documentary based arts
The Berlin and Hamburg based COSTA COMPAGNIE was founded by Felix Meyer-Christian in 2009 as an open collaboration of interdisciplinary working artists during his studies at the Conservatory for Music and Theatre in Hamburg. The works of the past years combine documentary, performative, cinematic and choreographic methods with an essayistic, multi-perspective narrative. The group pursues their concept of an Archeology of the Present and the focus of several works has been global war- and conflict zones, processes of transformation and the human within. Because stories matter. Not singular ones, but many stories. Multitudes! COSTA CIE. thus conducts interviews with the people on site and gathers film- and audio-footage, such as in South Sudan (2019), Afghanistan (2014), the US (2014/16), UK (2019), Israel (2015-17), Russia (2012), Fukushima/Japan (2012), Thailand (2019), Norway (2017), Lebanon (2013) and Iraq (2017).
Part of the filming is conducted with drones and 360°-cameras and assembled in immersive media performances and films. Meanwhile the group works on developing documentary and performative content in virtual reality. In their most recent work OK, GOOGLE, the Costa Cie. is performing text and media together with the first fully operational Artificial Intelligence inside a performance space. Apart from these technical rather complex setups, the group also researches into analogue immersive settings, by using imaginary trips as a practice of participation, together with the audience.
Members and collaborators come from the fields of directing, choreography and contemporary dance, audio, video, visual- and performing arts, computer science, stage design, theater sciences and geography. Their academic backgrounds include the Theatre Academy of Hamburg/University of Music and Theatre, the University of Visual Arts Berlin, the Institute for Applied Theatre Science in Giessen, the Humboldt University Berlin, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Visual Arts Hamburg. All members also work in other contexts and sometimes a production includes just 2 or 3 and sometimes up to 15 artists. Almost each work aims to integrate new artists into the group.
Productions, partially study-related, have been presented within
// the Independent Scene at the at IMPULSE-Theater-Festival 2016 at FFT Düsseldorf, at Kampnagel Hamburg, at Ballhaus Ost Berlin, at Mousonturm Frankfurt, the Theaterdiscounter Berlin, the Lichthof Theater Hamburg, the Residency Program of Fleetstreet Theater Hamburg, the Your-Chance-Festival Moscow,
// at State- and City-Theaters such as the Körber Studio Junge Regie 2012 at Thalia Theater Hamburg, the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, at Theater and Orchestra of Heidelberg, at Staatstheater Mainz, the St. Pauli Theater Hamburg, the Outnow-Festival at Theater Bremen and the Theater Osnabrück
// at Institutes and Universities at the Goethe Institut New York City, the Fergusson Dance Theater at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie (NY, USA), at Alfred Institute Tel Aviv, at Sacharov Centre Moscow/Intl. Lab for Documentary Theatre and
// at Galeries, Art Museums und Exhibition Centres such as the Gallery Mario Kreuzberg and the Circle-1-Gallery in Berlin, the Art Museum Harburger Bahnhof in Hamburg, Cuxhavener Art Museum, the Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv and the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro.
The company has been funded by the National Performance Net, the Mellon Foundation, City of Hamburg Department for Cultural Affairs, the Hamburg Cultural Foundation, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation, the Mara and Holger Cassens Foundation, the Ilse and Horst Rusch Foundation, the Zeit Ebelin Foundation and Gerd Bucerius, the Fleetstreet Residency Programme, the Albert Töpfer Foundation and the Fonds for Performing Arts.
From 2013 until 2015 the group was funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation for the two-year residency program „Fonds Doppelpass“ together with the Theater and Orchester of Heidelberg. The project CONVERSION focused on the draw-down of American forces from Heidelberg after 68 years of presence as well as the draw-down of German and American forces from Afghanistan.
In 2016-17 the COSTA CIE. was touring their production CONVERSION / AFTER AFGHANISTAN at the Ballhaus Ost Berlin, Theater am Lend Graz, Impulse Festival Düsseldorf and Kampnagel Hamburg, as well at Vassar College, NY, and the Goethe Institut NYC, USA.
From 2018 – 2020 the new “Fonds Doppelpass” project FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE together with the State Theater Nuremberg, the State Theater Oldenburg, the Edith Russ House for Media Art and the Ballhaus Ost Berlin for guest performances will follow. Interview based research will take place in Germany, England, Catalonia, Mozambique and South Sudan.
In 2019, the science-arts-project BETWEEN WORLDS / Global Tales of Outsourcing Dementia Care with filming in Northern Thailand, funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation and partnering Costa Compagnie with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and Newcastle University, will take place in Berlin and Newcastle, UK.
