Silbersee on it's way to Zero Footprint in 2027

The next few years Silbersee is facing a challenging objective: producing art that does not contribute to damaging and draining the earth, but one  that enriches the earth. Our Silbersee ship wants to set sail, having zero footprint by 2027 at the latest. To help us navigate the right course, we put together a Rethink Crew from diverse backgrounds.

For this pilot we have put together a group of six creative professionals, namely director Marte Boneschansker; program maker Ravian van den Hil; creative producer Jimmy-Pierre de Graaf; stage artist, instructor and community builder Damani Leidsman; radio producer, installation artist, performer, singer and composer Nyirabikali Lierman; and cultural sociologist Sophie Pfaff, who has been assigned the task of creating a ‘production’ which embodies our societal goals in dramatic fashion.

They will experience the entire process together: from research and documentation in the first phase in 2020 to creating the ‘production’ in 2021. We have put the word ‘production’ in quotation marks, because we do not want to influence the team’s output in any way. They are free to come up with alternative interpretations of future stage art. It does have to be possible for the end product to be experienced by an audience. The thinking will be radical and out of the box: we expect from participants that they challenge existing aspects of the present workplace in (musical) theater.

This Rethink Crew will be given time and space to research what it means to create in a sustainable manner. The assignment given to these six young professionals is a challenging one. We request them to develop a paradigm, a prototype that embodies our societal ambitions. From this blueprint we will be able to keep developing and implement the results in the way we work and think. This page will be a continuously growing reference book where they can share their thought processes, sources research and acquired insights.

  The Rethink Crew will introduce themselves below and invite you to stay up to date and start a dialogue with them through our social media channels. Would you like to share your response, input or good practice with them, be involved in this enticing project or be informed on developments in the future? Please send them an email.


You will find more on the Rethink Crew’s first phase of the research below these biographies.

Marte Boneschansker creates one-on-one theatrical experiences which originate from documented material. Whether it’s a radio play, an installation or a monologue, in every performance the experience of the individual is the focus point. Combined with her fascination for true stories, she shines a light on contemporary societal themes in a personal manner. Her performance BLOOS, in which she interviewed women between the ages of 10 and 100 about intimacy and desire, was nominated for the BNG Theater award and for the sequel BLOOS De Mannen (The Men) she won the Encouragement Award. Marte’s shows are created by a diverse team in the most durable manner possible: stage elements are found in the trash, spaces are shared with other professionals and the team eats only vegetarian food. But how can we proceed from this and seriously rethink the creative process? With the Rethink Crew I would like to create a blueprint from which creative professionals can freely make (climate)inclusive choices from a philosophical paradigm to contribute to the planet, instead of just taking from it.

Ravian van den Hil has an MA in Curating from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. He is a program maker at the Holland Festival and an advisor to, among others, the Rotterdam Municipality. He coworks with different theater makers like Julian Hetzel. In his works he finds connections between different worlds and perspectives.

My name is Jimmy-Pierre de Graaf and I am one of the six members of the Rethink Crew. I have been working as a producer for Silbersee for quite a few years now and have made several enticing plays. For the coming months I can now rethink. I believe we are making the first steps on the long road to changing and renewing the cultural sector. Rethinking to me is on par with restructuring the present status quo. I am not saying that everything has to go but that we should question our workplace and who we are as artists and , where needed, to break down and rebuild existing structures. With the Rethink Crew I hope to discover which components can remain unchanged and which will need to be adjusted so we can make art that is inclusive, sustainable and of high artistic quality. I hope we can be both disruptive and inspiring, in a positive way. I want to start with the foundation - the meeting place between the artpiece and the audience - and continue to look upwards and forwards to improve policy and the future.

My name is Damani Leidsman. My first associations with rethinking are togetherness, righteousness and courage. This obviously says a lot about how I view the world. I feel we could create a lot more together. When we talk about creating together, it should really be about (the shared experience of) everyone. We need righteousness to achieve this and - because it is not yet a priority in our world - a healthy dose of courage.

I am a performance artist and I also teach. I see art primarily as a means of communication, to discover and tell stories. Art takes a part of the world and proceeds to take it inside out, dismantle it, analyses it, changes it and gives it back to the world. It’s a circle, an self-sustaining ecosystem. For inspiration I like to look at the world’s ecosystems. Every grain of sand and every drop of water is an integral part of this. I also notice what is happening to the beautiful forests, swamps and lakes. This is one of the reasons I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. At the same time I am fully aware of the limited impact my personal choices can have. I do not believe this is the ultimate solution to the issues facing the world’s ecosystems, which seem to become smaller at a time when we need more space.

To me, rethinking equals (re)discovering a new way of living and this is exactly why this undertaking is so important to me. We have been given the opportunity to search for alternatives that can create space, give back and inspire.

Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman is an independent radio producer, installation artist, performer, vocalist, and composer. She was trained in classical voice, musical composition, and radio documentary at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the Royal Institute for Theater, Cinema & Sound in Brussels. Her work focuses on her personal field recordings—a large collection of unique sounds and soundscapes from East Africa. She transforms and extends these recordings with her own vocal and instrumental elements. Lierman’s work is a constant research in how to intermarry voice, music, and radio from both a Western and a non-Western point of view. Sound‐bit by sound‐bit she transforms and sculpts them into something she calls “Afrique Concrète”, a hybrid form of Afro-European musical theater. 
Aurélie: “I am confronted with the non-sustainable nature of my field of work on a daily basis. I travel the globe for my work as a vocal artist and composer. My growing conscience makes me aware of the fact that I have to find a more sustainable way to live, work and create art. To me, that is the main reason to be part of the rethinking crew. I hope that we as a crew can accomplish the same things as, for instance, the jazz movement at the start of the 20th century. This musical genre has its origin in the new musical language that artists from different cultural and musical backgrounds had to create to be able to communicate with each other. Combining their different talents, styles and challenges turned jazz music into a progressive genre with endless creative power. With the Rethinking Crew I hope to accomplish the same thing. Namely, that by combining our knowledge, experiences and ambitions, we can start a new movement within the creative field”. 

Sophie Pfaff: What will I tell my nine-year-old son in twenty years’ time, when he asks me what I have done to prevent a climate crisis from happening? Will it be “I was only trying to to pay the rent and put you through college”, or will I be able to tell him “Back then we were a group of people who believed in a better world. We lived with the realization that we were the last generation that could still make a difference and prevent the worst from happening. We believed that a revolution had to be unleashed in the field that we live and work for: performance art!”.
Theater and climate: there seems to be no obvious connection between the two. And yet the urgency grows to address the challenges that surround climate change through performance art. It is hard to imagine our planet 100 years from now. What will be the state of nature, cities, society? Performance art can play a big part in imagining the future, in creating an image of the consequences of decisions we make today. I sincerely believe that. As a cultural scientist, as a professional in the field of performance art, as a global citizen and as a mother. 
  Growing up in the south of Germany, I studied cultural science and Spanish culture, literature and language. I got to know the east of Germany, with its vibrant cultural sector in its cities, and I dedicated my time to helping Spanish speaking immigrants. I then lived and worked in LeipzigAix-en-Provence and La Paz (Bolivia), gaining experience as a project coordinator for a local dance company (Leipziger Tanztheater). At the Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion” at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg I obtained my PhD in the subject of biographies of dancers in Germany and the Netherlands in the field of sociology.
  From 2017 onwards I have been working as an assistant to Romain Bischoff and as an artistic coordinator at Silbersee. Since early 2020 we have been working at Silbersee to create a vision on how to make climate friendly performances by 2027 for an audience that is as diverse as possible. 
  The imaginatory power of art is limitless. It can touch hearts and stir up thoughts. With the Rethink Crew we will use this superpower and continue on our way to create a sustainable future. I am hopeful that we can unleash that revolution so that I can tell my son in twenty years’ time, that we did everything in our power, that we succeeded and that things are taking a turn for the good.” 

Phase one: research
The research phase began in the autumn of 2020. Coming from varied personal and professional backgrounds, the crew members all brought different questions, assumptions and fields of interest to the table. To be able to start the process of rethinking together, there first has to be a consensus in the group about the working method, about the way to rethink, about the different domains to be researched and the way the outcome will be presented. After a few detours, a little bit of frustration and necessary hard resets at the start of the project, the crew has now taken a flight and the more in-depth research will focus on these rethink domains:

·     voice/sound

·     time

·     possession / ownership

·     nature inclusivity

An integral part of the collective work sessions involves expert opinions and critical thinkers from the domains that have been selected for the in-depth research. Also, the crewmembers will involve the followers of Silbersee to try and find answers to questions such as #whatdoyouwantyourlegacytobe and #whoownstheland. Eventually the answers will be incorporated in their research. By the end of 2020 the rethink crew intends to present the cultural field with a philosophical paradigm as a basis to start their own rethinking process. A definite form for the presentation of the results will be determined at a later date. It could take the shape of a manifest, an essay, a booklet or a set of exercises to train the rethink muscle

  This page will be an ever-growing reference book, where the crew will share their rethink exercises, sources and insights. The rethink crew invites you to stay informed, involved and connected via the Silbersee social media channels. If you want to share your views, responses, input and good practices with them, or want to stay informed, you can also email them here. 

Phase two: “Production” 

From January 2021 the six crew members will initiate the “production” phase, incorporating the insights from the research phase. The crew is at liberty to suggest an alternative interpretation of the future of stage art. Silbersee wants in no way sway or influence the crew in the interpretation they choose. It is because of this the word “production” is within quotation marks. They have the liberty to think freely. What Silbersee does do is give the crew a thinking frame that reflects the radical ambitions Silbersee has set for itself: the “production” will have to leave behind zero footprints and will not harm our planet. More so, we encourage the crew to think of ways to give back to the earth. The “production” must reflect the diverse composition of our society and must involve in sustainable affiliations with that society. Society will act as a source of information and inspiration, as an audience and a partner from start to finish. The final “production” must be experienced by a large and diverse audience.