Pussy Riot, courtesy of the artists.

The Drop Out: Tell Them I Said No
3–4 May 2024

Featuring: Lamis Ammar, Sascia Bailer, Mirthe Berentsen, Candice Breitz, Eglė Budvytytė,  JJJJJerome Ellis, Hettie Judah, Prem Krishnamurthy, Zoe Claire Miller, Eve Stainton & Florence Peake, Nástio Mosquito, Asad Raza, Lauryn Youden, Abbas Zahedi, SERAFINE1369, Pussy Riot, Fatoş Üstek and Melanie Jame Wolf.

E-WERK will present a weekend of day and night time events. Inspired by author and art critic Martin Herbert's collection of essays Tell Them I Said No (2016, Sternberg Press), the programme will consider the implications of resistance, what radical models of self-sufficiency look like, the political connotations of counterculture (or cancel culture), who has the privilege to say no, and artistic vulnerability. The event will take place across E-WERK’s 25,000 metre square site, including the historic Turbine Hall, the adjacent Bauhaus Stadtbad and E-WERK’s outdoor geodesic dome, and will include concerts, performances, panel discussions, karaoke and sauna sessions. Tickets are on sale now via this link and Luckenwalde residents can book to join for free (events@kunststrom.com).

The programme includes:

In preparation of The Drop Out: Tell Them I Said No, Asad Raza and Prem Krishnamurthy have consulted with E-WERK, providing creative and dramaturgical suggestions for the two day event.

Friday 3rd May 2024

16:00 - 23:00

Practice 1 by Eve Stainton and Florence Peake For The Drop Out: Tell them I said no, Eve Stainton and Florence Peake have abstracted a movement practice from an earlier collaborative work to contextualise it within the Bauhaus architecture of the Stadtbad in Luckenwalde and in response to the thematic considerations of the programme. The swimming pool’s distinctive inclines, declines, pitches and slopes now adapt to the moving bodies and intervene at the same time, serving as both an obstacle and an enabler to their practice. Through the formal task of interlocking at the crotch, they engage in ongoing physical connection, disconnection and re-negotiations to reflect on notions of futility, commitment, continuation, need, love, difference, determination and strife.

Berlin based artist and poet Lauryn Youden will present a site specific iteration of you’re seeping into my bloodstream. The work is a 90 minute poetry reading, performative lecture and auto-theoretical essay on love ruled by disease, examining its sick and vampiric tendencies for subsistence. This performance delves into Youden’s continued exploration of chronic illness as near-death experience, or a “time of non-death”.

​​The Promise of Their Body is a new work and continuation of visual artist and choreographer Melanie Jame Wolf's interest in the politics of performance as labour. Through the performative arrangement of a temporary installation of ceramic works, Wolf will explore audience expectations of the live moment, and economies of presence, absence, and attention. Building on the recent solo exhibition at E-WERK Luckenwalde The Creep - a poetic meditation on the dynamics of violence, desire, and performance - Wolf continues to deepen her engagement with these themes, fostering a rich dialogue between movement, image, and sculptural texture while inviting viewers to confront the complexities of contemporary culture and human experience.

Saturday 4 May 2024

11:00 - 23:00

Writer and author Hettie Judah will be in conversation with curator and scholar Sascia Bailer and journalist, writer and artist Mirthe Berentsen discussing resilience for parents in the artworld on both practical and theoretical levels. The discussion will evolve into a workshop with the audience to explore some of the issues raised in the panel, followed by a multi-voiced participatory conversation that will result in guidelines to be published on www.sustainable-institution.com.  

Dragging workshop by Eglé Budvytygè is a workshop conceived around the practice of dragging for ‘The Drop Out: Tell them I said No’. This workshop is led by artist Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome working with Eglė Budvytytė’s dragging practice as a starting point. It is a somatic workshop on care, attention and employing the act of dragging the body as a temporal release of verticality and singularity. The first part of the workshop will focus on embodied somatic explorations, touch and bodywork. With the second part of the workshop comprising of dragging exercises as a practice derived from the performance Some were carried, some – dragged behind (2015). The aim is to work with a sense of gravity, trust, and care and to try out different perspectives and angles of looking at the world. Dragging will be practiced as a gentle and slow gesture with a focus on the pleasure of being dragged. The practice of dragging is also about intimacy between humans as they move through space: the draggers and the dragged ones.In a workshop context, dragging temporarily collapses social hierarchies between those involved, and facilitates the emergence of a body as a sheer matter with an amalgamation of organs, liquids, flesh and bones.

The workshop is a meeting point for both Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome and Eglė Budvytyt’s practices and is participatory.

This workshop is open to all, no prior movement experience required. The workshop will be held in English and participants should bring their own appropriate and comfortable clothing. 20 limited places available. Booking required via events@kunststrom.com

Please note that the workshop will take place in the EW Turbine Hall on both Friday and Saturday. The workshop will be held in the event room and there may be people watching at times.