Felix Meyer-Christian (Artist / Director / Performer / Author) mostly works by means of journalistic and cinematic on-site research and interviews in non-European countries and presents genre-spanning works in the fields of performance, film, dance, theater and fine arts. His works, many of which are filmed in areas of conflict and war, focus on global transformation processes and live from the direct exchange with the people on site, whose stories and voices are scarcely present in inner European discourses, seeking the connections between diametrically opposed realities.
Felix completed studies in theater directing at the Theater Academy of Hamburg (Conservatory of Music and Theater) in 2012. He also holds a Bachelor and Master Degree (2007) in Geography, International Law and Environmental Management from the Humboldt- and Free University of Berlin and the University of Lisbon, with several internships in Bhutan, Peru and the U.S. During this time, Felix focused on climate change and disaster risk reduction, specifically with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
In addition to the projects listed above, he was selected as a director for the Koerber Studio of Young Directors at the Thalia Theater in 2012, as well as the International Forum of the Berliner Festspiele, documentary theater laboratories in Moscow and Budapest and “Author-meets-Director” at the Statetheater Mainz and UniT-Graz. In 2014, Felix staged the world premiere of “The Great Zoological Pandemic” by Natascha Gangl at the Statetheater Mainz and has also worked as a dramaturge for the Japanese choreographer Chikako Kaido (Düsseldorf) since. In 2018 he was selected to participate in the EU-funded film program “European Social Documentary” as well as in the IDFA DocLab Academy at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Katharina Kellermann (Audio) studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen, since then she has worked as an auido artist in the field of performance, choreography, installation and art in public space. She was involved in various performance projects (at Mousonturm Frankfurt, Sophiensäele Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Theater und Orchester Heidelberg among others). She is part of the feminist performance and media art collective SWOOSH LIEU, which was honored with an invitation to Tanzplattform 2014 with their performance The Factory – eine Besetzungsprobe. She has created soundwalks, audio pieces and installations, such as a series of radio plays for the Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt, the site-specific audio installation Images from tomorrow – a walking monument in the area of the former Hospital Barracks in Heidelberg and recently the multichannel audioinstallation In the vicinity – an assembly in between history and memory at CCA Tel Aviv.
In her work she considers music and sound as a equal medium of the theatralic process, in several productions she is performing live. She deals with sound-based forms of commemoration and the transformation of visual phenomenas into the acoustic medium. In doing so, she tries to develop formal-aesthetic approaches based on emancipatory (feminist, postcolonial) discourses and to create temporary heterotopias.
Since 2015 she is a PhD candidate at the graduate school Performing Citizenship (HCU,K3, Fundustheater – Hamburg) with an artistic research project on Citizenship and politics of remembrance. Sound as a commemorative cultural medium in postcolonial Hamburg. Involved in HEART OF DARKNESS (2012) / FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 1 & 2 (2013-16) / PICTURES FROM TOMORROW (2014) / OK, GOOGLE (2018)
Lives and works in Berlin. She studied Audiovisual Communication in Valencia, as well as Film and Visual Communication in Geneva, Cultural Studies in Bremen, Lighting and Design in Buenos Aires. Since 2008 she works on interdisciplinary, cultural projects in the areas of documentary film, photography and product design in Latin America and Europe. She also participated in “European Social Documentary – EsoDoc International” 2012, and “Mediane – Diversity Inclusiveness in European Media” 2014. Together with Pablo Ocqueteau, she works on the subject of identity-image-materiality. Your works include u. a. the interactive documentary “Aysén Profundo” (funded by Fondart Chile and UNESCO, nominated for One World Media Award 2013, Biennale de Artes Mediales BAM17), the participatory photography project “Selfies from Oranienplatz” (EMoP 2014), the Image composition of the films “Punishment Island” (Winner movie Visioni dal Mondo 2017, Etnofilmfest 2018, Toscana Filmmakers 2018, Wales African Film Festival 2017) and “The Magic Legacy” (Official selection Festival dei popoli 2015, special mention Bellaria Film Festival 2016) – both directed by Laura Cini.
