Youth Academy

• Wed 25 02 – Sun 01 03 2015 •
Open House: Youth Boarding School of the arts of the World

An artistic, educational social experiment

Venue: Quartier am Hafen (Atelier A67), Poller Kirchweg 78-90, 51105 Cologne, with the train No. 7 it is 10 minutes from Neumarkt to the stop "Poll Salmstraße"

Tickets: 3 Euro (one-day ticket) und 9 Euro (4-day ticket), Sunday free entrance

The Youth Academy of the Arts of the World launches the Youth Boarding School of the Arts of the World as a response to current crises in economy, democracy, and education. Over five days, the Youth Academy opens its doors in an effort to explore the world we are living in and the world we want to live in. Collectively, it aims to try out alternative ways of living, learning, and working together, and through this to illuminate relations of power and space in particular.

Following a self-devised curriculum, the young, Cologne-based artists will examine a different topic each day: which local histories show us a transcultural world and where are the grey zones in which the global and local can no longer be distinguished? We are in exile, but where should we escape to – to pragmatic reality or an ideal utopia? Who has the power to shape our environments? And can art help us to find answers to the pressing questions of our time?

By developing an alternative artistic education program, the Youth Boarding School creates a utopian interspace where the unknown becomes visible, the unspoken can be experienced, and the impossible becomes imaginable. Through workshops, discussions, film screenings, performances, installations, and parties, these questions will be discussed and answers explored. Day and night, the Boarding School students learn, work, and live together, presenting the ongoing results of their collective work each evening.

The Youth Boarding School of the Arts of the World is open to everybody: the daily educational program as well as creative sessions in the evenings. All are invited to participate and to contribute to a diverse dialogue – beyond social and cultural boundaries, artistic disciplines, and ideological clichés.

By and with Malte Asmuth, Olga-Daryna Drachuk, Alessandro Famà, Frank Geier, Isabelle Houben, Mirjam Pietchamoa and Walter Solon

Artistic Educational Director: Georg Blokus

A project by the Academy of the Arts of the World / Cologne


WED, 25 2 2015

Opening of the Youth Boarding School

This is my home // A performative installation by Olga-Daryna Drachuk

No closer place than homeland // A theatrical audio installation by Frank Geier

TUE, 26 2 2015:

The Grubenführerin // A Psychogeographic Bicycle Tour

Open House

20 (open end)
joint dinner

FRI, 27 2 2015:

Open House

20-21:30 Another Justice: My First Years As A Judge // A lecture performance by Walter Solon

SAT, 28 2 2015:

I.C.U. - Pissing is Power // A participatory live video installation by Frank Geier

Bridging Gaps // A participatory sound installation

Protecting our Children // A live audio play

Closing of Boarding School

22 (open end)
Artz&Beats // Party

SUN, 01 3 2015:

Open forum for new members of the Youth Academy

Public Feedback

WEDNESDAY, 25 2 2015



The Youth Boarding School of the Arts of the World opens its doors for a sociable kick-off. Boarding School students offer an insight into the genesis of the school and venture a guess at what they don’t (yet) know: the evolution of the Youth Boarding School, its students, and visitors over the course of the coming days.


© Torsten Meyer

When everything is taken from you, there is at least a home to return to. But what happens when suddenly home is no longer there? When war has destroyed the country? What is it like to live in a country that finds itself in a state of war with another country in order to protect its national sovereignty? What about the right of the Ukrainian people to live under humane conditions?

The social and political changes in Ukraine began in November 2013, with the first peaceful protest at the Maidan in Kiev developing into the war that is today taking place in the east of the country.

In the performative installation This is my Home, videos, photographs, audio recordings, objects, instruments of torture and abuse, as well as texts from contemporary witnesses will be used in an attempt to reconstruct the recent developments in Ukraine. In doing so, the performer creates an intermediate space of constant upheaval, symbolic of what remains of her home.


