Discourse & Performance Programme

Fear As We Know It

Curated by Senthuran Varatharajah and Fabian Saul

The surrealistic illustration shows the interior of a building with high columns. From the outside, light falls through large windows. In the centre is a staircase that leads up to the sky and disappears into the clouds.

Fear As We Know It © Design: Ira Ivanova

An evening about one of the oldest emotions of humankind: Together with the audience eight artists explore the preconceptions and representations of fear.

Every fear takes us back to the helplessness of our loneliest state and our species’ oldest emotions. Fear takes us to the very bottom of our ancient bedrock and the most fundamental questions about the riddle of our existence. It takes us back to the earliest substance that we are made of – to the primary layers of our individual and collective memory. When fear is with us, we are alone. The day “Angst, wie wir sie kennen” (Fear As We Know It) which is part of the festival “Performing Exiles”, is devoted to this subject: to telling the story of, describing and reflecting on fear as imagination – in both senses: fear as an object of the imagination, as something imagined, but also as its subject, as something that imagines things. In a dramaturgically and choreographically coherent evening, conceived and curated by the writer and theologian Senthuran Varatharajah and the writer and composer Fabian Saul, eight artists investigate the cinematic, literary, musical and discursive projections and representations, the nature and structure of exemplary symbols, forms and concepts of fear, taking us back to its night and its most ancient heart: to farewells and loss, ghosts and doppelgangers, darkness and demons. Every fear has more to tell than we can tell about it: because the fear we know also knows us.


18:00 Admission

18.30 “Fear As We Know It”

Sophia Eisenhut
“Dass es vielleicht ausgerechnet die Tiere sind, die zum Metaphysischen neigen.”

Athena Farrokhzad
“Inhabiting fear - inheriting fearlessness”

Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi
“Der Tiger sieht sich selbst. Ich sehe mich selbst im Tiger. Die Welt: sieht sich in uns.”

Karosh Taha
“Der Doppelgänger bedeutet: sich nicht mehr sehen zu können, sondern nur eine Idee von sich.”

Galal Alahmadi
“Ein abgetrennter Kopf in meinem Kühlschrank. Das heißt: jemand hatte gestern im Schlaf keine Albträume.”

Marica Bodrožić – mit Miki O’Hara
“Der Fluss erinnert sich, wenn er über das Ufer tritt. Ich muss es nehmen: wie ich meinem Kind ein Brot gebe.”

Senthuran Varatharajah
“Und er fragte ihn: Was ist dein Name? Und er spricht zu ihm: Legion ist mein Name, denn wir sind viele.”

With music by Fabian Saul and Wouter Rentema


Galal Alahmadi, Marica Bodrožić, Sophia Eisenhut, Athena Farrokhzad, Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Miki O’Hara, Wouter Rentema, Karosh Taha

An event by the Berliner Festspiele as part of the festival “Performing Exiles” presented in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

The discourse programme is funded by the Allianz Foundation and the Federal Agency for Civic Education.