depowering strategies: flowing powers

This is a digital sneak into the sold out first edition of a depowerment manifesto
(56 pages, b/w, illustrated, thread stitched, coloured soft cover)


In this book, I am following the questions,
how can we level out power imbalances that keep us divided,
and separated from a peaceful and solidary life on this planet?

What can I do about it?

What is the leverage to do something from a powerless position?
And once we get into power, how do we avoid recreating vicious circles
of power games, power addiction and abuse?

As I am mostly active in the fields of visual and performance arts, I have the slight notion that the arts can help in this process by providing a ground for experimentation to put some of these ideas into practice.

This book is a call into action. It was written as a base for an unfolding artistic research into power structures and leaving the cycles of tradition.

At its initial stage, to begin with an embodied sensation of power and to research into possibilities of embodying depowerment, I invited the Latvian dancer and choreographer Agnese Bordjukova to co-facilitate the depowerment research #1.

The printed book was launched on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at the Somatische Akademie in Berlin with a two-hour session, combining an embodied research practice with a reading, video screenings and options for feedback and exchange. A half-hour condensate of this session was offered at the winter symposium of Circle 7 – Artistic Research – of the Nordic Summer University in Riga, Latvia. We prepared and tested the depowerment research #1 at the Hibernate Residency at betOnest in Stolpe, Germany.


The book will be tested and reverse engineered during the unfolding research sessions.
Following print editions will be revised, updated, altered, and completely different.


For updates on the project, please sign up for the newsletter and / or join the facebook group.


excerpt of “preparations for a depowerment manifesto”,
Stephanie Hanna zu Thun und Lassen, 2017

video for music of others


Angel in the House

music: Union Jill
video: re-edit based on “butler pop”, 2005/2009/2017


Bitter Blow (starting from today)

music: Union Jill
dance: Camille Revol, Gabriel Forestieri a.o.
video: shot 2013 / edited 2017



music: Union Jill
video: re-edit based on “swimming”, 2013/2017


Castelo de Plastico

music: Daniel Arruda
video: 2016

improvisation in the shifting installation
“MARKET RESEARCH (of this world´s fleeting surface)”



video shot and edited: 2012 at Kunsthaus DA / Gravenhorst
music edit: 2009 / 2012


ich bin müde (Nimechoka)

music: Nazizi (feat. Lord)
video: 2011

The German lyrics, masks and photo session featured in this video were all made in a workshop with senior street art in the festival
“Translating Hip Hop” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin


easy´s bistro (reproduction)

music: das Bierbeben
video: shot and edited in 2004/2005, re-edit in 2010

The Wise and the Ways: collecting life and asking why

Participative audio collection of advice for a good life,
collected on the streets of Berlin – Neukölln, Wedding and Marzahn – and Görlitz.

Since 2013, I am asking people I randomly meet on the streets what one needs to do (or to have, as many people understand it) in order to have or lead a good life.
Until now, I have done this in three former working class neighbourhoods in Berlin (Neukölln, Wedding and Marzahn) and in the desolated city of Görlitz.
In each area, the answers manifested their own priorities, foci and habits of speech – but of course, there are many more similarities than differences.
Specifically health and money were the answers I got most often by far, in all of the places.

From the answers, collected on the street, in bars, cafés and private meetings, I extracted a couple of (sometimes changing) categories:
work & money, health, happiness, advice & decisionmaking, friendship, family and love, peace and freedom.

For each location, I developed site-specifical interactive installations and a performance featuring the advice. In Neukölln, the sound was transmitted via vibrations through the window pane. To get the advice from Neukölln to Wedding, I installed the audio mobile in a shopping trolley. In Marzahn, we wrote the advice on 250 meters of pedestrians walk, in big letters readable from the surrounding flat towers. And in Görlitz, I embedded the advice into the layers of history found in the hotel where the exhibition Zukunftsvisionen took place.


I recorded the answers audio only – no fotos, no videos of the people I talk to.
By excluding the image of my counterparts in this social research, subtleties in their intonation become more apparent, the answers seem to be more intimate, and last not least, the imagination of the receptor can become more active.