Most recently, they developed the hand-crafted loudspeakers “Mapuguaquén” (sponsored by Fondart 2016 and PRAE Corfo 2017, winners of the 2015 Green Product Award, Special Mention Salone Satellite de Milán 2015, finalist Iberoamerican Design Biennale BID16, Sello de Excelencia en Innovación Chile 2016, currently Residence in “Sound Hub Denmark”). Since 2014 she also works in the press department of the Berlinale, where she was last responsible for the press dossier and the coordination of the press photographers. Participated in EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020) / BETWEEN WORLDS (2019)
Franziska Merlo (Production Manager), lives and works in Berlin. After studying cultural and media sciences in Düsseldorf and Nantes, she studied in Hildesheim and at the Paris VIII Master’s degree in staging the arts and the media, which she completed with a thesis on object-film constellations in the work Laure Prouvosts. She gained her first professional experience at film festivals, including at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, the Festival de Cannes and at the Berlinale, where she worked for two years in the press department. For the Wolf Cinema in Berlin, she gives films and moderates film talks. Involved in FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020) / BETWEEN WORLDS (2019)
(Costume / stage) – completed first a training as upholstery before she studied in Hannover in 2004 under Prof. Maren Christensen costume design. First own works were created with the directors Andreas Kriegenburg at the Deutsches Theater Berlin, with Marco Stormann at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and Maria Ursprung in the Thalia Gaussstraße. The piece “Kohlhaas. Frei nach Kleist. “(Director: Felix Meyer-Christian / Costa Compagnie), for which she developed the stage and costume design together with Lani Tran-Duc, received an invitation to the Körber Studio Junge Regie 2012. Since the summer of 2012 she works as a freelance stage and costume designer, among others at the Theater Lübeck, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Konzerttheater Bern and as a member of the Costa Compagnie in the Fleetstreet Theater Hamburg, at the Theater und Orchester Heidelberg and with Nicolas Stemann for the Wiener Festwochen. Involved in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 1 & 2 (2013-16)
(Stage / costume), born in 1982, studied architecture at the University of Arts in Berlin and the ETSAV Barcelona from 2002 to 2009. During her studies she worked for the architecture firm David Chipperfield Architects and at the Munich Kammerspiele with Annette Kurz. In 2009 she graduated with a thesis on choreographic spaces at the Kottbusser Tor, where she dealt with the production of space in an urban context. Since 2010, his own works, u.a. from 2012-2016 with the Costa Company and since 2016 with Swoosh Lieu, as well as with the directors Luk Perceval, Alexander Simon, Maria Ursprung, Elise von Bernstorff and Nicolas Stemann. Lani lives and works as a stage and costume designer in Hamburg. Involved in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 1 & 2 (2013-16)
(Dance / performance) – studied contemporary and classical dance at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt am Main. After completing his studies, he was engaged at the Oldenburg State Theater, where he spent two years working with, among others, Jan Pusch, Club Guy & Roni and Tero Saarinen.
After a long stay in Latin America he worked together with Reinhild Hoffmann at Tanztheater Bremen. Since then works for Jan Pusch at the Staatstheater Braunschweig and since 2012 regularly as part of the Costa Compagnie. Since 2015 he also works with Billinger & Schulz (inter alia Tanzplattform 2016) and since 2017 with Antje Pfundter on Kampnagel Hamburg. Participated in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / OK, GOOGLE (2018)
(Dance / performance) – lives and works since 2007 as a dancer, performer and choreographer mainly in Berlin. Her practice involves the expansion of sensory perception and intuition. Her background is ballet, street dance, soul dance, contemporary dance and improvisation. She has great influences from Julyen Hamilton, Renate Graziadei, Ingo Reulecke, Maya M. Carroll, Eva Karczag Bettina Neuhaus, Kirstie Simson and Zen Meditation.
She worked as a dancer for many choreographers: Louise Wagner, Micha Purucker, Choy Ka Fai, Gerhart Hauptmann Theater Görlitz-Zittau and from 2015 with the Costa Company. In addition, Akemi collaborated with various artists from the fields of audio art, video and choreography in Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Japan, among others. Several times at the Kaaitheater, Brussels between 2012 and 2015. In April 2014 she taught as a guest artist at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Participated in CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / FASCION (2017) / 360°-Lab (2017) http://akeminagao.wix.com/akemi-nagao
Miguel Murrieta Vasquez (Video) born in Guayaquil, is an Ecuadorian media artist, based in Hamburg. He has a German Bachelor degree in Sound Engineering in Media Technology and a Masters degree in Time-Based Media (sound & vision). In his line of work he combines engineering and arts. His first sound installation was in the State Residenz Theater in Munich and he also worked long term for the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Meanwhile, he has been active already in 16 different countries and is an expert in documentary film productions, including two scientific expeditions in Mexico and the Antarctic. Miguel is currently working for a German feature film about Afghanistan and has also been collaborating with the costa compagnie as their video artist in 2015 – 2018 and ongoing. He worked in various sound, opera and film projects are scheduled in 2016/17, in Germany, Switzerland, England, Ethiopia and and has been working two productions in Antarctica. Participated in CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / OK, GOOGLE (2018)
(Performance) lives in Berlin, studied acting at the HfS »Ernst Busch«. Even before the training member of P14 on the 3rd floor of the Volksbühne Berlin. Guest engagements at the Schauspiel Frankfurt and at the Schaubühne Berlin. After graduation, member of the ensemble at Schauspiel Stuttgart. Since 2013 freelance actor. Since then collaborations with the costa compagnie in Heidelberg and on guest performances, with Marc Wortel at the Frascati Theater in Amsterdam, with principle Gonzo, Daniel Schrader and Sebastian Mauksch at the Ballhaus Ost – and with Ulrich Rasche at the Residenztheater Munich, Schauspiel Frankfurt, at the Konzert Theater Bern, as well as at the Sophiensaelen in Berlin. Involved in CONVERSION 1-2 (2013-17)
Programming / Video / Mapping), lives and works in Berlin, studies of technical computer science at the HAW Hamburg. Develops software since 2008 and specializes in audio / video applications. Conceived and realized installations and came to Performing Arts through Creative Coding. Erik was the Master of Disaster for Video FASCION and EMPIRE OF OIL. Participated in FASCION (2017) / THE 360 ° LAB (2017) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / OK, GOOGLE (2018) / FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020)
Jascha Viehstädt (Dance / Choreography) – MA Choreography at the Inter-Univercity Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT) / HfS Ernst Busch. Graduated in contemporary dance from the Contemporary Dance School Hamburg in July 2011. Accompanying studies in “Cultural Management and Media Management” at the University of Music and Theatre Hamburg. Workshops and dance classes in ballet, modern, choreography / composition and improvisation among others with Wanda Golonka, Ingo Reulecke and Manuel Alfonso Pérez Torres.
Starting to concentrate on his own choreographic development since 2011, works has been shown in Uferstudios Berlin, BAT-Berlin and Kampnagel Hamburg. Engagements as dancer and performer in various free productions at Kampnagel and K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie Hamburg as well as in projects of the Hamburg Theatre Academy, as Guestdancer at the Staatsballett Hannover and the municipal theater of Lübeck. Since 2009 Jascha is a member of the COSTA CIE as performer and choreographer and is touring with CONVERSION.
Studied Modern German Literature, Modern Greek Studies and German as a Foreign Language at the Free University of Berlin. Dramaturge at the Autorenlounge 2012 of the Kaltstart Festival Hamburg and installation of the reading “Jiggy Porsche Dives” by Olivia Wenzel. Dramaturgy at the “Heart of Darkness” of the Costa Compagnie in Hamburg in September 2012 and the double pass project “Conversion” from 2013-2016, as well as Sebastian Kreyer’s production “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams at the Schauspiel Köln, which is part of the festival “Radikal Jung 2013 “was invited. From 2014 – 2015 she was a dramaturge at the Staatstheater Darmstadt and since 2016/17 again at the Schauspiel Köln, with stations as an editor at the Theatertreffen Berlin. HEART OF DARKNESS (2012) / PICTURES FROM TOMORROW (2014) / CONVERSION 1 & 2 (2013-16)
Zahava Rodrigo (Installation / Mixed Media / Stage / Costume)
Zahava Rodrigo develops stage and costume pictures for works in music, dance and spoken theater and works u. a. with the directors Leonie Böhm, Benjamin van Bebber, Felix Meyer-Christian and the group Costa Compagnie at city theaters and independent production houses. Projects have led them in recent years u. a. to Kampnagel Hamburg, Theater Bremen, Staatstheater Mainz, Radialsystem V, Volksbühne Berlin, Theater Oberhausen and Ballhaus Ost. In addition, she designed installation works for exhibitions at the Cuxhaven Kunstverein, the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg and the Ruhrtriennale 2015.
After studying philosophy and German at the University of Potsdam, she studied from 2009 at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg with a focus on stage design. During her master’s degree, Master of Fine Arts degree 2015, she was a scholarship holder of the Friends of the HfbK. Zahava lives in Berlin. Participated in BOOK 2 – GOING HIGH (2014) / HOW TO KILL SOMEBODY (2016) / FASCION (2017) / THE 360 ° LAB (2017) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18)
(Video) lives, works and studies in Hamburg. His professional career began as a sound engineer at the Deutsches Theater Göttingen under the direction of Reimar de la Cevallerie. He then began studying audio and electrical engineering in Graz. In 2008, he joined the small television station OUBS in Helsinki. His field of activity included all tasks and processes of television production. The station provided plenty of space for artistic development, so that J. P. had a lot of experience in front of and behind the camera, the microphone and the moderation couch.
