Exchanging artistic practices, overcoming distances in the process, (un)learning from each other and developing a shared vision – this is the concept of (UN)LEARNING DISTANCES, which is being successfully tested in the pilot phase at the FAVORITEN Festival 2022 with 17 residents from 9 countries.

In the international residency program, artists from NRW connect with artists worldwide to form a working tandem. In the digital space and on site, the individual teams research an artistic question in the months leading up to the festival and develop artistic works that will be shown as part of the FAVORITEN festival.

More than 120 applications were submitted for 2024 as part of an open call. Not only existing teams were able to apply, but also individual artists from NRW and the global context, who will form a new constellation for the residency and begin a joint working process.

The festival has selected and formed the following four teams:

  • Ignacia González Torres (Chile / Cologne, Germany), Pablo Garretón (Chile / Cologne, Germany), Lorenzo Morales Lobos (Santiago de Chile, Chile)
  • Calvin Hein (Ghana/ Dortmund, Germany) und Kay Kwabia (Accra, Ghana)
  • Liza Baliasnaja (Lithuania / Cologne, Germany) und Vera Boitcova (Russia / Helsinki, Finland)
  • Maria Renee Morales Garcia (Guatemala / Bochum, Germany) und Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi (Kumasi, Ghana)



Residents on Zoom call with the team

Ignacia González Torres, Pablo Garretón and Lorenzo Morales Lobos

Ignacia González Torres is a performer and theater director based in Köln. She studied acting and completed a master’s degree in Theater Studies in Chile. In 2015 she founded the theatre group Compañia de Teatro PERSONA to dispute perceptual normativities and research the role of sound in theater. Since 2021 she has been part of the collective what about: fuego participating at festivals as Politik im Freien Theater (Frankfurt) and Performing Arts Festival (Berlin).  
Pablo Garretón is a composer interested in chamber music with live electronics, multimedia and sound art. He studied composition in Chile and completed a master’s degree in electronic music and a concert exam at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne. In 2018 he received a composition prize for electronic music of the Acht Brücken Festival in Cologne. Since 2019 he has been member of the board of the Kölner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (Cologne). 
Lorenzo Morales is a telecommunication technician. He became blind in 1981 as a result of retinitis pigmentosa. He collaborated with the audiovisual production company Almada Media specialized in accessibility, advising more than 15 Chilean documentaries on the production of audio description. Since 2017 he is working as a light painting photographer and is part of the theatre group Compañia de Teatro PERSONA. 

About the collaboration
“How much power do words have as producers of reality? Is it possible to reconstruct what violence broke through descriptions? As Judith Butler says, “nonviolence requires a critique of what is considered reality” (2021). In the residency “The Force of Nonviolence. Expansive Audio Description (w.t.)”, we research how to produce this critical look from a blind perspective through Audio Descriptions that transfigure scenarios of violence from our imagination. “ 


Calvin Hein and Kay Kwabia

Calvin Hein lives in Dortmund and works in Germany and Ghana. His work centers around conceptual documentary and architecture photography. He is mostly interested in the intersection between society and nature and the question of whether our way of interaction with our environment is acceptable. Another big part of his practice is about his own identity as a German but also Ghanian who is trying to learn more about his heritage and family history. 

Kay Kwabia is a photographer. He lives in Accra (Ghana). His work encompasses experiences from different parts of Ghana. His practice centers around a documentation of his environment with a focus on the routine, the mundane and otherwise perceived uninteresting. The way humans relate and perceive this environment and vice versa is very present in his practice. 

About the collaboration: 
“We will be working on the notion of community and how that transcends the imposed physical limitations we are accustomed to.” 



Liza Baliasnaja and Vera Boitcova

Liza Baliasnaja (she/her) is a choreographer, performer and pedagogue working between Germany and Lithuania. In 2016, Liza completed dance education in Brussels at P.A.R.T.S and in 2023, graduated from BA in philosophy at the University of KU Leuven. Combining research in movement, language, and voice, her choreographic works investigate shapes and patterns of thinking and reading the world. She is interested in questioning the historical, political and social fabrics that tailor our sense of the self.    

Vera Boitcova is a theater director, playwright, curator, queer performance/video artist and political activist. Vera is a PhD candidate at the University of the Arts, Helsinki. She graduated from BA Directing – St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, Russia (2011), Master in Theater and Performance (Queen Mary University of London, UK) and in Dramaturgy (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany). She is an artist of the Future Lab EU program and an associate artist of Globe Art Point Helsinki. Vera is a former curator/coordinator of Eve’s Ribs Festival of Feminist Art and QueerFest (Russia). 

About the collaboration: 
“We will collaborate on a research around the emotion of fear. We want to look into different aspects of fear, its relation to the body, to storytelling and collectivity.”  




Maria Renee Morales Garcia and Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi

Maria Renee Morales Garcia is a visual artist from Guatemala, living and working in the Ruhrgebiet, who deals with the intersectionality of identity, looking at it through a decolonial and queer-feminist lens. Renee’s work is often installation based, but can often be experienced through different personal interactions such as happenings, workshops or performances and aims to encourage the viewer to question their positionality and remember the political impact it has.

Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi [ aka crazinisT artisT] is a Ghanaian trans woman with the pronoun sHit if not She. She works internationally as a multidisciplinary “artivist”, curator, philanthropist and a mentor across several countries. Va-Bene is the founder and artistic director of crazinisT artisT studiO (TTO), Our Railway Cinema Gallery (ORCG) and perfocraZe International Artists Residency (pIAR) in Ghana aimed at radicalising the arts and promoting exchange between international and local artists, activists, researchers, curators, and critical thinkers. 

About the collaboration: 
“In our ongoing dialogues and processes to create a hybrid of intimate and public encounters, we will invite the audience as co-participants to our communal table with food. The interactive installation will engage us all in intimate conversations that revolve around the discomfort of unlearning distances and spaces (physical, emotional, theoretical, politically) as radical steps towards reflections on our present dynamic experiences and the unknown future.“ 

The project is initiated and supervised by Anne Mahlow (Festival Director) and Patrick Kohn (Project Director). (UN)LEARNING DISTANCES is funded by the Kunststiftung NRW and with the kind support of the Goethe-Institut.

Die Beiträge der (UN)LEARNING DISTANCES 2022 sind in unserem Archiv gespeichert.

Zum Archiv 2022