Kulturkosmos – more than just a project

Since 1999 the association Kulturkosmos Müritz provides the official framework for us, a constantly changing and developing group that has gathered on an old military airfield in Müritz. We form a free community of fellow campaigners from various backgrounds, whose life realities, professions and domiciles may differ profoundly, but who are all willing to contribute their free time to this shared venture.

The ideological goal of our conjoint action is the attempt to approach our ideal of a self-determined life, aloof from capitalistic restraints and exploitation interests and to make utopias for us a real life experience by turning model experiments into actually viable options.

Emphasise and motor of our conjoint work is the organisation and execution of the, by now, internationally well-known Fusion-Festival. Beyond that, we still line up other projects, such as the at.tension-Festival, an interdisciplinary theatre festival that takes place every two years. But our surely biggest venture still consist in the conversion of our meanwhile more that 100 hectares measuring terrain with its grass-covered former aircraft hangars, from a military waste land into a unique culture site with countless possibilities for design and usage.

Our utopian ideas have become reality over the last 20 years. By experimenting, testing, discussing, modifying and simply doing, we’ve been able to go a long way in showing that it is possible to live, be an individual and be part of a community in ways other than the norm. This success has only been possible thanks to the wonderful guests who attend our festival and our passionate sympathizers and supporters.

Self-determined Life

The ideological goal of our conjoint action is the attempt to approach our ideal of a self-determined life aloof from capitalistic restraints and exploitation interests and to make utopias for us a real life experience by turning model experiments into actually viable options. A very high standard that constantly turns out to work it’s self off due to arising inconsistencies and incapacities, but that also collectively keeps us on track.

Contribution of time, aid money and dialectic contradictions

In general, the association does not get financed by any public funds or governmental aid money, which, not only makes us independent but also a little proud. In the last years, the only field in which the Kulturkosmos got supported by governmental funding at all was in theatre and performance, however, mostly in a pretty meek dimension.

Kulturkosmos has usually only been able to secure modest amounts of funding for the theatre and performances at its festivals from the federal, state, district and municipal governments, especially in the early days of Fusion in the late 1990s and of at.tension in 2006 and 2007.

2006 the association, for the first time, received a financing by the fund of the Federal Cultural Foundation with the amount of 50 000€, which was used for the formation of a new, independent theatre festival. With that, the at.tension was born, which has, with its three fist editions, come to be an internationally well-known theatre festival that in the short period of it’s existence already has gained quite a bit of recognition and many enthusiastic fans. 

at.tension festival was able to get a kick start thanks to the support of funding from the federal, state and municipal governments. However, in the end it was only able to take place because those involved – the whole crew and all the helpers – gave up their time for free for the project, in some cases for weeks at a time, and were able to rely on a strong network of Fusion activists.

To ensure the future of the festival and because we believe that the mutual contribution of time helps in creating an egalitarian collective, we already decided in 2008 to make the principle of honorary work a condition for the collaboration in the project for all helpers and co-workers. This demand at a future at.tension-Festival therefore, not only includes the creation of an international, fascinating and multifaceted festival at an exceptional site, with an extraordinary audience. It also implies a group dynamical process that emerges when every person involved pitches in, to ensure the best possible outcome. Because, we believe that exactly this process enables a movement to achieve great things. A collective process that will never emerge in established, hierarchically structured and subsidy dependant culture projects.

Concerning the question of how to proceed, we repeatedly discussed the problems and contradictions of public and governmental funding. With that, the Kulturkosmos has to pose the fundamental question, if a subvention-child like the at.tension can be kept alive depending on the arbitrariness of financial funding by governmental and public means, or, if we can find a way to take over responsibility and search our proper strategy to finance the festival independently. 

We don’t want any guidelines to dictate us, from which country or about what themes our programme comes or talks or which co-operations we may accelerate and expand, only because they currently describe the European tenor or conform with the subsidy emphasis of federal politics.

However, we certainly do not have any kind of money printing machine to our disposition and our income from the Fusion-Festival also is limited, in particular, since in 2010, for the first time, we limited the tickets and therefore didn’t and don’t want to register any increase of the attendance figure in the years to come. To guarantee the financing of all the important projects of the Kulturkosmos prospectively and despite inevitable cost increases, we will not only have to handle our available resources attentively, but will also have to make deductions in our propositions and intentions.

Kulturkosmos decided to grant at.tension festival a fixed sum and thanks to that it has been possible to put on the festival every two years since 2006.

We are undoubtedly in a privileged situation compared to many other cultural projects in Germany, as we are not dependent on external funding and can chop and change as we please. We want to make sure that we are able to remain independent in future too. We have therefore decided that, going forward, we want to finance at.tension festival ourselves and avoid taking any money from third parties as far possible. To give the example of at.tension 2013, the entire budget was €395,000, Kulturkosmos contributed €90,000, and the rest of the money was raised through ticket sales. Again, this was only possible thanks to the great many people who contributed their time and energy free-of-charge.

We have been in directly contact with the German Federal Cultural Foundation to share our views about the way they distribute cultural funding, and the process for calculating funding was changed in 2010 thanks to our comments.

Next to all the criticism passed on culture subsidy, we still want to thank the Federal Culture Foundation, the Ministry of Culture Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Rural District Müritz, as well as the Communities for their support. Because, if we hadn’t been funded in the past years, we also wouldn’t have accepted the challenge of organising our own theatre festival and probably would have misjudged the complex opportunities offered by this project. Also in the future, the Kulturkosmos will work on new and exciting projects that will require external funding. Herewith, every potential financer is dearly invited to support this initiative and project as best as possible.

