pause as resistance

02.05. – 29.05.2022 Public Session every Tuesday 14:00 – 17:00
“Is it really easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism?”*

In May Tanzfabrik Berlin Bühne will radically pause  all its day-to-day activities in order to imagine different ways of working living, and transforming society. A month to reflect – to resist – to restart.

* The quotation is attributed to both Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek.
Berlin, Europe, May 2022.  It feels like the current series of crises is without a clear beginning or end, it feels like a condition we are stuck in.
It’s a time in which emergencies are followed by other emergencies, a state of constant alert, with no apparent opportunities for change.

In the past, moments of crisis – when reality itself seems to be shaken to its foundations - have often  proved a catalyst for regeneration or  epochal change. Yet today, even though it is common knowledge that if no change comes, the whole of humanity faces annihilation, there seems to be no way to effect positive change.

For Mark Fischer, this feeling of powerlessness is a constituent part of the governance system of the western world: capitalist realism. Fischer describes our society as one in which capital, the idea of profit and private property, have so deeply pervaded every aspect of our lives and even our bodies  that we can no longer imagine other ways of living or other forms of social organization.

Only art, and especially contemporary art, has sometimes offered the opportunity to glimpse, for brief and ephemeral moments, other worlds. Other possible realities. Other ways of being together. It has the potential to change perspectives and inspire transformations, to shift viewpoints and propel conversations.

As an organization dedicated to contemporary art, our task is to support this understanding of art and provide the best possible conditions for artists to thrive and create works that shift viewpoints. We also want to apply some of the visions proposed by the artists – and the values behind them – to our own reality.

pause as resistance is a tryout in this direction. We understand pausing as a subversive act of refusing the non-essential and making space for what matters most: reflecting, regrouping and taking time to initiate changes. Both in our organization and our surroundings.
Time to ask ourselves: How do we do things? Which material conditions do our activities take place in? What are we automatically reproducing? How we can be a feminist organization?

Pausing is a decision to refuse to perpetuate this constant actionism, constant production, and to not accept that there is no way out of capitalism. But to resist it and maybe find a place on its margins** from where we can start a revolution.

** we refer, among the many researchers that explored this topic, for example to the work of Avery F. Gordon in "The Hawthorn Archive: Letters from the Utopian Margins (2018)".


pause as resistance is inviting 4 artists to pause with Tanzfabrik Berlin Bühne.
↪  On the resonance of the project: reflections, voices & photos click here

Participating Artists To the biographies

  • Florin Flueras
  • Ana Libório
  • Harun Morrison
  • Dafne Narvaez


The 4 weeks of pause of resistance will take place without a  curatorial program, but within a strict time framework of 2 daily sessions from 10 am to 5 pm. By suspending everyday work, we aim to open up new paths for research.

The session every Tuesday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm in Studio 5 is open to the public. Everyone is welcome!


↪ What do you mean by pause as resistance?

By pause as resistance we mean a radical reduction, or - where possible - a complete interruption of everyday activities in the Stage department of Tanzfabrik Berlin. We won’t use email, hold meetings, or have rehearsals. There will be silence, even if we* are all there, in the offices, in the studios, in the theater, and all working.

*We is intended here as inclusive. It implies whoever joins the pause. Staff of the institution, artists, audience members, partners…

pause as resistance is inspired by feminist literature (in particularly “Feminist for 99%”, “Wintering”), books about ecology and ecology of attention (e.g., “Down to earth”, “How to do nothing”) and the concept of Anthropause.

↪ What is the ”Anthropause”?

The term anthropause refers to the reduction in human activities caused by the first lockdown in March 2020 and the consequent increase in wildlife in urban areas. The term was coined in an article which appeared in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” to denote “a considerable global slowing of modern human activities, notably travel.”  The decrease in activities also led to a measurable reduction in seismic noise - during the Great Seismic Quiet Period. According to researchers, this state of activity reduction, deceleration, and seismic silence is unique in recent history and even since (seismographic) records began.

↪ What has it got to do with art and Tanzfabrik Berlin?

We are planning an organic evaluation, transformation, and possible reduction of our own activities, in response to the current ecological, social, and economic crisis. We want to ask: How should an art institution position itself at a time of war and climate change? How can we ensure diversity, accessibility and the right distribution of power and resources in our institution? How can we resist a system (capitalism) that is entirely product oriented and requires us (and the artists) to be constantly productive?

↪ Great! But why don’t you address these questions while continuing with the normal program?

Transformation is a process that needs attention, time, and resources, if it is to be taken seriously. No serious analysis can be done while attending to day-to-day work. One idea, suggested by Agnes Quackels and Barbara Van Lindt from KAAI Theater, is  that each publicly funded art institution takes at least one “Rest Year” every 7 years. By “Rest Year” they mean a period in which the organization’s work of is suspended, a time-out to open up and look around, rethink the fundamentals, acquire new knowledge, re-connect with the city and current developments in the arts field. A year “off” that should be part of the normal life of every institution. It’s issues like that we in Tanzfabrik Berlin Bühne want to address with PAUSE AS RESISTANCE.

↪ But how will you be “working” if you are not producing?

“When performance artist Alma Söderberg starts a new project, she first spends days lying on the floor, doing, in appearance, nothing. And because doing nothing is not easy, she’s not doing nothing at home. No, she’s applying for residencies, in well-equipped studios, to do, as well as she can, what looks like nothing. Then, one day, she stands up and makes a new stunning piece. Doing nothing, but in an excellent way, is for Söderberg the necessary first step towards something new. Something else.” – From “The Jello, the Nothing, the Something and the Rest(s)” by Agnes Quackels, in dialogue with Barbara Van Lindt.

↪ Isn’t it a luxury to  be able to pause and, for example, simply decide to not answer emails for a month?

Yes, we are aware that pause as resistance is a privilege and we are willing to share our resources with as many people as possible to enable them to pause as well. At the same time, as a western European Art organization, it is our duty – now more than ever - to take the time to honestly assess our work, our outcomes, and our trajectories in order to do better. pause as resistance is inspired by several feminist publications that argue for “doing less” and using resources differently as key strategies for counteracting the stress of capitalist production.

↪ I am an artist and would love to pause as well. Can you help me?

We issued two calls to artists in January to pause with us. If you missed them, or if you didn’t get selected, you can pass by Studio 5 in Uferstudios any Tuesday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm and check if there is anything to interest you.

↪ I am an audience member and would love to pause as well! What can I do?

You can join us! Studio 5 in Uferstudios is open every Tuesday from 2pm to 5pm to anyone who wants to join in, talk to us, find out what we are doing. Since the institution is “on pause”, no program will appear on our website, social media, or printed media this May.