A German-born performance and video choreographer,
Johannes Birringer currently resides in Houston (USA) after 15 years of working
in theatre, dance, performance art and video collaborations on both sides of the
He began his directing career in the early 1980s while finishing his PhD at
Yale University, and then moved to Dallas and Houston to work in the independent
visual art/performance scenes. In Houston he also worked for Radio Pacifica
and started to publish articles and reviews on contemporary arts and culture.
His first major exhibition performance at Lawndale Art Center was titled "Invisible
Cities" (1989), a widely reveiwed work which put the emerging company on
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and his residency in Chicago (1990-97),
Johannes developed several long-term video and performance projects that involved
interactions with theatre/media artists, musicians, visual artists and cultural
workers in several locations: Houstin and Chicago (USA), Havana (Cuba), Ljubljana
(Slovenia), Eisenhuettenstadt and Dresden (East Germany), while also directing
workshops on dance and video choreography both locally and abroad.
Out of his collaborative productions evolved the formation of AlienNation
Co. in 1993, later formed as a non-profit arts organiszation in Texas in 1998,
an on-going documentay film ethnography on the border-lands in Germany, and
new performance projects and technology workshops developed by the Company.
He taught performance studies at Northwestern University and finished a book
on "Media and Performance" (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1998) and another book
on his cross-cultural work, entitled "Border-Work" (London: Continuum, 2000).
He has previously published "Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism" (Indiana Univ.
Press, 1991), and works as contributing editor for "Performing Arts Journal"
(New York) and "Performance Research" (London). Since moving back to Houston
in the spring of 1997, he also writes for the Houston-based art magazines "Artlies"
After rebuilding the company and the DDA (Dance/Digital Art) Studio in Houston,
he was appointed Curator at Winter Street Art Center in Houston, where he programmed
the exhibition/performance seasons 1998-2000. From 2000-2003 he designed and
directed the new MFA program in dance & technology at Ohio State University's
Dance Department. To visit the "Environments" laboratory (OSU 2000-2003) , go
to Dance & Technology
In 2002 he initiated plans for a new interactive media-performance lab in Germany
in a postindustrial site (Göttelborn Coal Mine), which started in 2003
and takes place every summer: http://interaktionslabor.de
To visit the new telenatics lab Johannes directs at Brunel University in London
(UK), where he is a professor of performance technologies go to DAP-Lab.
Recent professional work (directed, choreographed, performed) includes:
For recent and current productions, visit new
- 2004 Ensaio sobre a cegueira, interactive opera (Act I), Interaktionslabor
- 2004 Xu, Film exhibition, Media Lab, Beijing Dance Academy, China
- 2004 Wechselwirkungen, DVD film installation, K4 Galerie für zeitgenössische
- 2004 Reappearances, DVD film installation, ScreenPlay Festival, Broadway
Cinema, Nottingham (UK)
- 2003 Interaktionen, DVD film installation, AoIR Conference, Hilton, Toronto
- 2003 East by West, networked interactive installation, new version created
with Sher Doruff, Orm Finnendahl, and Arjen Kersmaat. DEAF/V2 Festival, Pakhuis
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- 2003 Oracles and Reappearances, multisite installation-performance, Coal
Mine Göttelborn Sueńo, multimedia theatre play, written/performed by Angeles
Romero. Direction, scenogrpahy and videography. Mount Hall, Columbus, Ohio
- 2002 Embers, telepresence dance, Power Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- 2001 ghost island, dance installation-performance, Intermediale, Mainz,
- 2000 Irregeleitete Anatomie, dance installation, Festspielhaus Hellerau,
- 1999 Mirak, multimedia dance opera, DiverseWorks Houston
- 1999 fishgarden, installation, Vogelfrei Festival, Darmstadt, Germany
- 1998 MIGBOT, digital-architectonic installation, Winter Street Art Center,
- 1998 East by West, music concert, Blurred Boundaries Exhibition, Winter
Street Art Center, Houston
- 1998 Parachute Online, webcast
- 1998 North by South, dance-film concert, First Annual Fringe Festival of
Contemporary Dance and Performance, Diverse Works, Houston
- 1998 Parachute, performance/installation cycle, Houston Fotofest 1998
- 1998 between the places, dance-film environment, DiverseWorks, Houston
- 1997 Furado 1 & 2, dance-film environment, Arena Dancing Series, Houston
Metropolitan Dance Center
- 1997 before nights falls, digital dance work, Goethe Institute Atlanta;
Cleveland Performance Art Festival; Deutsches Hygiene Museum Dresden; Barockgarten
Grossedlitz, Dresden, Germany
- 1996 Lovers Fragments, exhibition performance, Deutsches Hygiene Museum,
Dresden, East Germany
- 1996 LBLM, performance/digital art workshop production, Split Screen Festival,
- 1995 Lovers Fragments, Acts I-IV, film-concert/performance, Cleveland Performance
Art Festival, Cleveland; Barber Theatre, Northwestern University; Blue Rider
Theatre Festival, Chicago; Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba.
- 1995 Parsifal, opera installation, Festspielhaus Hellerau-Dresden, East
- 1995 Closed Spaces, urban art performance, Eisenhuettenstadt, East Germany.
- 1994 AlienNation, dance-theatre performance, European tour (Germany, France,
Holland, Slovenia); Cleveland Performance Art Festival, Cleveland; Gran Teatro
de Habana, Cuba.
- 1993 Fluid Exchanges, action event, with Andre Marquetti and John Cook,
Fluxus Exhibition, Block Gallery, Evanston.