Volunteering vs. paid employment

Countless hours of unpaid work have gone into establishing Kulturkosmos and organizing its festivals. Over all these years many, many friends and supporters have played a role in building the association. Kulturkosmos has played a role in the socialization of most of the young people from the local area, through their involvement and through the festival itself. Nearly 1000 helpers come together each year to prepare for Fusion festival in late June, creating an unbelievable dynamism that produces extraordinary results. For the festival itself there are nearly 7000 activists making it happen. The success of Kulturkosmos is therefore testimony to all those who have rolled up their sleeves and joined us to play an active role in its development. Fusion Festival is now supported by a network of almost 200 autonomous groups, which work in different areas and go above and beyond financial compensation for their work to collectively support cultural or political projects. This does not just lead to financial synergies, it also leads to inter-regional structures and networks that can then help to support at.tension festival, youth work and the activities of other associated groups.

Because the project has grown far beyond what we could ever have imagined over the years, and the fact that many Kulturkosmonauts find themselves in different situations in their lives, it is no long possible for them to work on a purely voluntary basis. The founding philosophy that everyone only contributes as much as they can and that anything further is either left or done by someone else is still true for all those who volunteer with the association.  But the reality of the situation is that there are a huge number of things that cannot be expected of volunteers and which still have to be done. That is why Kulturkosmos now employs 30 permanent employees, who mostly come from the local area and who take on all the tasks that association members and volunteers can’t do. These are jobs like gardening, the construction and maintenance of the enormous Kulturkosmos site, and the work on the guest house and workshop space that we are building, as well as the bookkeeping and accounting, and more complex organizational tasks related to the festival.

For example, Fusion Festival is one of the few large festivals worldwide that does not outsource its ticketing. The association has set up its own ticketing office in Berlin, where a mixture of employees and association members work all year round to develop our own customized solution to the challenge of administering and sending out the tickets.

In 2013, following long discussions, the association decided to no longer work exclusively with volunteers, and in some exceptional cases to employ association Kulturkosmos members or to bring some employees into the association. Despite this, it remains a stated aim of our organization that we want to create a self-sufficient working environment where people work voluntarily in the common interest.

These paid working relationships are one of the inherent contradictions in our project, but they are also a reason for our success and the respect we receive in the local area.

History

At this point, we pass on a self-portrayal in favour of an abridgement out of a book about the Kulturkosmos by Johanna Ickert.

She describes the early history of the project in the 90ies.

The project U-Site

Mid-nineties, the Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. arose from a group of artists and culture creating people, mostly coming from Hamburg. The group initially named itself “U-Site” (Underground-Site) and from 1993 onward it organised culture events at mostly remote places. Hallmark of the commonly organised events was their non-commercial character and the wide variety of the thematic orientation that provided room for the most different genres from the areas of music, theatre and performance.

Overarching goal of the group was to establish a counter-pole to the commercialisation of previously alternative culture forums (like for example Techno-Kultur). The criticism passed on established culture industry is formulated on the group’s web site www.u-site.de in the following way: “…competition, marginalisation, commercialisation and isolation increasingly define the pattern. Herewith, solidarity and social action, as well as work, motivated by other reasons than the financial appeal, just as cultural and artistic contents that are hard to merchandise get dismissed. Hereof, neither subcultures nor the “electronic music” scene and its surroundings are excluded.”

According to this, the group intended to create non-commercial events that were uphold collectively and self-dependently and would bring together various art forms, subcultures and scenes. With that, it was attempted to bring (sub-)culture to public areas and make free space reclaimable. The inclusion of political and social themes was meant to bring forward a critical public.

From the beginning of their co-operation it was important to the U-Site protagonists to enhance tolerance and to flag out in favour of cultural heterogeneity. With their events they wanted to create room for perception, cognition and creative forms of collective action and learning. Here, the targeted occupation of unused space in conjunction with music from different genres, as well as installation art work and theatre performances were meant to function as framework for the events. The idea in this context was, to provide a forum for other artists and culture creators in which they could present their work, irrespective to their commercial success. The conjunction of diverse subcultures, as described in the group’s self-portrayal, was meant to open the perspective to new and unknown areas and to bring forward thought-provoking impulses and creativity crossing genre boarders. The deliberate unconventional arrangement of the events intended to develop a specific milieu. Hereby, the focus wasn’t only put on the political or aesthetical nature of the events, but also on the access and intake of milieu knowledge. Advertisement for the semi-legal or illegal events, hold at exceptional venues, was dismissed as a matter of principle; information was only passed on by word of mouth or infrequently communicated via micro medias like flyers.

The U-Site protagonists were primarily searching for exceptional sites with a special atmosphere, which due to its cultural conversion would describe a spatial-symbolic demarcation to mainstream culture. Mostly, the venues in question were unused, abandoned industrial places that, in the course of the East German transformation, had stayed unattended. But not only vacant military or factory buildings were turned into “U-Sites”, also forest glades or the Baltic Sea beach Prora etc. tempted the group to nonofficial occupations, mostly realised with very little means. The risk of illegality, together with the actual safety hazards of the venues were put up with and were even seen as part of the event.

However, the election of the sites was only to a lesser extend motivated by the exploration of their history, but rather by the chance of subjective occupation. Hence, the ambition was to create the opportunity to experience the understanding of a site freely and individually and to “celebrate within the ruins of the past”.

With the airfield in Lärz, the group found exactly this kind of ruin-site. (…)

First events at the airfield

1996 the group was bound for the rural district of Müritz and more or less by accident discovered the unattended area of the former military airfield next to Lärz.

Although the group wasn’t really in search of a fixed location, but rather attempted the occupation of always new sites, the members were impressed by the plenty opportunities the area offered: “We had found a place that suddenly provided opportunities which than again fired our imagination. It was the area itself that proposed the direction, or better the option, to realise a festival there, in the first place.” The airfield seemed perfect to organise a bigger, continuous and annual event: “(…) we initially decided that on this area something continuous that would grow slowly and by itself should come into being.” The request, if it was possible to lease the 50hectare large area with 12 hangars, a landing strip and a small forest, from the Federal Property Office for one month in the summer was accepted. And also the administration and the regulatory authorities didn’t raise any bigger concerns.

