experience. The MAUForum was staged by artist Lemi Ponifasio from Samoa and his Company MAU in the form of a ceremony, feast and night of performance. Its aesthetic and spiritual language permitted new forms of encounter between artists and participating guests. The MAUForum aimed at both a critical, inspiring debate and a celebration of artists, providing an artistic expression of The Event of the Self/Other [following Deleuze/Guattari] – the theme of this year’s spielzeit’europa.

The event was chaired by American director Peter Sellars, who has a deep knowledge and admiration of Ponifasio’s theatrical work. Beside him other leading international artists, writers, thinkers and activists joined with the public in this special form of dialogue. Speeches and counter-speeches, discussions, ceremony and feast – a summer night of celebration in the Great Orangery of Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin.

»One of the main concerns in my work over the years is the question of Power and Life and community. The MAUForum seeks a new sense of a Community to come. The MAUForum is an encounter with the Other; an encounter between cultures, between values, between worlds negotiating the living unknown.
The MAUForum is the construction of a ground which invites the community within the activation of ceremony and theatre, whether they consider themselves the elite or the marginalized, to sit intimately with the Other.
The Charlottenburg Castle, a symbol and place of power in Berlin, was the ideal place to meet and exchange. Ceremony and theatre are communications on different planes of consciousness, which make it impossible to have one dangerous perspective.
It was not so long ago, the people of Berlin exhibited Samoan people in the zoo, just down the road from the Charlottenburg Castle. It was not so long ago, the people from Berlin came all the way down to my islands and colonized and dominated the Samoan people.
So for MAU to be invited to this important place in Germany and in turn welcome and host the people of Berlin at Charlottenburg Castle, together with spielzeit'europa, with respect, with ceremony, with oratory, theatre, conversation and to share a meal, creates a very contemporary re-encounter that honors everyone.«

»Lemi Ponifasio and the Company MAU offer us new coordinate points between light and dark, time and space, animal and human, sacred and profane, the world of the living and the world of the dead, the world of the undead and the world of the unborn, freedom fighters and terrorists, the nuclear and the post-nuclear, artist and community, social work and transcendence, ritual and performance, political action and contemplation, the avant-garde and the ancestral, food and the gods, self and other, body and spirit. They navigate by the night sky and we come through each voyage with the beauty, the mystery, and the fresh shock intact.«


Lemi Ponifasio and MAU [Samoa/New Zealand]
Master of Ceremony Peter Sellars
Participants and Guests Christian Awe, David Bennent, Olafur Eliasson, Dimiter Gotscheff, Durs Grünbein, Ivan Nagel, Kiran Nagarkar, Peter Raue, Peter Rider (Botschafter Neuseelands), Pamela Rosenberg, Bernd M. Scherer, Gesine Schwan, Virgilio Sieni, Hortensia Völckers, Sasha Waltz, Shen Wei

Commissioned by spielzeit’europa | Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with Berliner Residenz Konzerte, IMaGE Konzertveranstaltungs GmbH