The artist Asad Raza will conduct a soil workshop with simple ingredients found and collected in Luckenwalde. Each participant will help to mix a fertile "neo-soil". As a form of embodied learning as part of “The Drop Out: Tell Them I Said No” programme, this exercise gives a practical, scientific and intuitive understanding of soil as a matrix for life and metabolic processes. It refutes the demands of mindless intellectual and corporate work and draws attention to local ecosystems and planetary ecologies.

​​E-WERK Co-Artistic Directors Helen Turner and Pablo Wendel will also join Raza to explore notions of self-sufficiency, the necessity to pioneer alternative autonomous models for the cultural sector, and E-WERK as a “drop out”—or prototype for a sustainable institution.

Prem Krishnamurthy of Department of Transformation will help guide the event with karaoke and provide a behind the scenes tour of E-WERK with Bernd Schmiedl, E-WERK’s former Production Manager (1956–1989). This is an opportunity to learn about the building’s history as a brown coal power station and its transformation into a Kunststrom power station – witnessing the energy process live in action.

Performance IV by SERAFINE1369 is a system of loose dancing and tight structure; a choreographic machine; a meditative play between instinctive rhythms and the counting of time. It is a work about finding space and trying to be free. This is a relational practice, one that does not presume, where we work to disentangle from, and unsettle our assumptions, and also yours. Here, in this performance, we encounter one another and ourselves.Artists Against Repression, A conversation between artist Candice Breitz, Lamis Ammar, actress and artist, curator and activist Zoë Claire Miller, who have all been impacted by the current culture of sidelining and stigmatisation.

A development on his series Rose & STEMM, Abbas Zahedi’s performance will weave together improvised spoken word and audio from his long standing collaboration with musicians Saint Abdullah. In this performance, as lyrics and sound flow into one another, Zahedi will meander through the space, inhabiting the boundaries between performer and witness, stage and surround, in opposition to the conventional audience - performer dynamic. Minimal in its technical production, this iteration draws upon Zahedi’s background as an MC, a position that connects bodies through language and sound, allowing the thresholds of this event to become more open and porous.

A performance by JJJJJerome Ellis. Through music, literature, performance, and video JJJJJerome Ellis researches relationships among blackness, disabled speech, divinity, nature, sound, and time. His diverse body of work includes contemplative soundscapes using saxophone, flute, dulcimer, electronics, and vocals; scores for plays and podcasts; albums combining spoken word with ambient and jazz textures; theatrical explorations involving live music and storytelling; and music-video-poems that seek to transfigure historical archives.

Pussy Riot will come to Brandenburg for the first time. Riot Days chronicles Maria Alyokhina’s experiences with Pussy Riot, from their iconic protests to their court trials and prison sentences. The content evolves, reflecting current events like political prosecutions and the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The presentation of Riot Days is in partnership with Cultural Foundation Schloss Wiepersdorf.  

The programme has been co-curated by Katharina Worf and Helen Turner.

Katharina Worf, Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde, said, “With our programme, we want to create a forum in which perspectives can be heard, research findings can be exchanged and assumptions challenged. We plan to drive debate, through this interdisciplinary programme: about the experience of being on the sidelines, from polyvocal participatory workshops about parenting to conversations about the vulnerability and exploitative nature of the cultural sector, to live performance art that confronts the audience with their own stigmas, breaks down boundaries, plays with discomfort and shame. We hope these encounters will inspire reflection, raise awareness and create a step towards change.”

Helen Turner, Chief Curator and Artistic Director, E-WERK Luckenwalde, added, “I will always be beholden to artists' courage and defiance. That, despite the vulnerable and exploitative landscape of the artworld, artists still persist, aggravate, call out injustice - Tell Them I said No. This programme was inspired by Martin Herbert's eponymous anthology of essays about artist dropouts, those courageous artists who dropped out of the art world in order to cultivate new worlds of possibility, counter cultural movements and autonomous models of production. It was conceived with the intention to think about defiance as a material for system change, about the agentic potential of outrage and withdrawal in cultural transformation, and to consider how to cultivate radical new models of institutional practice that refute exploitative conditions. We are proud to present this programme of dissident voices and to provide a platform for those artists whose voices have attempted to be silenced and think about what we can do when we come together and form alliances”

The Drop Out: Tell Them I Said No is funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media), and we acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Luckenwalde. Programme partners for The Drop Out. Tell Them I Said No include FRANK - Fair Artist Pay and Gallery Climate Coalition. The presentation of Riot Days by Pussy Riot is in partnership with Cultural Foundation Schloss Wiepersdorf.  


Kulturstiftung des Bundes Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien


Canada Council for the Arts

Schloss WiepersdorfFrank