After the group had received the approval, 1996 the first “U-Site-Gathering” with around 800 guests, took place. Like at all the other events, mostly friends and protagonists of the U-Site-network from Hamburg and Berlin attended. Due to the lack of advertisement, most locals, except those who kept their eyes and ears open, didn’t know anything about the event and didn’t get integrated in the milieu and its activity.

After the first event, a meeting with the chief officer took place, to evaluate if it was going to be possible to continue the festival or not: “(…) it seemed quite unusual to them that somebody would want to organise an event, without advertising it actively, but this wasn’t really sensed as an exclusion, but rather as an unknown concept how to realise an event.”

Placemaking as starting point for a new group-formation

After the negotiation with the local public authorities it was assured that once a year, the group could organise a festival on the area. Thus in 1997 the starting signal for the first “Fusion” was given... Till the year of 1999 the group members of the U-Site kept living in Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig and only came to the site for four weeks at a time just before the festival. For this purpose they always transported all the needed material to Lärz. “The group did everything unpaid. Neither for the artistic performances nor all the other efforts anybody got paid (…).” Like established in the U-Site’s self-portrayal, the group believed in the principle that the operational potential of the collective above all resulted from voluntarism and honorary work. There it says: “The U-Site works as a collective to which many different people contribute their time and abilities. Only their voluntary and unpaid effort makes such a project possible. (…)”. Pretty soon the question was raised, if the group should use the area in a longer term and not only lease it for 4 weeks in the summer, but rather semi-annual or even year-round. With all the effort put into the creation of the area, also came along the wish to settle under secure conditions and in favour of a sustainable development. The group had invested a maximum of energy: The area initially barely was cultivatable, first of all, the leftovers of the airport operations had to be removed: “There were tons of steel cables, concrete blocks and so on just lying around (…), it was really quite hard work to even make those areas accessible to a mower.” Besides, water and sewage lines had to be laid and the headquarters building had to be refurbished. But first and foremost, the group had started to reconstruct the buildings as well as the 12 hangars and to decorate them in extensive artistic processes. 1999 the foundation of the non-profit association “Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V.” was decided and the lease finally could be extended to a year-round contract.

With the achievement of the lease contract the work project turned into a housing project. Several group members that before only temporarily, around the festival month, lived in Lärz, now moved to the area entirely. Soon, the wish emerged to fully secure the site and buy it: “(…) the Federation only ever gave us one year lease contracts. So it seemed like: Tomorrow somebody could turn up and despite everything we’d already done here, we’d have to leave. Therefore, buying was a must, so that everything wouldn’t just go down the drain. (…)”

Increasing professionalism

In the following years the group’s organising logic changed in the sense of a continuing increase in professionalism. “(…) So at the beginning, we had a quite loose handling of our budget. (…) all the years we never wrote any financing plans or budgets. We rather went along the line of: That much we’ve got, now there’s nothing left, so now we can’t book any more acts. (…) We always just did what we felt up to. Surely we had to cut back sometimes, but we never really did that by the means of any financing plans.” Although the protagonists of the Kulturkosmos kept pointing out that the up-growth of the festival always had been an “organic growth”, the Fusion 2007, despite the lack of advertisement, already counted 36.000 visitors. In spite of the absence of any kind of general project plan, the festival continuously developed by itself. But, not only increased the number of visitors, also the construction of the area was brought forward and the programme range became much more multifaceted and ambitious. This also gave rise to the enlargement in the area of theatre till the point of the establishment of an independent, international theatre festival, the “at.tension”.

The conflict over the area as a mirror of the development of the relationship to the local residents

1999 the group decided to file an application to complete the purchase of the area. In the local public, this move provoked a broad and emotionally loaded discourse about the question what kind of impact the purchase of the area would have on the region. The debate developed, due to the great attention by the regional press, an enormous self-dynamic: With regularity the local journal printed letters by residents of Rechlin and Lärz, which within 2 years of constant debate turned into a heated dispute. The municipal council of Lärz initially opted for the purchase by the Kulturkosmos, but the mayor of Rechlin, Olaf Bauer, elected the prevention of the purchase as a “major concern of his career”.

The debate on the purchase of the area pretty quickly turned into a synonym for general questions regarding the future of the region. Thus, it was argued that the Fusion-Festival could threaten the welfare and the development of the Müritz-region existentially. The protest against the purchase by some of the locals partly sounded as follows: “Citizens of Rechlin, finally wake up! It doesn’t only concern the others, but all of us! Don’t allow that parts of the Lärzer airfield get sold to the operators of a drug-glorifying event! It’s about our children, our existence and the beauty and reputation of our region!” (“Regionalanzeiger” October 2001: 10).

The tourism association of the Mecklenburger lake-plateau also emphasised the alleged threat posed by the purchase of the area by the Kulturkosmos. Above all it was mentioned that the festival would have massive adverse effects on the still young tourism industry of the region. So it was declared that the festival would anger many tourists because of the associated noisiness. The reputation of the region as the “southern gate to the Müritz National Park” was put in jeopardy. This loss of reputation would have a sever effect on the development of tourism and with that on the development of the entire region. The fact that investors of hotels, the Retzow clinic and holiday villages had already begun to pull back and that tourists had already claimed damage compensations, would yet supply first evidences (ibid: 9). The “Ostseezeitung” printed: “(…) one pleased holidaymaker will tell three other people about it, one angered one however, will warn at least 18 of such a holiday.” At the same time it was pointed out that the consumption of and dealing with drugs would have severe effect on tourism, but above all on the local youth (“Ostseezeitung” 25.10.2001). Another argument was that the Kulturkosmos would have to pay around 1,5 million Euros for the purchase and the clearance of the area and therefore would be forced to expand the Fusion-Festival to pay off the loan. As soon as the Kulturkosmos would have gained the landed property of the Federal Property Office, it was claimed, it wouldn’t pay any attention to the interests of the local community anymore. But in fact, the association agreed to stick to a noise-limit and handed in a professed self-constraint that the Fusion would stay the only major event on the site, however, this was seriously doubted by several of the local residents. That the association “wouldn’t bring anything” to the region because due to its non-profit character it wouldn’t pay any taxes and besides it presumably wouldn’t create any places of employment, was another point of the debate (comp. “Regionalanzeiger” November 2000: 5ff.).

