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Mobile Academy Berlin 2004 is a
project by Hannah Hurtzig and Hebbel am Ufer in cooperation with Akademie der Künste. Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfond.

Scholarships: THEOREM (European association supported by the program Culture 2000 of the European Union) + LOGO und Open
Society Institute Tadschikistan,
Soros Foundation Moldavien,
Muzeum Ljubljana

With kind support from:
Pro Helvetia (swiss culture founda-
tion), Goethe Instituts of Accra /
Ghana, Moscow / Russia and
Munich (central office) as well as the
Ilkhom Theatre School of Drama,


The MOBILE ACADEMY BERLIN is the successor of the international Theatre Academy Ruhr that was held in Bochum in 1999, and has now been moved to Berlin with a new thematic focus. The model of the Academy combines interdisciplinary course work with fieldwork, theory and activism. The MOBILE ACADEMY not only teaches techniques and methods of actual art production, but also experiments with strategies to avoid art and artistry: Learning always means to confront ones own prejudices.

Fake Lore - Who's That Girl?

In the 1960s, Fake Lore was an American "battle cry" employed field-specifically in a scholarly controversy ABOUT true folklore, the "real stuff". Fakelore meant fake folklore. Hard to say what the "real stuff" ever was; deep in provincial Hesse, the Brothers Grimm discovered and wrote down the genuinely illiterate woman's oral narrations of fairy tales. Although it soon came out that this was actually a well-read, upper-crust lady whose native tongue was French, the myth of Grimm's Fairy Tales as a German folk national monument remained uncontradicted. Current research is more concerned with the production, the societal function, and the acquisition rituals of folklore, and that means asking whose nostalgic expectations and wishes attribute credibility to a particular cultural expression - despite constantly quoting, faking, and copying cultural forms. We regard the band Kraftwerk as the real German folklore!

Let's define fakelore for the Mobile Academy as an urban, synthetic construct made of invented traditions, counterfeited and cobbled together, often of short duration, and needed to generate urban identity: An urban folklore in the societal gap between the normality of everyday culture and nationalistic pathos, between ethnic identity and the ideologization and mystification of the Other.

In teaching sessions, practical tasks, field research, activities, and presentations, the Academy will investigate some of the critically lacerated slogans that we associate with fakelore: identity, authenticity, collective authorship, national values, and handicrafts, and travestize them in an (artistic) operable process. The result will be dramatic scenes, musical performances, advertisements, staged tours of the city, video clips, radio plays, and interventions in the urban space.
A lecture program delves into the mystification of formerly revolutionary movements as patriotic pop folklore, the return of apocalyptic biblical visual worlds in contemporary representations of war, the influence of voodoo culture on American pop culture, the cultivation of the mythos of traditional trademarks like Mercedes Benz in India and Africa, and the recycling of tribal symbols in mass-produced Nigerian video soaps. The program offerings include group visits to performances and artists' studios, as well as tours of the city that focus on the topic of homeland/outland, especially conceived for the students and conducted by experts on Berlin. The site of the Academy is the Hebbel am Ufer, an "international theater-combine in Kreuzberg district that opens itself up to urban reality and creates space for the modes of expression of the various national communities". The Mobile Academy is an international meeting place and network, a camp, and an actionistic concept operating in the city. About 150 participants comprise a temporary "imagined community" that, in three weeks, will create an image of itself and produce "real stuff".