On Being Human As Praxis at MaerzMusik

What does it mean to be human? And what does it mean in our present time? Elaine Mitchener draws on feminist writings by Jamaican cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter to engage with these fundamental issues – and contrasts the European-colonial concept of humanity with a praxis of being human that needs to be learnt anew.

“Human beings are magical. Bios and Logos. Words made flesh, muscle and bone animated by hope and desire, belief materialized in deeds, deeds which crystallize our actualities […] And the maps of spring always have to be redrawn again, in undared forms.” (Sylvia Wynter, 1995: 35, drawing on Aimé Césaire)

Live premiere

Sunday 19 March 2023, 8pm
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Main Stage

Jason Yarde
THE PROBLEM WITH HUMANS Volume 1 – An Overview From Under (2020)
for voice and ensemble

Matana Roberts
Gasping for air / considering your purpose / Dissolving (2020)
for voice and ensemble

Laure M. Hiendl
It’s Called White Radiance™ (the brand name) (2020)
for voice, ensemble and electronics

Tansy Davies
The Rule is Love (2019)
a song cycle for contralto and chamber ensemble
1. Music Began
2. High Priestess
3. Bios and Logos
4. Spinning in Infinity

George Lewis
H. narrans (2020)
for voice and ensemble


Elaine Mitchener concept, vocal soloist (contralto)
Dam Van Huynh choreographer, director
Ieva Navickaite dance
Tommaso Petrolo dance
Michael Picknett Lighting

MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle musik:

Heather Roche clarinet
Paul Hübner trumpet
Sabrina Ma drums
Sarah Saviet violin
Caleb Salgado double bass

A coproduction of Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik and the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program
Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

This project was commissioned by Donaueschinger Musiktage 2020 and has not yet been presented with a live audience.

24 January 2023

The Rolling Calf + Pat Thomas at Wigmore Hall

For Wigmore Hall, The Rolling Calf have invited special guest