Above all though, the conception, of what the word “culture” would stand for, drifted way apart. For example in an open letter directed to the Kulturkosmos was put that the association members were merely “slobs organising chaotic events” that “under the “disguise of culture would look for profile and profit”. Thus, the initial intention of the association, to fight the pure capitalistic exploitation of art and culture was challenged in its core (“Neue Mirower Zeitung” 27.10.2001).

But, from other directions was also signalised the willingness to compromise. For instance, one resident of Vietzen advocated that the Kulturkosmos should continue to lease the area, so that the community would keep its influence on the events. Hereby, also the possibility of a co-operation was pointed out: “Why can’t the community, the tourism industry, the medium-sized enterprises of the region and the Kulturkosmos try and find a conjoint starting point to market the area collectively and reconstruct, arrange and use the hangars mutually under the device “The youth joins in!”?”. Herewith, it was argued, a wide ranged profession- and vacation-getaway could develop, which in fact would require a lot of time, commitment and also money, but would bring more use to the region than a single-edged major event “of which would profit thousands of party-pilgrims, but that would just make the local’s and many guest’s ears drone.” (“Regionalanzeiger” October 2001: 12).

The supporters of the association, like initially the mayor of Lärz, Hartmut Lehmann, supposed that the Kulturkosmos was definitely trustworthy. According to that, companies operating on the area, have always had a positive impression: Promises were kept, bills were always paid on time etc. Besides, the Ministry of Culture in Schwerin, the Youth Welfare Office, the School Administration Agency and the Culture Office of the rural district of Müritz commented positively on the activities held by the Kulturkosmos. Furthermore, the major pointed out: “Only in a diversity of cultures everyone can discover his clientele. (…) Approaches of the generations and also between young and old have to be accounted for. Just like the older generation lives with brass music and classic, also pop and techno need their place”. Regarding the drug problematic he claimed that this was a problem concerning the entire society, which couldn’t be solved by prohibiting the Fusion-Festival (ibid: 8).

Also the aspect of the region’s demographical development was brought up. Thus, the director of the youth hostel in Mirow pointed out that it was important to create meeting places for teenagers to prevent the external migration. Teenagers didn’t have enough space to be “for themselves” (ibid: 11). One had to fight “by any means possible” for those projects that “make the region more colourful and fertile” and support those who make themselves initiators of such (ibid).

The Kulturkosmos responded to the critic and the proposals by the local public with a continuously high willingness to mediate. That way, they comment in the “Regionalanzeiger”: “May be that the thinking of companies often is subject to the logic (…) that ownership in its most simple capitalistic principle means power and that investments have to generate yield. (…) however, for our work as a non-profit association this doesn’t have any relevance. (…) to us, as people involved in culture creation, the acceptance and respect of the people in our surroundings is of great importance.” (ibid).

Moreover, in the statement once again was pointed out that the purchase of area would form the basis of a long-term guaranty of the project. Regarding the effects on tourism, the protagonists of the Kulturkosmos emphasised that the festival “could lead to a cultural vitalisation of the region. (…) the festival visitors (of which many stay in the region before and after the festival) are already potential tourists to-be.” In addition, they called upon all parties concerned, to stay open for an “honest and constructive dialog about the Kulturkosmos and the chances of a cultural vitalisation of the region.”

In a final voting in 2001 the Kulturkosmos eventually received the permission to buy the area. Retrospectively one can assert that in the context of the discursive process effective changes in the action motives of the involved parties occurred: Thus, during the debate, both, the protagonists of the Kulturkosmos, as well as the local residents reflected fundamentally on their conjoint relation and their relation to the region. The Kulturkosmos in this context contemplated its impact on teenagers in the region just as its possibilities to give an impulse to an enormous potential of cultural development. This gave reason to the KulturCosmonauts to create further action-oriented frameworks for collective learning processes and interaction. This included for example the creation of opportunities to communicate: For instance the Kulturkosmos invited all parties concerned to an open day to visit the area and to collectively discuss all remaining questions and controversial subjects. But also in the following time the association on a regular basis organised events to bring forward a mutual integration. As an example, they organised meetings with an emphasis on local history (e.g. in memory of the CIS-troop withdrawal they organised an exhibition about the subsidiary of the concentration camp Ravensbrück in Retzow), film nights, charity concerts for the support of youth culture projects in the region and much more… With that, clear panels for encounters were created, which, due to their deliberate designation to local concerns became really attractive to open-minded (not only adolescent) residents of the region.

Following further reasons are also seen as responsible for the consolidation of the relationship between the Kulturkosmos-protagonists and the regional residents: Over the years the Fusion-Festival and eventually also the theatre-festival at.tension have come to be the major culture events in the region. The reason for the growing acceptance therefore also goes along with an enormous regional economic success, above all of the Fusion-Festival: The hotels are fully booked, the supermarket-business flourishes and many of the festival visitors stay in the region well beyond the time of the festival. Despite the initial competition and a lack of trust, in the course of time, close alliances and entrepreneurial innovations have developed. Thus, as an example, the canoe-renting-agency offers discounts for those who present their festival ticket and as an alternative to the regular bus service during the festival time, locals offer a shuttle transfer directly to the festival area.

Youth Work

The cultural influence in society issues and the socialization of young people are important aspects of our work. The Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. would like to give food for thoughts and possibilities for the confrontation with the new and unknown. Through the integration of young people into cultural activities we want to build up and encourage tolerance and cosmopolitanism. Besides family and school the arrangement of the leisure time has got an important role. The development is influenced by role models, ideals and the range of experience in their every-day-life. Worldviews get influenced through informations, perception and communication. The youth work of the Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. doesn’t lose track of these points and is composed out of Youth Camps and Theatre School Projects.