© Frank Geier

On July 22, 1763, shortly after coming to power in Russia, the German-born empress Catherine II issued a manifesto by which Germans willing to immigrate to the Russian Empire would be guaranteed freedom of religion, tax privileges, and the right to land. Many Germans gave up their old lives on this promise from their compatriot to settle on the plains bordering the Volga.

Over the course of the next two centuries, a German subculture was built up with its own dialect, societal structures, and cultural traditions. By the beginning of the Second World War, the German population in Russia had lost their reputation as a hard-working people and began to be collectively regarded as fascists and scapegoats: held responsible for developments in Germany that took place during their absence, the “Volga Germans” suffered discrimination and deportation. Since that time, most significantly in the 1990s, over two million ethnic Germans have remigrated to Germany – a homeland that they had never known – and have been met with a lack of understanding and non-acceptance largely due to dialects that have been developed in isolation from the country.

The theatrical audio installation no closer place than homeland gives visitors the opportunity to hear the story of a Volga German couple in three acts with the use of wireless headphones. Paying tribute to the dialectical forms of Russian German, it conveys something of today’s lived experience of “interculture” with its ambivalent conceptions of home. The audio installation can be experienced throughout the duration of the Open House of the Youth Boarding School of the Arts of the World.

The installation is open daily from 20-23 pm however numbers of participants are limited. Registration at the venue is required.

THURSDAY, 26 2 2015



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© Mirjam Pietchamoa

Just 30 kilometers from Cologne is a brown coal mine that has been operating since 1978. Mining there has created a 450-meter deep hole, more than four times bigger than the inner city of Cologne. The Hambach opencast mine makes the ability of humans to modify and design their environment impressively visible.

The Grubenführerin is well acquainted with the site and will bring the students of the Youth Boarding School and other interested persons to locations where the workings of the mine can be experienced. By sensing, smelling, seeing, and listening we will arrive to an almost uninhabited place, the remnant of one of the oldest forests in Europe and finally to the edges of the pit.

This project wants to encourage Cologne inhabitants to discover the Hambach mine and its surroundings. Along the way, the psychogeographic bicycle tour allows participants the chance to reflect critically about power and space.

The aim of the tour is not to label the experience in terms of right or wrong, good or bad. It is geared much more towards arriving at an understanding about the conditions required for creating a habitat. Discussions with people from the locality will give the chance to consider how sustainable this form of capitalistic-democratic living together is, and what the possible alternatives might taste like.
Participation is at your own risk! Bicycles will be available.

To register your interest, please email:


The doors of the Youth Boarding School will be open for every interested visitor. It will be possible to experience the permanent works of the exhibition and to explore the work-in-progress developement of the Youth Boarding School.

20 (open end)

After their return from the Hambach mine excursion, the students of the Youth Boarding School, their guests, and other participants are invited to come together for a concluding dinner – a space for discussing the differences between city and countryside, the energy crisis, and political participation.

FRIDAY, 27 2 2015



The doors of the Youth Boarding School will be open for every interested visitor. It will be possible to experience the permanent works of the exhibition and to explore the work-in-progress development of the Youth Boarding School.


© Marina Berlowitz

Walter Solon comes from a line of legal practitioners. His father is a legal philosopher and lawyer, his grandfather was a judge, as he also is himself – or at least, he was for two years. On finishing high school and entering into law school in São Paulo, he had the feeling he was only conforming to his father’s and grandfather’s wishes for the sake of formality. Law school would rather prepare him, like numerous other Brazilian writers, for a literary career.

In the end, literature was not enough for him. He wanted to do something against the prevailing injustices and joined his father and grandfather as a partner in the family’s law firm, renamed Solon, Solon & Solon. His shock at being faced with the realities of legal practice in cartel-based, emerging market capitalism could only be countered by regular consumption of cocaine, excessive sex parties and illegal street racing. Then followed his first (and last) years as a judge in the remote state of Moto Grosso Feio, where he tragically failed in the realization of his utopian dreams of justice. He was unable to hinder the massacre of an indigenous group of people, decided against the adoption of Guarani as the second official language, was responsible for protecting a serial rapist, and allowed a group of anti-dam activists to be imprisoned for civil disobedience.