- 1993 AlienNation, dance-theatre performance, Blue Rider Theatre Festival,
- 1993 From the Border, cross-cultural performance-exhibition festival, Josephine
Louis Theatre/Block Gallery/Annie May Swift Auditorium, Northwestern University.
- 1992 Orpheus and Eurydike, multi-media dance-opera, Josephine Louis Theatre,
- 1990 AD MORTEM, film-dance-music concert, DiverseWorks and Lawndale Art
- 1990 Granite Dreams, poetry-dance performance, Davis/McClain Gallery, Houston.
- 1989 Invisible Cities, A performance-exhibition, Lawndale Art Center, Houston.
- 1988 Translations, play by Brian Friel, Clearlake Theatre, Houston-Clearlake,
- 1988 Description of a Landscape, after Heiner Müller, Lawndale Art
- 1987 Description of a Landscape, after Heiner Müller, UTD Theatre,
- 1986 Hamletmachine, after Heiner Müller, UTD Theatre, Dallas
- 2004 Xu, filmdance, Beijing, China
- 2003 Oracle, filmdance, Coal Mine Göttelborn Sueńo, interactive film for
theatre production, Mount Hall, Columbus
- 2001 energieRaum, digital video installation, Stţdtische Gallerie Dreieich
- 1999 Vespucci, film installation, Winter Street Art Center, Houston; ACA
Gallery, Austin, Texas; Performance Studies International Conference, ASU,
Tempe, Arizona; Performance Platform, Dartington College, England (UK); University
of Brasilia Art Gallery, Brasilia (Brazil); Media Center, Graduate School
of Semiotics and Communication-PUC-University (Performance Art School), S‹o
- 1998 Synapse/El finge, video installation, Casa di Arte Gallery, Houston
- 1997 Makrolab - a heterotopia, documentary film, Sewall Art Gallery, Houston
- 1997 Distances, dance video, created for Transmedia Festival, Berlin
- 1996 bewegungen in der mitte der dritten stadt (ort 1), dance film, Berlin,
- 1996 Lovers Fragments, dancevideo, International DanceScreen Festival, Lyon,
- 1995 The Obscene/Off-Scene Body, video installation, Montreal, Canada
- 1994 The Connected Body? videopoem, School for New Dance, Amsterdam, Holland
- 1994 AlienNation, videodance, International DanceScreen Festival, Lyon,
- 1994 Observations, dialogue with the Egon March Institute, Radio Student,
- 1993 Cross-cultural Radio Workshop/Production of 15 PSAs, with Guillermo
Gomez-Pena and other artists, Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago. Public Installation
at Chicago Cultural Center, June 1993.
- 1993 The Making of 'From the Border', videodocumentary, International Film
& TV School, Havana, Cuba.
- 1993 Orpheus and Eurydike, videodance, International DanceScreen Festival,
Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany.
- 1991 After the Revolution, video documentary, Loews Theatre, Festival of
- 1990 Border-Land, video documentary, exhibited at: Greenway 3 Plaza Theatre,
Houston; Studio 71, New York; Hallwalls Gallery, Buffalo; Houston International
Film Festival, Houston; Universidad Nacional, Madrid; Chicago Filmmakers,
Chicago; Saarlandisches Konstlerhaus, Saarbrocken, Germany; Grenzland-Festival,
Kultur Zentrum, Eisenhottenstadt.
- 1990 Memories of a Revolution, documentary, Rice Media Center, Houston.
- 2005 Self Talking, dual-site telepresence performance (Detroit, Nottingham)
- 2004 Viroid Flophuse, polysite telepresence performance, local site:
LATela, Nottingham Saira Virous, polysite telepresence performance, local
site: LATela, Nottingham
- 2003 The Knot, polysite telepresence performance .
- 2002 Here I come again (Flying Birdman), polysite telepresence performance,
linking five sites in the USA and two sites in Brazil. A collaborative ADaPT
production, directed by the Environments Lab (Columbus): http://www.dance.ohio-state.edu/dance_and_technology/birdman.html
- 2002 Constelacăo, 12 hour web performance, linking sites in Săo Paulo,
across Brazil, Columbus, and Plymouth (UK). Local server site: SESC VILA MARIANA,
Săo Paulo, http://www.sescsp.org.br/sesc/hotsites/constelacao/ macula & corpos,
live telepresence performance, curated by Corpos Informaticos, server site:
Teatro do Centro da Terra I Circuito Centro da Terra de Artes Cęnicas, Săo
Paulo, Brazil. http://www.centrodaterra.com.br/circuito
- 2002 DanceTheNet, online telepresence forum, Vincent Dance Theatre -
Digital Performance Intensive, server site: Sheffield, UK
- 2002 macula & corpos, live telepresence performance, curated by Corpos
Informaticos, server site: Conjunto Cultural da CAIXA. Brasília, Brazil
- 2001 ADaPT launch performance (March 5), linking OSU with four other
dance programs in the U.S (Arizona State Univ., Univ. of Utah, Univ. of California-
Irvine, Univ. of Wisconsin). Connectivity launch for future collaborative
online performance series
- 1998 migbot, interactive/online installation, www.migbot.ndirect.co.uk
Parachute Online, webcast, www.ruf.rice.edu/~orpheus/
- 1997 Globalbodies, participation with "Membranes" in international online
teleconference with mirror sites in Germany, USA, Mexico, Argentina, and New
Zealand. Local site: Liquid Lab, Houston
- Johannes can be reached via email at orpheus at rice dot edu [in the USA],
and at johannes.birringer at brunel dot ac dot uk [in Europe].
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