Youth Camps

During spring and summer times, several Youth Camps are conducted to cultural and socio-political priorities by Kulturkosmos or independent supports.

YOUTH THEATRE CAMP - ART CAMP
Since 2008 Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. organizes Theatre Camps in cooperation with different associations which get supported by several members of Kulturkosmos who take care and provide food.

For nine days during summer holidays the teenagers camp, rehears, prepare costumes and masks. Also the teenagers take care of the set design on their own. Most of the time the teenagers spend rehearsing for the public showing in the end. As a framework program we offer bathing in the lake, a night hike, movie theater, karaoke nights, as well as barbecue and campfire.

The sophisticated theatre plays were inspiring parents and relatives, theater enthusiasts from the region and the other young people from youth camps that were on the site as  guests.

Theatre Camps with young people from the region

The youth theatre camp was financed from 2008 to 2011 by Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V., the youth welfare offices of the Müritz (2008-2010) and Mecklenburg-Strelitz (2008) district governments, RAA MV (2010), and donations and sponsoring from the local area.

2008:    „Animal farm“
            A play free after George Orwell.

2009:    „Auf der Lauer an der Mauer“
            A self-designed theater piece for the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall.
            This production was also shown at # 3 at.tension in front of an enthusiastic
            audience.

2010:    „Zukunft ohne Ende“
            A collage of scenes of different visions for the future of the young participants
            Exciting experience for all contributors here was the participation at the festival
            "Prora 10" on Rügen.

2011:    “Stories from the rebuild”
            Young people came up with their own play based on their personal experiences
            and crossing the different genres of shadow, character and classic
            theatre.

International youth meetings - Art Camp

Since 2012 the youth camp is realized as an international youth meeting. In cooperation with the independent youth services provider (Soziale Bildung e.V.) from Rostock up to 50 - 70 young people from all over Europe meet. The realization is funded exclusively by the EU fund program "Youth for Europe". Besides cultural education through practical experiences by using different kinds of art the dispute with topics of political education in focus is marking this project.

2012:    “Migration – Connecting People – Respect Diversity”
            Created at an international youth camp, this was a cross-media theatre
            performance with short-film intervals. The films were made by the young
            people at the camp on the theme of immigration and referenced their own
            situations in life.

2013:    “Social inequality – European Society between Expectations and Reality”
            A collective project by an international group. Developed in theatre, art and
            educational media workshops to examine social justice in Europe.

2014:    “Same, same but different – gender aspects in our life”
            Audiovisual performance to the topic gender.

2015:    "Heart, Head, Hand – social and political movements in the EU"
            The result was a performance which was presented in different
            places on the area of the Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V.

2016:    "TOP DOWN & BOTTOM UP - communication and political systems"
            Thematized was communication and political systems and their
            effects on coexistence in society. At the end the results of this
            controversy were presented in a black light theatre performance.

2017:    "CHANGING THE CHANGE - challenges and pathways to sustainable
            development"
            This years topic will be the utopia and dystopia of global developments.

AJUCA

AJUCA is an alternative youth camp that has taken place since summer 2005 on the Kulturkosmos site and brings together around 300 young people every year. Through the camp, the ADUCA organizers want to offer young people from all over Mecklenburg-West Pomerania an alternative to the right-wing mainstream and bring them into contact with new perspectives and opportunities.

Get involved!
The AJUCA camp is always happy to welcome new faces, ideas or contributions, which bring more creativity and variety to the camp. If you are interested in getting involved and being part of the discussion, please get in touch. Even if you would just like to know more about AJUCA and the idea behind it, feel free to contact us.
www.ajuca.de

School Projects

Theatre days: theatre education as Workshops at school and outside of school at Müritz and Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Since spring 2009 Carolin Lindner and Nina Stemberger are working also in schools in the area around the site of the Kulturkosmos

This idea developed in order to let theatre educational projects beyond the holidays happen. Offered are one-week workshops for grades 2-9 for which the regional schools have shown great interest. The students work on different topics such as political issues using the resources of pupped-, object-, dance-, and masktheatre. Because the financial support from external sponsors is rather restrained, the Kulturkosmos finances the theatre days to a great extent. In addition, the youth offices of the districts of Müritz and Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the Heidehof Foundation and the Doris Wuppermann Foundation subsidize the workshops. The schools themselves control a small proportion to the financing.

In recent years we have worked with the following schools:

Partner Schools 2009:

  • Primary School Rechlin
  • Regional School Rechlin
  • Europa Primary School Neustrelitz-Kiefernheide
  • Primary School Blankensee

Partner Schools 2010:

  • Free Primary School Dambeck
  • Primary School Rechlin
  • Primary School Blankensee

Youth-Culture-Conveyance-Fund

On the basis of the charitable status and the non-profit character of our association, in 2007, we established a donation-fund to collect money in order to support regional youth and culture projects: The Youth-Culture-Conveyance-Fund. Background of this intent was the lack of financial means, which many projects in the area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern still have to face, and which often even put at risk their existence. Public means for youth and culture projects have become increasingly difficult to acquire over the last years and particularly self-governed culture projects and youth centers often don't stand a chance of obtaining any of the very limited conveyance means. Many of these regional projects have been part of the organizational structure of the conjoint realization of the Fusion-Festival for years now. In many respects, the festival has become an important support to many projects in the entire north of Germany. Their commitment and help gives many of our fellow combatants the chance to secure the financial situation of their own projects. By now, the Kulturkosmos-network consists of over 100 associations and projects. For many, the festival has become an existence-securing institution.

