Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop & Black Cracker: A Ballet of Slug and Shell

A Ballet of Slug and Shell is the first joint work between Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop and multi-disciplinary artist Black Cracker, who is known for his works in sound, text, video and installation. This piece has been created as a commissioned work celebrating the 200th anniversary of Konzerthaus Berlin and was supposed to be shown live in April 2021. The stage version has now been adapted and recorded with 360° cameras for a special video version. The thematical and musical starting point for the music performance in 7 acts was a critical reflection around Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber. In A Ballet of Slug and Shell Black Cracker and Kaleidoskop start a dialogue about community, practice exchange, privilege, taste, violence and discomfort. On this search to aesthetic perpectives on hirarchy, structural oppression and discrimination they question each other each other about their own artistic origins and traditions. The 360° video version of the piece will be available on 15 July 2021 for free on

Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber is seen by some as the “German national opera”, first performed in 1821 and premiered at today’s Konzerthaus Berlin. With its romanticized image of rural community it offered a projection surface for German longings for identification and was quickly stylized as a musical “national treasure”. From the critical reflection and deconstruction of this artifact of German “Leitkultur”, Kaleidoscope and Black Cracker span the arc to an examination of their own privileges, learned traditions and the elitism of classical music and negotiate spaces and multilateral communication.

In reference to Freischütz, Black Cracker opens up new spaces of meaning with his associations, which the project explores: The decisive shot from Freischütz and motifs of hunting and marksmanship is being connected to “shooting hoops” in basketball. For Black Cracker basketball holds almost musical powers within a black american context, quite similar to “classical music”. In this search a negotiation of survival is explored, as well as the complex consequences of disenfranchisement. “Put Your Hands Up” as the DJ’s invitation to the audience is being interchanged with “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” as the slogan of the Black Lives Matter movement. The shot with a gun, the throw at the hoop are both connected to the camera shot and the violent and voyeuristic nature of the camera with its target and trigger. In sometimes subtle, sometimes visually stunning scenes Black Cracker expands the thematic framework to include current black US-American themes and perspective, while themes of competition and police violence are woven into the work.

With a stage setting made of modular wooden structures, basket balls, string instruments, flags, video projections, white sheets and augmented reality, Black Cracker creates a constantly changing landscape. The ensemble and three performers plunge into moments of not only kitsch, but distortion and grace, within deconstructions of the ouverture from Freischütz. To swirling ambient electronic sounds, they explore constellations between confrontation and cooperation. Thanks to a 360-degree camera perspective, the audience can choose their own viewpoints through the piece.

Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop: Anna Faber, Ildiko Ludwig, Yodfat Miron, Michael Rauter, Caleb Salgado, Mari Sawada, Daniella Strasfogel

Special guests: Fritz Helder, Leonardo Liccini, Natasha Vergilio

Artistic direction: Black Cracker
Musical director: Paul Valikoski Dramaturgy and produktion management: Anna von Glasenapp
Music production: Black Cracker, Paul Valikoski, Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop
Stage: Lau Bau, Kalma Lab
Costume: Marquet K. Lee
Sound design: Olivia Oyama
Licht design: Veslemoy Holseter
Video design: Kalma Lab
Augmented Reality design: Camille Lacadee
360° video production: Black Cracker, Camille Lacadee
Libretto edit: Ricardo Domeneck, Black Cracker
Graphic design: Yule Franke
Photos: Dan Caetano
Instagram design: Laura Clock

Production: Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop (Nina Braatz, Anna von Glasenapp, Michael Hohendorf, Volker Hormann, Alexander Krupp, Boram Lie)

Thanks to: Peaches Nisker, Kiani del Valle

A commissioned work created for the 200th Anniversary of Konzerthaus Berlin. Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds. Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa. Based on the research project “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media