Since 2009 J. P. Medientechnik studies at the University of Applied Sciences, gives workshops on sound synthesis and works as a video artist in Hamburg for independent projects and at theaters all over the republic; et al with the director Gernot Grünewald at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Residenztheater München, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Theater Bremen and the Körber Studio Junge Direktion 2011 as well as in the collaborative framework as a member of the COSTA CIE. Involved in HEART OF DARKNESS (2012) / FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 1 & 2 (2014-16) / HOW TO KILL SOMEBODY (2016)
Hauke Heumann (Performance) was born in Lübeck and studied German Language, Literature Studies and Gender Studies in Hamburg and Berlin. Afterwards he completed an acting degree at te University of Fine Arts Berlin. From 2005 to 2008 he worked for the City Theater Aachen. Continuous collaboration with the performance group Gintersdorfer/Klaßen since 2006. He also works regularly with Johannes Müller for Sophiensaele Berlin and the State Opera of Munich, participated at the International Forum of the Berlin Theatertreffens in 2012. From fall 2012 Hauke Heumann worked with Gintersdorfer/Klaßen as artist in residence at the City Theater Bremen in the program Doppelpass of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. He lives and works as freelancing actor in Berlin. Participated in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / FASCION (2017) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020).
Matthias Reiling (Music / Sounddesign)
– lives and works in Hamburg as a DJ, studio musician and producer. For years, he has been touring regularly for worldwide live performances with the electro / house duo Session Victim.
In addition, numerous works as / with Nic & Jaq; Basstarde; Zero Two studios; Hallowald and as a solo artist. Since 2002 regular work in the field of theater music and sound installation with Felix Meyer-Christian and with the Costa Compagnie since 2009. Participated in HEART OF DARKNISM (2012) / BOOK 2 – Hoch Ausaus (2014) / TRANSIENT MEMORY (2015) / FUTURE MEMORY (2016 ) / HOW TO KILL SOMEBODY (2016) / OK, GOOGLE (2018)
Maria Walser (Dance / Performance) lives in Berlin. Since 2011 freelance work as dancer actress and choreographer, u. a. with co <Labs, Kopergietery Ghent, MS Schrittmacher, Elisabeth Lambeck and Sergiu Matis. As an actress at the Staatstheater Oldenburg, Maxim Gorki Theater and the Volksbühne Berlin. She choreographed mass and fever productions and created two works with the Zeitgeist group, as well as numerous works as part of the Costa Company since 2013. Previously she worked for the Tanztheater Nürnberg under Daniela Kurz with Andre Gingras, Rui Horta and Stijn Celis. From 2007-2010 at the Staatstheater Oldenburg, with Jan Pusch, Club Guy and Roni, Rami Beer, Inguun Bjornsgaard, Ina Christel Johanessen and Tero Saarinen. Involved in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE (2012) / CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020)
Marcus Thomas (Audio Journalist / Sound / Composition) studied Cultural Studies, Aesthetics and Applied Arts at the University of Hildesheim and completed a Master of Arts in the field of Sound Studies at the University of Visual Arts Berlin. His own artistic works vary from radio pieces, sound installations, concerts for prepared instruments, soundscape compositions, workshops on sound, electro-acoustic music pieces to experimental radio formats. He lives in Berlin and works as a freelance theatre musician, performer, composer and sound artist for various film, theatre, dance and opera projects. He is also a founder of the music theatre group “musiktheater bruit!”. Institutions he worked for have been amongst others the State Theater Hannover, State Theater Dresden, Sophiensaele Berlin, Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Atze Musiktheater Berlin, Ballhaus OST Berlin and Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen Hannover. Involved in CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) / FASCION (2017) / THE 360 ° LAB (2017) / EMPIRE OF OIL (2017-18) / FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020) www.marcusthomas.de
Nicole Nowak (Stage / costumes / former assistant) originally from Hamburg, she studied interior design with a focus on stage space at the University of Hannover. In addition to initial experience at the Thalia Theater with N. Stemann’s “reality machine”, she assisted and performed with FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE in 2013, and participated in CONVERSION 2 (2015-16) and as a stage and costume designer at EMPIRE OF OIL 3 (2018).