With the Youth-Culture-Conveyance-Fund we have brought into being another instrument to support and conserve left-wing structures and projects in the area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and increasingly as well in the area of rural Brandenburg. Already for the fifth year in a row, the Fund is collecting money from those who are willing and able to support youth and culture work. First and foremost, we directly address artists that perform at the festival and that are interested in helping us approach regional problems and are in the financial position to donate their payment to the Fund. Next to all the artists that perform at our stage: Tanzwiese, consistently, also well-known acts have renounced their payment in order to donate it to the Fund. The names of the artists that have donated also get published in the respective Fusion-Guide.

At this point, we want to thank everybody who has donated in the last years!

Direct Donations

You don´t have to be an artist to support the Conveyance Fund. You can just donate money on our Bank Account:

Account Nr. 530100940
Bank: Müritz Sparkasse
BLZ 15050100
IBAN: DE90150501000530100940
BIC/SWIFT: NOLADE21WRN

What happens with the money?

All the donations get collected on a separate account. Projects then can propose motions to the Kulturkosmos to get supported. Though, the motions have to be filed in written form, the decision, weather the projects gets funded or not, is made rather informal at the association’s plenum.

Conditions to get supported by the Fund are, next to the charitable status and the non-profit character of the applying project, that the emphasis is set on youth and/or culture work in the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or rural Brandenburg.

The Kulturkosmos reserves itself the right to use part of the money (max. 50%) for the realization of proper projects in the area of regional youth work. Admittedly, due to the lack of proper projects, in the last years this option was limited to the co-funding of the Theater-Youth-Camp that annually takes place on the Kulturkosmos-site. Therefore, most of the donations were paid to external projects. However, it is planned to realize more proper projects in the field of youth and culture work in the near future.

Projects that want to propose a motion to the Fund, can do this by mailing their application to mail (ätt) kulturkosmos. de.

Funded Projects

In the last years we have supported following projects:

2016

  • Initiative for a memorial to the former Uckermark concentration camp (Initiative für einen Gedenkort ehemaliges KZ Uckermark e.V.), - EUR 1.500 -
    Feminist and anti-fascist building and networking camps on the site of the former youth concentration camp for girls and young women, and later the Uckermark extermination camp.
    http://www.gedenkort-kz-uckermark.de/
  • LOBBI e.V. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (MV), - EUR 5.000 -
    PA (sound system) for rallies and demonstrations 

    http://www.lobbi-mv.de/
  • Initiative for a memorial to the Uckermark concentration camp, -EUR 250-
    Memorial service for the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Uckermark concentration camp – provision of toilets facilities.
    http://www.gedenkort-kz-uckermark.de/
  • Seeland Media Cooperative (Seeland Medienkooperative e.V.), - EUR 1.000 -
    Technical equipment for a variety of workshops teaching media skills to young people.
    http://seeland-medienkooperative.org/
  • Alternative youth center JAZ e.V. Rostock, – EUR 3000,-
    guided swimming courses for refugee women and children from collective accomodations in Rostock
    https://jaz-rostock.de/
  • antifascist press archive and education centre (apabiz e.V.), – EUR 300,-
    writer workshop Inforiot
    https://www.apabiz.de/
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania branch of the Association of German Scouts/ Nö Theater e.V., – EUR 1.500,-
    costs for the play about the NSU processes
    http://www.mv.bdp.org/http://www.noetheater.de/
  • Democratic youth forum Brandenburg (DJB) / Nö Theater e.V., – EUR 1.500,-
    costs for the play about the NSU processes
    https://www.djb-ev.de/
    http://www.noetheater.de/
  • BiKuT e.V., – EUR 600,-
    20 minutes short film „Kinderspiel" ("child's play")
    http://www.bikut.de

2015

  • Society for the promotion of European cooperatives (Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Europäischen Kooperative e.V.), - EUR 1.000 -
    Support for the three-day international congress “8 May International – against racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism” in Demmin
    
https://friedensfestdemmin.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/flyer1_druck.pdf
  • AJZ Neubrandenburg (Neubrandenburg alternative youth centre), -EUR 300-
    
Paid fee for a speaker to educate about drugs, before the concert "Techno 2.0"
    http://www.stoerungsmeldung.info/ajz/start/
  • TheaterVision2.0, - EUR 1.000 -
    
Youth summer theatre workshop https://theatervision.wordpress.com/aktuelles/fallada-oder-die-kunst-ein-un-perfektes-leben-zu-fuhren/
  • “Keimzelle Ungnade” organization collective, - EUR 1.000 -
    Supporting the organization of the political and cultural festival „Keimzelle Ungnade“ – literally “germ cell for ungraciousness” – near Greifswald
    
http://keimzelle.blogsport.de/
  • Ladyfest Rostock, - EUR 500 -
    Supporting the organsiation of a four-day DIY Ladyfest on the topic of “spaces”
    http://ladyfestrostock.blogsport.de/programm/
  • AJZ Kita Ribnitz-Damgarten e.V. (Alternative youth center Ribnitz Damgarten e.V.), - EUR 1.000 -
    To finance further building projects after a fire in 2014
    http://ajz-kita.jimdo.com/
  • Initiative for a memorial for the former Uckermark and Ravensbrück female concentration camps, - EUR 500 -
    Supporting the organsiation of international feminist building and networking camps in at the former Uckermark concentration camp, and later extermination camp, for girls and young women.
    
http://www.gedenkort-kz-uckermark.de/

2014

  • Paktische Pädagogik e.V., - EUR 4.000 -
    Supporting the organization of the Mensch Meier project
    https://menschmeier.berlin
  • AJZ Kita Ribnitz-Damgarten e.V., - EUR 2.000 -
    To rebuild an alternative youth centre after a fire, which was probably arson.

    http://ajz-kita.jimdo.com
  • IKuWo Greifswald e. V. // Salon de la Critique, - EUR 250 -
    Banned Films – a critical examination of how Nazi propaganda films have been treated. Film viewings, panel discussions and academic introductions to the subject.
    