In the street interactions, I unexpectedly intervene in the everyday (non-) routine of my counterparts, which might lead to a heightened state of awareness for the rest of the day. In the process, through the interactions and answers I get, I am transforming myself, my notion and knowledge of what it takes to lead a good life – and most importantly, as most of the answers are known already, refreshing this knowledge in the actuality of the encounter.

In the shopping trolley, the answers add up to an oracle, with a different answer each time a button is pushed.

Presented in spatial audio installations, a reflective space emerges featuring sometimes philosophical, sometimes stunningly basic truths.


Die Weisen
June 14-16, 2013
Labor: Urbanes Altern / 48 Stunden Neukölln
at Donau Ecke Ganghofer, Neukölln Arcaden and five park benches in Rollbergviertel

The first questions and try-outs of the street encounters were developed in a workshop together with teenage students from a local school.
The visual material used in the first installation also emerged in that workshop.

Die Weisen im Wedding
August 30 – September 15, 2013
OKK and KiezKulturNetz

I carried the advice from Neukölln to Wedding, installed the audio interactively into a shopping trolley and collected more advice in the Soldiner Kiez.

leben sammeln und fragen warum
May – July 2014
Temporäre Kunstprojekte Marzahner Promenade
Galerie M and Communal District of Marzahn-Hellersdorf

With the help of residents of the area, I edited the advice collected in Marzahn into one “recipe” for a good life, consisting of 147 words. Which we then wrote on the pedestrians walk, stretching over a length of 300 meters. To be read from the surrounding apartment towers, in big chalk letters that washed away with the next strong rainfalls.

Görlitzer Weise
Zukunftsvisionen Festival Görlitz
April – May 2015

During the Open Art Lab Residency, I embedded an interactive audio installation into layers of history found in the former Art Deco „Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten“ / „Hotel Haus des Handwerks“ (as it was called in the time of the GDR). Movement sensors were hidden in five objects, causing audio tracks to be played on two identical Grundig radio transistors from the 1980´s.

showing the collection in group exhibitions

2016 “collective”, Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin
2017 Immaterial Collections, Donau Ecke Ganghofer, Berlin

situation-specific observations (video)

two sides
two-sided video installation
German and Portuguese spoken, English subtitles
13 min, mini dv, 2005 / 2011

On one side of the video installation, you can read the subtitles to Gersons story, on the other side, mine. Two sides of life in the touristic center Pelourinho in Salvador, Bahia.

2014 NE Fest / Experimental Art and Media / Sofia, Bulgarien
2011 G.A.S. Station, Berlin


excerpt of windy
two-channel video, 13m50, hd, 2017

2017, Group Global 3000, Berlin


inside / outside - Videoinstallation BYRRH

inside / outside
15 min, hd, 2013

Site- and situation-specific video installation,
created during weave – a platform for the arts in Brussels.
Performing in everyday surroundings and situations,
living in a continuous performance.
Are you in or are you out?
I had to step out and do my laundry.

2013, BYRRH Brussels


butler pop - installation stephanie hanna

butler pop
2009, 21 min, mini dv

Four people living and working in Berlin associate freely about the role that work has in their lives. Meanwhile, a hand is painting the sky and the movement of the clouds and in the background, you hear the sounds of a construction site.

Juxtaposed, video observations of various working scenes
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil while a voice-over reads quotations of
“The Psychic Life of Power” by Judith Butler.

shown as video installation in a found setting
at ProjektZentrale KurtKurt, Berlin
in the exhibition “Pumaherz. Vollzeit, unbefristet”
by Elke Scheler, December 2009

and in the Open Screening, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, 2010

video with music

excerpts from a two-channel video installation, 2017



music: Mondays Circle, 2016
video: Madeira, 2013


set myself free

music: Mondays Circle, 2016
video: Madeira, 2013



music: improvisation on my bike in Berlin traffic, 2014
video: Brussels, 2013


MARKET RESEARCH (of this worlds´ fleeting surface)

shifting constallations of painted plastic packagings
work-in-process, February 2016 – February 2017

Over the last years, the amount of plastic packaging in daily life increased immensely. Behind the shiny plastic, virginal goods are triggering desires of the consumers.