In this lecture performance, video recordings of (former) defendants are shown, including interrogations and sentences, accusations and justifications. But where do we position ourselves? Neither in the court of justice, nor in a prison, and not on the sunny beaches of freedom. After university, after the law firm, after Moto Grosso Feio we find ourselves removed to a fourth location (in his German exile?), where one can, in the words of Deleuze and Guattari, “deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere… Another justice, another movement, another space-time.”

The lecture performance will be held in English.

SUNDAY, 28 2 2015



© Frank Geier

Public space is a democratic sphere. So it belongs in principle to every citizen and is likewise open to all. But public space is also highly competitive: different social groups and subcultures struggle each day to make it their own, and through it, to be heard.

A good example of the occupation of public space is the public toilet, an anonymous, in-between space where distinct political positions can be expressed. The secretive vandalization of the walls with verbal graffiti is in most cases unsanctioned. But what happens when these actions are exposed? Does the protection offered by the public toilet remain the same when the authors of graffiti are deprived of their anonymity, not only able to be observed but also provoked into expressing even more radical opinions?

This participatory, live video installation poses the question of what worth freedom of speech still holds for us. In a reconstructed public toilet, visitors have the possibility to freely express their opinions, while at the same time being under the watch of a surveillance camera and visible to all other visitors to the exhibition. On Saturday, the final day of the Youth Boarding School, the footage of the previous days will be screened.


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© Isabelle Houben

We live in a so-called “free world”. But what does this world actually protect us from or are we just captive to our own limited idea of freedom? The emancipatory transformation of the human being into a free individual has not in every case lead to happiness. Or has it? Do we pay for every new liberation with new constraints?

Changes to society in the course of the twentieth century – away from obedience and duty and towards freedom and self-realization – have also changed the arts. Is everyone an artist, as Joseph Beuys once said? In experimental music, participatory forms of art making have long been established. The open work is an important part of this new tradition, and questions the roles of composer, performer, and recipient. Increasingly, it becomes difficult to distinguish between active producer and passive recipient. These aesthetic currents unite the political stances of the elimination of hierarchy and the emancipation of the viewer/ listener in artistic production as a co-creative process.

In the participatory sound installation Bridging Gaps, visitors can help to shape the experience by the use of different instruments and sounds. At the same time, various literary and theoretical texts by Franz Kafka, Hannah Arendt, Joseph Beuys, Michel Foucault, Byung-Chul Han talk and others speak of the external constraints that we have internalized; constraints of our own making, of those conscious and unconscious, old and new – and from the liberation of these dictates. How freeing is it really, to become artistically (in this case musically) active? Or can creative freedom become the necessitation of having to decide against listening itself?


© Frank Geier

In the live audio play Protecting Our Children the students of the Youth Boarding School critically ask how near we are to the dystopia of a scared society, and wich arguments are used by media, politics and institutions to create fear in order to manipulate our behaviour. What is the maximum of fear a societiy can resist? Because all we want is for our children to live in a better world one day. Or is there anything else?


The Youth Boarding School of the Arts of the World closes its doors. The students of the Boarding School draw out their lessons from the preceding days and get ready for “real” life: do we know any more at this point and – if so – what will stay with us?

22 (open end)

SUNDAY, 1 3 2015



The Youth Academy invites interested young artists from Cologne to take part in an open forum: who would like to work with us on our new project and what kind of collaboration can we imagine together?

With the doors closed to its Boarding School, the Youth Academy invites honest feedback from its audience. Young artists and creatives from Cologne are particularly welcome to join in this encounter, for communication and networking.


