Gesellschaftsspiele. The Art of Assembly

A series of lectures and conversations on the potential of gatherings in art, activism and politics
Since 2021
Different venues & online platform

Hosted by Florian Malzacher

With Athena Athanasiou, Marco Baravalle, Merve Bedir, Claire Bishop, Claudia Bosse, Tania Bruguera, Judith Butler, Phil Collins, Jodi Dean, Radha D’Souza, Mette Edvardsen, Didier Eribon, Marcelo Expósito, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius / raumlaborberlin, Isabelle Fremeaux & Jay Jordan, Oliver Frljić, Núria Güell, Alexander Karschnia / andcompany&Co., Max Haiven, Michael Hardt, Satu Herrala, Lisa Ito-Tapang, Edit Kaldor, Wolfgang Kaleck, Atiyyah Khan, jaamil olawale kosoko, Brandon LaBelle, Oliver Marchart, Renzo Martens, Markus Miessen, Alia Mossallam, Chantal Mouffe, Antonio Negri, Sibylle Peters, Milo Rau, Lady Bitch Ray, Oliver Ressler, Tino Sehgal, Jonas Staal, Nora Sternfeld, The Church of Stop Shopping, Lotte van den Berg, Eva von Redecker, Joanna Warsza, Dana Yahalomi, Ann Liv Young et al.

It matters that as bodies […] we arrive together in public. As bodies we suffer, we require food and shelter, and as bodies we require one another in dependency and desire. So this is a politics of the public body, the requirements of the body, its movement and its voice. […] We sit and stand and move as the popular will, the one that electoral politics has forgotten and abandoned. But we are here, time and again, persisting, imagining the phrase, ‘we the people’. Judith Butler, Occupy Wall Street, 2011

Soon it was no longer stage versus auditorium, but one big assembly hall, one big battlefield, one big demonstration. Erwin Piscator, The Political Theatre (1929)


The last ten to fifteen years have been marked by countless social and political movements around the world. Whether in Tunis, Cairo, Madrid or Lisbon, in Athens, New York, London or Istanbul, in post-Fukushima Tokyo, amidst Niemeyer’s iconic parliamentary architecture in Brasilia, under the umbrellas of Hong Kong or on the streets of Minneapolis: what characterises the majority of these movements and distinguishes them from many of their predecessors is their search for alternative forms of coming together, of arguing and deciding, of negotiating community and society. The potential of these assemblies lies not merely in their demands. They change reality not only by designing radical models of democracy but simply by living them.

At the same time, a new interest in models of assembly and the public sphere has awakened in the arts, in concepts in which society is not only mirrored, but constantly tried out, performed, tested, rethought or even reinvented. Court hearings on artistic freedom, religion or censorship; summit meetings at which climate targets or cultural policy are negotiated; parliaments in which the otherwise voiceless raise their voices: staging forms of gathering that tread the fine line between art and reality, theatre in particular has become a democratic arena of radical imagination.

Since 2021, the ongoing nomadic lecture series and internet platform “The Art of Assembly” has brought together more than 80 protagonists from various fields of art, activism and theory on stages in cities like Vienna, Berlin, New York, Oslo, Helsinki or Bucharest to speculate on the potential and limits of human assemblies at a time when there seem to be no certainties.

All dates, lectures, videos, podcasts etc. at: