Video. By Venla Elina Helenius. Ars Libera, Kuopio // Pori Biennal, Helsinki. 2022

  • Photo by Venla Helenius

The only thing I have is my desire to escape to other worlds. 

And to pause for moments when laughter and crying have not yet been unleashed, 

and being feels in the back of your throat and in the pit of your stomach. 

Yes… I only have this desire of mine. Can you hear me?”

Four characters construct a layered fiction for the camera. They are looking for thrill, catharsis, emancipation. Sentimentum depicts layered desires produced by imagination. The characters of the piece possess the ability to imagine fantastical worlds where unruly energy flows between tense bodies and through them. The piece portrays the need of the characters to experience in their bodies such bliss that can only be experienced in escapist fantasies. And it acknowledges their fascination with sentimentalism, and their deep longing for melodramatic finales.

Sentimentum is being shown as a one-channel video installation.

“mitä mä teen tällä”
“cars at the beach”


concept, script, directing, filming, editing, costumes: Venla Helenius

performers: Teo Ala-Ruona, Anna Kuusamo, Minna Partanen

sound recordings, sound editing, music: Johannes Birlinger

english translation: Eve Lahikainen


Theater Oberhausen. By Simone Dede Ayivi & Kompliz*innen. 2022.

  • Photo by Kornelia Kugler

Hinter jedem Moment von Theatermagie stecken Menschen, die ihn möglich gemacht haben. Die meisten von ihnen kann man in den Programmheften und Theaterwebsites nur im Kleingedruckten finden. Sie arbeiten in so unterschiedlichen Bereichen wie Maske, Videotechnik oder Schlosserei. Was sie tun und wie und welche Fragen sie sich dabei stellen, steht in diesem Stück im Zentrum.

Die Stimmen der Oberhausener Theatermitarbeiter:innen treffen auf eine Choreografie der Bühnenelemente. Per Video geht es hinter die Kulissen, während auf der Bühne Wolken vorüberziehen, ein Donnergrollen kommt und geht und Blitze tonlos aus der Ferne leuchten. So entsteht eine Hommage an das Theater von der Bühne aus und zugleich eine Erzählung über die Arbeitswelt und ihre Veränderung.  

trailer by siegersbusch


Director:Simone Dede Ayivi
Stage Design:Lani Tran-Duc
Sound design and music: Johannes Birlinger
Video: Kornelia Kugler, Tina Wilke
Dramaturgy: Raban Witt
Assistant (Dramaturgy and Production): Selma Böhmelmann


Theater Sgaramusch Schaffhausen (CH), FFT Düsseldorf (DE), Rotondes Luxembourg (LUX), Theater Liechtenstein TAK Schaan (LI). By Biedermann, Vonder Mühll, Thuwis. 2022.

  • Photo by Christian Herrmann

Wir lassen uns gehen. Wir sind nicht immer nett. Wir fühlen uns manchmal traurig, manchmal wütend, ohne zu wissen warum. Und auch wenn wir uns oft dafür schämen, ist unser Dämon ein Teil von uns, der uns lebendig macht. Wie sieht dein Dämon aus? Sprichst du mit ihm? Tanzt er mit dir?

Das dokumentarische Tanztheater Dämonen entsteht aus Interviews und als Ergebnis einer intensiven Recherche mit Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen. Dämonen ist düster, dreckig, urig, dabei voller Lebensbejahung, Energie, Tanz und sinnlichen Bildern. Im Theater entsteht ein furchtloser Begegnungsraum, in dem Dämonen tanzen und gefeiert werden. 

trailer by Nele Jeromin & Lisa Bülow

Angst Tanzt
Um Zu Leben


Concept, research, development: Working Group
 Hannah Biedermann
Choreography and performance: Ives Thuwis & Nora Vonder Mühlll
Sound design and music: Johannes Birlinger
Stage and costumes: Regina Rösing
Collaboration concept, technician : Stefan Colombo
Production: Theater Sgaramusch & Cornelia Wolf

Homecooking – Neues aus der diasporischen Küche

Simone Dede Ayivi und Kompliz*innen – Co-production with Sophiensaele Berlin and Theaterformen Festival Hannover. 2021.

  • Photo by Renata Chueire

Simone Dede Ayivi and her accomplices are firing up their ovens. They’ve come together to cook, having gathered recipes, shopping lists, entire cuisines – and, indeed, kitchens. And all of this along with the accompanying stories about family relationships and processes of separation, culinary assimilation pressure, fake fufu, the hummus paradox and kofta exoticism. They are taking a stand against the German aversion to caraway and garlic, hacking the potato system and opening up a few storage jars. They present hard-to-digest issues as light fare and lift the lids on each other’s lives and histories. Together they are writing the theatrical cookbook of their culinary migration heritage and asking: what will we be cooking tomorrow?  