MALTE ASMUTH was born in 1992 in Bochum. After finishing school, he completed an internship at the Prinz Regent Theater in Bochum as assistant director before commencing German studies and philosophy at the University of Bonn. Among his areas of interest are literature (especially modern literature) as well as theater and music, and he is particularly interested in the intersection of language and sound. A writer of theater, audio plays, and prose, he also plays cello and bass in a band. He has gained acting experience in a range of school and extracurricular projects.

OLGA-DARYNA DRACHUK was born in 1989 in Vinnytsya, Ukraine. She studied pedagogy and German studies at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. In 2012 she received a DAAD scholarship to attend the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, where she studies social work with a focus on international youth work, cultural youth education, and theater pedagogy. Her interests are aesthetic spatial research, photography, singing, action art, performance, and installation. Her performances explore the phenomenon of pain, the current social and political situation in Ukraine, and Ukrainian folk music, entailing also experimentation with vocals and movement. She is also an independent translator, craftsperson, and world traveler.

ALESSANDRO FAMÀ was born in 1992 in Cologne, and is currently studying musicology at the University of Bonn. He is a sound designer and electronic musician active in various artistic contexts. He worked with the Cologne-based F ANG collective on Cookies (2014), a play that raised questions about the relationship between privacy and intimacy in public and private space, and performed a sample-based piano composition for the 100° Berlin Festival 2014. He has been working with the Düsseldorf musicians collective Moglebaum since 2013, and plays concerts and DJ sets in Germany and internationally.

FRANK GEIER was born in Kaiserslautern to parents with Volga German heritage and completed his medical studies in 2014, after study trips to Italy and Israel. Interested in theater and performance art, he works as actor, producer, and young theater maker in the independent Cologne theater scene. His personal works deal with such topics as migration and sexuality. For the theater piece El Golpe (2013), he researched together with the German-South American collective El Mitote am Rhein the traumatic experiences of putsch and dictatorship in Chile and Latin America and their impact. Other works have looked at normalized triviality in the realm of civic responsibility (Protest, 2014), and the division of roles and opinion making in the theater world (Theaterdiktatur, 2014).

ISABELLE HOUBEN was born in 1995 in Bonn. She studies musicology and media studies at the University of Cologne. She is a founding member of the Youth Academy of the Arts of the World, where she coorganized the exhibition Ming Stadt and the lounge event Indigo in 2013. She is a bassist in several jazz bands, works with the local music label achtkomma3musik and is involved with the German Jazz Musicians’ Union.

MIRJAM PIETCHAMOA has been living in Cologne since 2013, where she studies cultural and social anthropology. Interested in the performing arts, she was accepted into the proskenion foundation’s Youth Academy of Performing Arts (Jugendakademie für Darstellende Künste) in 2009. Through this association she has had the opportunity for further studies in the area, and received a scholarship to attend the Stanislawski seminar in Moscow. She recently collaborated on the independent theater production Flucht nach Vorne, presented as part of the west off festival. In her own work, she reflects critically on power relationships, and draws often from personal experience and questions. Art is for her a way of contributing to controversial debate that stands apart from the approved mainstream. Through it, she hopes to give momentum to processes of change in society.

WALTER SOLON was born in 1992 in São Paulo, Brazil, and studied social sciences and literature in São Paulo, Paris, and Cologne. He is currently a media arts student at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. He published the short story collection Seiva e Risco (2010) in Portuguese, wrote the play Humildade (first performed by the Cologne theater group Lusotaque in 2013), and presented the lecture performance Erfahren und Erzählen (2014) at the Youth Academy of the Arts of the World. He is primarily interested in the relationship between macro-political narratives and narrative arts in various media, as well as social-aesthetic experimentation that challenges conventional terms of representation. In addition, he is a translator and worked on the projects of Yael Bartana, Nurit Sharett, the Contrafilé collective, and Campus in Camps at the 31st São Paulo Art Biennial.