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The Animatograph

GER 2005, 232 min

“The Animatograph” is a conglomeration of various media: cinema, theater, performance, installation, painting and opera.


After working on his adaptation of Parsifal, which opened at the Bayreuth Opera House in 2004, Christoph Schlingensief developes his idea of the revolving stage further.
THE ANIMATOGRAPH is a spinning stage construction that Schlingensief frees from the confines of the theater in four editions. It is a space for projections, words, pictures and sounds that is accessible to the audience. Thus it melds everyday life, politics and art in a living cycle – and sets them spinning.

Documentations on three of the four editions – HOUSE OF OBSESSION (Iceland Edition), ODINS PARSIPARK (German Edition) and THE AFRICAN TWIN TOWERS – THE RING – 9/11 (Africa Edition) – were released on DVD.

Content / DVD:
- German Edition: "Odin's Parsipark” in Neuhardenberg (2005, 87 min)
- Iceland  Edition: "House of Obsession" at Reykjavik (2005, 5 min)
- Iceland  Edition - films (4 von 13/2005, 49 min): "Police in Thingvellier“ (5 min), "Beuys Academy“ (13 min), „Party Demo“ (11 min), „Price Show“ (20 min)
- Africa Edition: „The African Twin Towers“ Lüderitz, Namibia (2005, 3 films: 28 min)
- A series of animatographs (2011, 8 min)
- Alexander Kluge in conversation with Christoph Schlingensief (2006, 45 min)
- 24-page booklet with texts and photos

Additional Texts

A “Life Machine” by Christoph Schlingensief

by Jörg van der Horst, 2005

Pictures are always just reproductions. They are the one-way-mirror window of a representation that inevitably has already forfeited a certain amount of authenticity; pictures lack transparency, in more than one sense of the word. Up to the present day, neither the “old” nor the new media have succeeded in opening this window – not only to project the presenting and presented person, but also to make this person into a projector.
The creation of multi-layered spatial projections was attempted in the 1920s by artists such as László Moholy-Nagy, with his Light-Space-Modulator, or Ray Eames, the american architect who experimented with spatial complexity and overlay until the end of the 1980s. With Meyerhold, Eisenstein and Piscator, projections found their way into the theater, dissolving its characteristic boundaries of time and space and multiplying the possible levels of theatrics and of reality.
In the course of staging his productions “Atta Atta” und “Bambiland” (both in 2003), Christoph Schlingensief hit on the idea for a large-scale project in several parts, which became more clearly defined during his work on the stage set for “Parsifal” (Bayreuth Festival, 2004). during his recent production of “Kunst und Gemüse” (Volksbühne Berlin, 2004), Schlingensief developed a concrete plan for integrating and merging the disciplines in which he has worked – theater, opera, film and actionism –, freeing them from unmitigated art – acting – and entrusting them, in a kind of “Life Machine”, to the everyday stagings and rituals of people outside of the artistic sphere. “The Animatograph” is, first of all, a mobile revolving stage installation, with the usual construction elements and equipment, which not only gives visitors a frontal view but also
permits entry. Visitors can then operate the set, act on and react to the installation, “take the stage” as it were and direct their own scenes; at the same time they can use the installation by applying it to their own everyday lives and cultures.
In a figurative sense, the revolving stage installation is an “actionistic photographic plate”, which globally and cross-culturally captures the happenings taking place upon it and, wherever it is set up, projects the filmed, photographed and acoustic documentations of these happenings anew, each time enriched with the images of the previous stations. (...)
At first “The Animatograph” is to be set up for weekly periods in various places all over the earth, in Iceland, Germany, Central Europe, Africa and Central Asia as well as North and South America, and made available “for use”, e.g. in a Nepalese marketplace, in a Namibian slum, a “liberated zone” in East Germany, a Brazilian favela and an amusement park in the USA. Following this, the intention is to hold “happening weeks” at central locations in Berlin, Buenos Aires, New York, Reykjavik, Windhoek and Tokyo. Each station will create its own energy field, which will gradually become charged by its users, through everyday actions as well as through religious rites or artistic acts. In each place, the images, objects, sounds and music will be documented and, by means of projections and recordings, become part of the installation at the following stations. Thus, gradually, a hyperprojection will be created. The picture that is exposed will be that of a universal culture.
In a second phase, “The Animatograph” will be transported from the culturally dependent stage of everyday life back to the traditional artistic sphere and will be given presentations and performances at selected theaters (e.g. the National-Theater Reykjavik), opera houses (e.g. the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin), museums (e.g. the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Museum of Modern Art New York) and festivals, where it will also be made available to its visitors for use.