http://ino.blogsport.de/2014/10/16/greifswald-salon-de-la-critique-im-wintersemester-201415/
  • Rostock branch of the Association of German Scouts & the QueerFilmFest Rostock Initiative, - EUR 500 -
    The 
QueerFilmFest Rostock has been taking place since 2009 and aims to offer a platform for queer films while also taking a stand against discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation and definitions. The QFF offers access to films outside of mainstream cinema.
    http://www.queerfilmfest.de/
  • St. Pauli Archiv e.V. / Initiative for a memorial for the former Uckermark and Ravensbrück female concentration camps, - EUR 1.000 -
    A documentary about the exclusion of “asocial” people in Nazi Germany and its consequences right up to the present day. The film focuses on the story of Maria Potrzeba, a former inmate of the Uckermark youth concentration camp.

    http://www.gedenkort-kz-uckermark.de/assets/downloads/berichte/2009_portrait_maria_p.pdf

2013

  • AJZ Neubrandenburg (Neubrandenburg alternative youth centre),
    - EUR 400 -
    To support a training weekend away for the crew running the AJZ NB to strengthen the team and encourage better communication between the actors involved in a different setting.
    
http://www.stoerungsmeldung.info/ajz/start
  • Awiro Rostock, - EUR 1.500 -
    http://awiro.blogsport.eu/
  • MV state branch of the Association of German Scouts (Bund Deutscher PfadfinderInnen Landesverband MV), - EUR 500 -
    
To support the QueeerFilmFest in Rostock

    http://www.queerfilmfest.de/

    http://www.bdp.org/mecklenburg-vorpommern/
  • Break Tribe Music e.V., - EUR 2.000 -
    To help put on OBOA Festival, a free outdoor festival in Oderbruch. 

    http://www.oboa.de/wordpress/
  • Content e.V., - EUR 1,000 -
    
To support a week-long workshop with cultural and media activists from Tunisia and Egypt in Tangersdorf in Brandenburg.
    
http://kanalb.org/
  • German association promoting the work of the global green movements (Deutscher Förderverein f. d. Arbeit globaler grüner Bewegungen e.V.),
    - EUR 1.000 -

    
Łužyskicamp 2013 – the third climate and energy camp in Lusatia from 13 to 21 July 2013 in Rohne/Rowne. The climate and energy camp seeks to create a space where climate and energy activists can come together with the local population, who are directly affected by the coal mining in the area, to develop creative forms of resistance, share knowledge and enjoy cultural events.
    
http://www.lausitzcamp.info/archiv-lausitzcamp/info
  • Ikuwo Greifswald e.V., - EUR 800 -
    On 12 October 2013 the band Feine Sahne Fischfilet cooperated with local groups and structures to put on a day of action in Greifswald. As part of this IKuWo, an international cultural and living project, organized a Human Rights Theatre featuring the play Asylmonolge. 

    http://ikuwo.de/
  • Initiative for a memorial for the former Uckermark youth concentration camp (Initiative Gedenkort Jugend-KZ Uckermark e.V.), - EUR 1.300 -
    For the organization of a feminist, anti-fascist building and networking camp in August 2013
    
http://www.gedenkort-kz-uckermark.de/assets/downloads/baucamps/2013_Campbericht.pdf
  • JKS ARThus e.V., - EUR 500 -
    To help fund a non-commercial theatre project “Freispiel” (freeplay) – an interregional meeting for those interested in improv theatre with various workshops for all participants to prepare for a joint performance on 28 April 2013. 

    http://www.arthus.de/
  • JWP „MittenDrin“ e.V. (Neuruppin),- EUR 1.500 -
    To financially support the purchase of a new equipment for youth residential project 
 JugendWohnProjekt "MittenDrin", which aims to increase the political and socio-cultural awareness of young people in Neuruppin and the surrounding area.
    
http://jwp-mittendrin.de/blog/
  • Kinderring Berlin e.V., - EUR 500 -
    The VOSIFA initiative called for the donation to invite “group R” from Strom&Wasser featuring The Refugees to the Open Air for Open Minds.

    http://vosifa.de/
http://www.kinderring-berlin.de/
  • Greifswald centre for culture and projects (Kultur- und Initiativenhaus Greifswald),
    - EUR 2.000 -
    To financially support the purchase and planning for the building of a centre for cultural projects and associations at Stralsunder Straße 10 in Greifswald
    
http://www.greifkultur.org/
  • PolenmARkT e.V. Greifswald, - EUR 1.000 -
    To put on the PolenmARkTes, a festival in Greifswald to celebrate Polish culture, music, literature and art.
    
http://www.phil.uni-greifswald.de/fileadmin/mediapool/slawistik/Projekte/polenmARkT.2013.pdf
  • Stattwerke e.V. Neuruppin, - EUR 1.500 -
    To implement the musical phantasmagoria with school children and young people in the Wittstock and Kyritz area.
    
http://www.stattwerke.de
  • Utopia e.V. Frankfurt/ Oder, - EUR 3.000 -
    The fund to promote youth culture (Jugend- Kulturförderfond) gave money to support Utopia’s educational, youth and cultural work. In 2013 this included various anti-racist and anti-fascist educational events, the co-financing of the alternative “Garage” event space, the refugee protest in Eisenhüttenstadt and the sponsoring of “Stolperstein” in Frankfurt/Oder. A “Stolperstein”, literally “stumbling block”, is a commemorative plaque on the ground to commemorate a victim of Nazi tyranny.
    