In careful observation over days, weeks, months, years,
I discover hidden life in the discarded plastics. Animal, human and extraterrestrial characters appear, re-animating the waste we often prefer to ignore.

Between February and June 2016, in a department store window at the street corner Donau Ecke Ganghofer in Berlin, Neukölln, a world of cityscapes, seascapes and squared cultivated landscapes emerged out of the packagings.


Between August and October 2016, this world was taken apart, recollected, stacked, examined, marketed and healed by performative interventions by guest artists.


breaking down is easier than building up
February – June 2017

In February 2017, a few days after the inauguration of “The Donald”, the plastic world of appearances finally collapsed into rubble.


Self Acceptance
June 24th 2017, 2 – 6 pm
48 Stunden Neukölln

Visitors transformed a shadow side of themselves in exchange for an inside view of the hidden front of the installation in the window.

Plastic Bag Series / Consumption Series

growing collection of multi-coloured plastic bags,
installed and performed in shifting relations

ongoing since 2012

Bag Fan I
November 2012, White Cube Series, Donau- Ecke Ganghofer, Berlin

Bag Fan II
December 2012, x-hibition, Raumfähre Studio, Art Center Bethanien, Berlin

March 2013, site-specific video installation, Pedra Sina Residency, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Taking the Bags to the Sea
March 2013, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Tüten Raum I
April 2013, Raum für Raum Studio 2, Art Center Bethanien, Berlin

No Show
May 2013, Month of Performance Art Berlin
2-hour participative performance, Donau Ecke Ganghofer, Berlin

Tüten Raum II
May 18 2013, Love Bazon Hate Brock, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin
wearable art group show

August 2013, Group Global 3000, Berlin

MARKET RESEARCH (of this Worlds´ fleeting surface)
February 2016 – February 2017, Donau Ecke Ganghofer, Berlin

Consumption Series

Shifting constellations of objects and images
made out of plastic packaging materials
in the former department store window Donau- Ecke Ganghofer
between November 2013 and June 2014

Over the last years, the amount of plastic packaging in my daily life increased immensely.
Fruits and many other items that previously could buy unpackaged now come “hygienically” packaged in a plastic coating.

We exploit natural and human resources for the sake of selling more.
Is that what you call efficiency?

Very inefficiently, i find animal, human and extraterrestrial characters in these forms,
paint them like masks on transparency, reanimating waste, discovering a world.

dass man Kunst nicht essen kann

Temporary sculpture made of painted plastic packagings and styrofoam
FRIDGE! Entretempo Kitchen Gallery, Berlin, 24.4. – 25.5.2015

Take no Prisoners

interactive dog choir

June 27th – 29th 2014
48 Hours Neukölln – Art Festival / Donau Ecke Ganghofer

Triggered by movements in front of the silvered department store window, a chance composition is created out of barking solos, duets and choirs, between growling, yelping and gasping. What exactly is being defended remains hidden.

concept and audio: Stephanie Hanna
interactivity: Sebastian Sommer


Theater of Free Monkeys meets Nelson Rodrigues
Galerie total, Berlin 2008

Portraying the audience in the theatre installation as seen through a window from the outside.

With Ana Suarez, Andrea Pani, Ariane Vitale, Irene Selka, Kathleen Kunath, Micha Laages, Simone Donha, Stephanie Hanna und Thomas Weppel, direction: Zé de Paiva.


unannounced performances in market research
August – October 2016
Donau Ecke Ganghofer, Berlin

Spontaneous improvisations with invited visitors in shifting constellations of plastic packaging in a department store window.