Concept, Direction
Christoph Schlingensief

(Iceland Edition) Klink & Bank, Reykjavik, 13.–15.05.2005
Karin Witt, Klaus Beyer, Christoph Schlingensief, Jörg van der Horst, Arnar Jonsson, Björn Thors, Eigill Heidar, Anton Palsson, Gudrun Gisladottir, Lilja Gudrun Porvaldsdottir, Nina Dögg Filipusdottir, Olafur Eigilsson, Solveig Arnarsdottir, Unnur Stefansdottir und Gudmundur Oddur Magnusson, Daniel Björnsson, Snorri Asmundsson, Sirra Sigurdardottir, Erling Klingenberg, Sigridur Björg Sigurdardottir, Omar Stefansson, Nina Magnusdottir, Unnar Audarson
Thekla von Mülheim, Tobias Buser
Tobias Buser, Daniel Björsson, Pall Banine, Pall Einarsson
Set Design
Harry Johansson
David Por Jonsson, Helgi Svavar Helgason
Set Assistant
Lars Skjalbriea, Finnur Ragnarsson, Petur Hauksson, Gudmundur Hauksson
Key Grip
Björn Gudmundsson
Costume Design
Aino Laberenz
Cinematography & Editor
Kathrin Krottenthaler
Assistant Editor
Kristian Zalinsky
Dramaturgy & Internetred Editorial
Jörg van der Horst
Henning Nass
Patrick Hilss
Production Manager Germany
Anna Schulz, Holger Schulz
Production Manager Iceland
Nina Magnusdottir
Commissioned by
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna
Co-produced and supported by
Hauser & Wirth, National Theatre Iceland, Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg, Burgtheater Vienna and Filmgalerie 451

(German Edition) in Neuhardenberg / Battle of Gods – Journey to the Center of Earth, »Midgard > Ragnarök / Gods Twilight« / First ur-animatograph installation with six actions: 19., 20., 21., 26., 27., 28. August 2005
Björn Thors, Sachiko Hara, Klaus Beyer, Karin Witt, Horst Gelloneck, Maria Baton, Helga von Paczenski, Achim von Paczenski, Andrea Erdin, Jürgen Drenhaus, Markus M. Thormann
Animatograph Design
Tobias Buser
Animatograph Construction/Engineering
Udo Havekost, Harry Johansson
Costume Design & Photos
Aino Laberenz
Assistant Costume Design
Lisa Kentner
Markus M. Thormann
Meika Dresenkamp, Kathrin Krottenthaler
Video Equipment
Jens Crull
Key Grip
Hans Wiedemann
Lighting Design
Voxi Bärenklau
Technical issues
Matthias Warias
Sound Operator
Jens Voigtländer
Jörg van der Horst
Art Consultancy
Henning Nass
Jens Gerstenecker
Assistant Director
Hedwig Pottag
Production Manager
Celina Nicolay, Kristjan Schmitt
Martin Siebert
Technical Management
Thomas Schröder
Commissioned by
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna
Co-produced and supported by
Hauser & Wirth, National Theatre Iceland, Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg, Burgtheater Vienna and Filmgalerie 451

(Africa Edition) in Lüderitz, Namibia, 2005
Irm Hermann, Klaus Beyer, Stefan Kolosko, Robert Stadlober, Katharina Schlothauer, Karin Witt, Björn Thors, Norbert Losch, Dirk Rohde, Christiane Tsoureas, Mohammed, Christin Appollus, Christoph Schlingensief, Patti Smith, sowie die Theatergruppe Lüderitz
Kathrin Krottenthaler
Additional Editing
Sabine Steyer, Angela Christlieb
Director of Photography
Meika Dresenkamp, Kathrin Krottenthaler, Patrick Waldmann
Costume Design and Still Photography
Aino Laberenz
Set Decorator
Tobias Buser, Anne Grumbrecht
Jerome Burkhard
Hanno Leichtmann
Tobi Buser, Udo Havekost
Construction Manager, Area 7
Collin Elastus
Production Coordinator Namibia
Werner Rawe
Johannes Gaseb
Production Manager Namibia
Karim Debbagh
Production Manager Germany
Christoph Amshoff
Assistant Director
Sophia Simitzis
Jörg van der Horst
Frieder Schlaich
Produced by
Filmgalerie 451
Co-produced by
ZDFtheaterkanal, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Vienna. Supported by bpb, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Burgtheater Vienna, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Filmstiftung NRW, Medienboard B.B. and MFG Filmförderung


German Edition: "Odin's Parsipark” in Neuhardenberg (2005, 87 min – English Subtitles), Iceland  Edition: "House of Obsession" at Reykjavik (2005, 5 min – no dialogue), Iceland  Edition - films (4 von 13/2005, 49 min): "Police in Thingvellier“ (5 min), "Beuys Academy“ (13 min), „Party Demo“ (11 min), „Price Show“ (20 min), Africa Edition: „The African Twin Towers“ Lüderitz, Namibia (2005, 3 films: 28 min – English Subtitles), A series of animatographs (2011, 8 min – version without dialogue), Alexander Kluge in conversation with Christoph Schlingensief (2006, 45 min – English Subtitles)
Country Code
PAL / Color
232 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
DD 2.0
Digipack (Set Content: 1), 24-page booklet with texts and photos
Release date
Without age restriction / Info-Programm gemäß §14 JuSchG