http://utopiaffo.blogsport.de/


2012

2011 

  • Antirassistische Initiative Rostock (AIR)- EUR 250 -
    Support for the „Anti-racist Awareness Week“ 2011
  • Demokratisches Jugendforum Brandenburg e.V., – EUR 4.000 -
    Education- Self-assertion-seminar
    www.djb-ev.de
  • Belziger Forum e.V., – EUR 1.500 -
    Infocafé „Der Winkel“
    www.derwinkel.de
  • Kultur und Toleranz e.V. Gadebusch, – EUR 1.500 -
    Sommerschlacht-Festival in Wakenstätt
    www.sommerschlacht.de
  • Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Europäischen Kooperative e.V. Hof Ulenkrug,
    EUR  1.610 -
    Peace-Festival „Demmin 8. Mai“
  • Ladyfest Rostock 2011,– EUR 1.000 -
    myspace.com/ladyfesthro/blog
  • Ecotopia, – EUR 1.000 -
    Prearrangement- Meating in Wiesenburg August 2011
    www.ecotopia2010.org
  • SoBi e.V. - Soziale Bildung e.V. Rostock, – EUR 3.000 –
    Extension of the infrastructure of the „Peter-Weiss-Haus”
    www.peterweisshaus.de

2010

2009

2008

  • Radio LOHRO,  - EUR 1.000,-
    Project "Radio-workshop LOHRO"  setup of the political editorial office
    www.lohro.de
  • SoBi e.V. – Soziale Bildung e.V. Rostock, -  EUR 4.000,-
    Support for the construction of the house „Peter-Weiss-Haus”
    www.peterweisshaus.de
  • Kultur und Toleranz e.V. (KuT),– EUR 1.500 -
    www.kut-gadebusch.de
  • Awiro e.V. – Alternatives Wohnen in Rostock, – EUR 500 -
    http://awiro.blogsport.de/
  • AJZ Neubrandenburg, – EUR 1.000 -
    www.ajz-nb.de

2007

Guest- and Workshop House „Lehrlingsheim“

Since spring 2009 the Kulturkosmos has begun a new large project. It involves the construction of a guest- and workshop house in the immediate vicinity of the club facilities.

basic thoughts

The Kulturkosmos develops for more than 10 years a cultural event center on the airfield. Besides cultural work the association is facing more and more the field of youth work. An increasing number of events and activities which can be assigned to the field of youth work and youth help are taking place like international youth camps, sports camps and workshops. Although we can offer a wide space for artistic and cultural use, we do not have accommodation available to accommodate people who want to use these spaces. While it is possible during summer time to stay in tents or caravans, we do miss possibilities for accommodation in the colder months to reach a full utilization of the existing potential.

guest house

We did plan to build premises for accommodation for guests and users on a long hand. The original plan to extent the former headquarter building was given up in the moment when it became clear that it would be possible to buy the former accommodation for apprentices of the Schiffswerft Rechlin.

The object:
The area is located between Rechlin and Retzow left the B 198.

The house was built in the 1930s in the context of the military usage of the airfield in Lärz. After the war, the one floored building was used only temporary until the end of the sixties. In 1970 the object was passed to the shipyard of Rechlin and got rebuild to a bigger accommodation with a second floor for apprentices. Besides a flat for a caretaker the house offers space for the accommodation of 100 apprentices. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the decline of the shipyard the building was empty again and became a leftover for vandalism. In 2008 the Kulturkosmos bought the building but it was a ruin and completely in need of renovation.

But the location, size and concept of space are perfect for us.

The object is located in the middle of a huge field, a few hundred meters north from the area of the Kulturkosmos. A foot and bicycle path is planned to have a direct connection to the Kulturkosmos.

workshop - and conference center

We don't expect an all year and regular utilization as a guest house (accoumodation) for the cultural field. But such an utilization is necessary for the space to independently contribute itself. We planned a concept with a wide range of usage.

We would like to create a meeting place for young people and adults in this house. Through our activities, particularly through the Fusion Festival, an extensive network of initiatives, associations, professionals and groups emerged in recent years. We are a network with many partners. We think that the premises as a seminar house makes a diverse use and flexible arrangement possible. In order to maintain openness and to promote diversity there should be an understanding of different variants of the use of the house. These include the accommodation of youth groups, as well as the awarding of space to groups of all ages for the organization of conferences, seminars and workshops. The house is also open for all kinds of groups who would like to spend a relaxing and inexpensive weekend together at a nice, quiet place to do whatever they like. The organization of the sleeping possibilities are flexible. Besides the flat of a care taker there will be four residential units each with a living/seminar room, cooking facilities and a total of 16 bedrooms. The bedrooms can be assigned to the living/seminar room in a flexible way. This means there is space available for small, middle and big groups. The planned amount of beds is 34 and with some extra beds there can be up to 45 beds offered. A central dining room with a large kitchen and a separate sports/ seminar room, and a sauna area are parts of the planning.

Realization

We have gradually been constructing this building and the surrounding site since 2009, with the support of local construction workers and tradesmen and women, as well as journeymen and women (apprentices who travel widely to gain practical experience in order to become masters of their craft). Aside from these people, who have always joined the project on a short-term basis, we have done our best to manage the project independently. First of all, we had to discuss the planning permission for the modernization and building work with the municipal and district authorities. Then the building had to be fitted with a new roof to prevent it falling into further disrepair. Then we received the support of the FBS, a federation of journeying craftspeople, who in autumn 2009 came together to voluntarily work on the new roof. In autumn 2010 “Axt und Kelle” another group of around 30 journeying craftspeople came together for their annual meet and worked together on the project to give the project another boost. After the basic structure was in some parts of the building was complete, it was possible in spring 2011 to start installing heating, plumbing and electicity. In 2012 the basic structure was most or less complete, and from 2013 we were able to start with extensions and the façade. As the planning and construction was not subject to any time pressure and moved forwards in short bursts, it was possible to work with an unusually degree of care and creativity. The journeymen and women have added some really extraordinary featuresto some parts of the building. The bedrooms have also been designed by various different groups of artists. The house is still an evolving construction site, but it has developed its own particular style. Over the past two years, we have used it to accommodate artists performing at the festival. Since 2016, other groups closely associated with Kulturkosmos have also used the building when there has not been a festival or event on. We are aiming to have the building entirely finished by late 2017.