Plan B
part 1 + 2, 15 min. each, Con|Verge Ponderosa 2013

Collaborative video performance created during the two-week performance residency Con|Verge at Ponderosa Tanzland with the House of Ia (KB Thomason und Jillayne Hunter) and CJ Holm.


no time to lose

15 minute video performance with Ethan Frey

What happens with your time
while you are running with the clock?
During the performance, layers of sound and image
add up through repeated applications of the acting, recording
and playback of morning routines.
Two performers repeat this scene after each other.
Speeding up, their real actions also start to layer

Performed at HUNGER – International Performance Festival, Martkhalle IX, Berlin
Mica Moca Projects, Berlin


August – December 2011

Site specific sound and movement improvisations with singers, movers and musicians Andreas Monning, Arne Freymann, Birgitta von Homeyer, Christine Kahlau, Cris Arruda, Henriette Schulz-Molon, Jenny Grunow, Julia Boor, Martin Braun, Nadja Haas, Ruth Grünbaum, Sanaz Rassuli, me and many others.

Until October 2011 in the globe of the former radar station of US and GB secret services on top of Teufelsberg, and in November and December 2011 in the former department store window Donau Ecke Ganghofer and at Stattbad Wedding.


writing childhood
part of the performance-installation “Berliner Kindheit um 1900”
by Ariane Vitale Cardoso, 48 Stunden Neukölln 2010

Writing an excerpt of Walter Benjamins´ memoires of his childhood in Berlin on a window, in reverce writing, from the inside while the audience is outside. Ending the performance, I dilute and erase the writing by spraying water on it.

Donau Ecke Ganghofer (AST), 2010

The White Cube Series : No Show

Changing viewpoints and perspectives
on and in the former department store window Donau Ecke Ganghofer

September 2012 – May 2013

Starting with closing off the space by painting its windows, I gradually opened and closed viewpoints on the changing installation. Intuitively working, discovering and following the questions: What do I want to show? How much do I need to show? How casually can I direct the viewers attention?

The series found an end after more than seven months with the performance

Foto: Zé de Paiva

No Show
Month of Performance Art Berlin 2013
May 11, 2013, 4 – 6 pm

Observing the outside from inside my window.
Acting and reacting „naturally“, for whatever that means.
No expectation on entertainment.

I change my position and my point of view on the public.
Move stuff around, write my thoughts on the window pane.
Paint the window, wipe paint away, open and close view points.

I go out and invite the public to do so as well, providing them with chalk paint and brushes.
The window pane that seperated the audience from performer and performance literally becomes an area for interaction.

video observation : embodying theory

dear commodity
2010, 7 minutes, mp4

On an advertisement pillar, images of a female and a male foto model, on opposite sides behind glas. In reflections on their faces, the every day movement of a street in Berlin, Kreuzberg is being mirrored. In slow video crossfades, the two faces merge into one another.

“The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof” by Karl Marx (The Capital, Book 1) read during masturbation.

screened in group show “Das Ding” at G.A.S.-Station, Berlin, Oct. 2010 – Feb. 2011


butler pop
2009, 21 min, mini dv

see here


without character
2010/11, 4m30, mp4

A merry go-round at the metro station Les Halles in Paris stops while masses of people are streaming in and out of the metro entrance at an increasing speed.

Quotations taken from “The Man without Qualities” by Robert Musil, first published in 1930/1932, read under the blanket at night, mixed with the sounds of taking a walk. (German spoken)

extended version of 10 minutes (looped) as audio installation at the former department store window Donau Ecke Ganghofer during the festival Nacht und Nebel 2010


occupy žižek
2011/12, 2min35, mp4

Audio edit, based on a speech that Slavoj Žižek held for Occupy Wall Street on October 9, 2011 that was amplified through the “human mic”.

Which form of leadership do we need today? In my edit, the human mic gradually takes over, moving from amplifying Žižeks words towards anticipating them or maybe even thinking them together.


weeding sontag
2012/13, 3 min 25, hd

Social reflection with Susan Sontags “On Photography”:
Why do especially “people handicapped by a ruthless work ethics” like to take pictures?
Why does it seem to be so empowering to capture an image (or anything else, by the way)?

Weeding sheep are staring back at me staring at them, through my camera. A slug crawls through the image, taking forever in fast forward. I dance with the weeds.


City Cow / Forest Cow
screenprint, edition of 10 (city cow) and uniques (wood cow) 50cm x 70cm, 2012

remembering pete

50cm x 70cm

50cm x 70cm

you are
site-specific installation of two screenprints
on canvas, 150 x 200 cm,
February 14 – 22, 2013

At the Refugee Strike Camp, Oranienplatz, Berlin and in the group exhibition 1×1, Kantine Aqua Carrée (with reference to the camp).

senior street art

participative art project and social intervention
artistic workshops and performative actions in public space in Kreuzberg, Berlin and Germany between 2005 and 2012

In more than 30 artistic workshops and performative actions, with an increasing number of participants between 50 and 85 years of age, we researched matters and materials connected to urban youth cultures such as street art, hip hop and graffiti. Related to the practical artistic work, we discussed issues like publicness, visibility, subcultures, borders and boundaries, prejudice and preconception, individuality, emancipation and the differences of private, public and common spaces.

The workshops are documented in audio, foto and video, and covered internationally through media and academic publications.

see more on



M.A. thesis by Stephanie Hanna
Institute für Art in Context, University of the Arts Berlin, 2006

CASAzine #4: Drawing the Line (Art and Activism)
Ed. Placentile & Vykoukal, Summer Academy of the University of Amsterdam, 2007

Kulturkompetenz 50+
Praxiswissen für die Kulturarbeit mit Älteren
Kim de Groote / Almuth Fricke (Hrsg.), kopaed, 2010
ISBN 978-3-86736-319-8

Translating HipHop
Hrsg. Diederichsen, Ismaiel-Wendt, Stemmler
orange press, Freiburg, 2012
(music video on included dvd)

International media coverage in “Die Zeit” (`09), “IlSole24Ori” (Italien ´09), “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” (Schweiz ´11), MTV Finland (´11), “art – das Kunstmagazin” (´09), “ZDF Kultur” (´07), “Hemispheres Magazin” (USA ´12) and others.

more here

The Heritage Series

Weekly changing constellations of objects and images
in the former department store window Donau Ecke Ganghofer in Berlin, Neukölln,
between November 2011 and April 2012.

Working on “heritage” in the sense of the emotional, material and cultural baggage my ancestors left me, I altered and assembled found and inherited objects.

Cleaning the marble floor of ancient glue stains.
Painting the sky on my old wooden slippers.
Recycling old images, wondering why and when an image feels “right”.
Discovering that happens when they resonate like i have seen them before.
I observed, interpreted and re-arranged.

To question the orders I found or chose, I invited others, such as the open sound and movement improvisation group “Improviloge” to play in and with my installation.

Parallely, I documented and reflected the weekly changes in words and photgraphically and published them in a blog.
For the closing event, I wrote possible titles for constellations of works on transparent sheets that the public could hang wherever they wanted.

In 2012, a printed documentation was published, including catalogue texts that I gathered in talks with coincidental passer-bys on the street in front of the window.

a short story about form and content

2011, G.A.S.-Station, Berlin

In march 2011, I installed a stuffed animal taken apart, with its outer skin reversed hanging on one side and its filling on the other side of an antique scale.

Via a blog on the project space´s website, the question(s) this object proposes became debatable.
I integrated paper cut-outs of peoples´comments week by week in the growing window installation.

video meditations

painting skies
2005-2009, 68 min., mini dv
loop in site-specific installation

I flew to Brazil to paint the sky in oil colours, because of the slowliness.

installation at Sin Bar, Berlin 2009



2013, 15 minuten, hd

In 1999, swimming saved my life. To feel the water surrounding, touching and carrying my body whilst offering an incredible freedom to move, I found grounding in this flux. I thought of making a video, just watching my arms enter and glide through the water in a continuous rhythm. Years later, I revisited that thought.



1999 / digitalized 2001, animated 2008

Double exposed analog 36mm halfframe film in one piece, digitalized and animated.
Images of the botanical garden in Barcelona cross those of a safari park.

installation in LUX, Berlin 2008

video excerpt



2008, mini dv

I paint my hidden smile

eMotion, G.A.S.-Station, Berlin 2008/09