In “Home Cooking”, Simone Dede Ayivi stands as a performer in the kitchens on the stage. People from the most diverse communities, generations and places share their stories and recipes in video and audio plays. 

The music and sound design for this piece builds a lot on sampled, edited, and processed cooking- and eating noises. The sound system is a basic 4.1 surround set up. However, there are also 4 transducers directly mounted on various surfaces of the set-kitchen. Those are mainly used as hidden speakers for the voice recordings (to create intimacy and a specific sense of space), but also for sound effects and to make the construction vibrate and resonate. 

Concept and performance: Simone Dede Ayivi / Set design, costume: Charlotte Pistorius / Video: Jones Seitz / Dramaturgy: Bahar Meriç / Sound design, music: Johannes Birlinger / Lighting: Susana Alonso / Production assistant: Selma Böhmelmann / Set design assistant: Yasmin Alt / Production management: ehrliche Arbeit – Freies Kulturbüro / Technical production: Gefährliche Arbeit / Publicity photos: Kornelia Kugler / Press photos: Renata Chueire / Cooks: Atiye Altül, Jeff Hollweg, Dan Thy Nguyen, Nadia Shehadeh und Efia / Translation: Anna Galt / Surtitles: Yvonne Griesel

Co-production: SOPHIENSÆLE, Festival Theaterformen / Funded by a basic subsidy from the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, the HannoverStiftung and by the Fonds Darstellende Künste through funds from the Federal Commission for Culture and Media


Staatstheater Mainz. 2020.

  • Photo by De-Da Productions

“Bodybilder” (transl. “Body Images”) was originally planned as a live performance by the young dancers of the Staatstheater. Due to the Corona Pandemic we decided to instead shoot this short film about bodies, body images, social media.

Bodybilder pt1 (music only)
Bodybilder pt2 (music only)
Bodybilder pt3 (music only)
Bodybilder pt4 (music only)


Von und mit: Milena Breideband, Sara Bursac, Royem Gültekin, Elena Horne, Katrin Kia, Sarah Kia, Nele Wegerle

Künstlerische Leitung: Marina Grün
Konzept und Choreografie: Marina Grün, Katelyn Skelley
Sound- und Musikkomposition: Johannes Birlinger
Video: De-Da Productions
Fotos: De-Da Productions
Kostüme: Ronja Bendel
Text „ich passe hier nicht rein“: Sarah Kia
Assistenz und Interviews: Veronika Regler

Weitere Teilnehmer*innen in der Recherchephase: Charlotte Buchner, Christina Dithmar, Lena Faber, Carolin Zheng Grau, Julia Marx, Nora Mitra, Matilda Oelmann, Jonna Öhl, Lilian Öhl, Anna Ryschka


Performance and installation. Vallisaari, Helsinki. 2018.

“Insel” was a site sensitive performance that invited the audience to travel to the island of Vallisaari, just off the coast of Helsinki, Finland. Dealing with questions of home, abandonment, archaeology and memory, it consisted of two audio installations, a room installation, and a one-on-one performance. As part of the process I collected drift matter from the shores of the island where I spent several weeks. From some o the materials I created a bench and a stool that formed the room installation together with pieces of driftwood and other found objects.

“The boat to Vallisaari”
The audience listened to this track using headphones and a mp3 player. The length of it corresponds roughly with the duration of the ferry trip from Helsinki to the island of Vallisaari.


Madhouse. Helsinki. 2020.

  • Photo by Venla Helenius

This performance-essay about parks was conceived by Venla Helenius and Milka Luhtaniemi. The sound design consisted of a 8.1 surround arrangement, the base being recordings of spoken word, both in Finnish and English. Additionally, I worked with live loops of Livia Schweizer’s flute playing. The material for the composed parts of the sound design also consists mainly of sampled flute sounds. We were happy to use Tatu Nenonen’s self-built subwoofer (which also served as part of the set design with a summer-meadow growing on top of it).

An edit of the ending of Tyyntyimen. This piece is originally 12 minutes long. During most of it the space is empty of the performers.

Concept, texts, performing, spatial design: Venla Helenius and Milka Luhtaniemi
Lighting design and spatial design: Sofia Palillo
Sound design and composition: Johannes Birlinger
Flutist and improvisation: Livia Schweizer
Voice over: Aino Lintunen
English translation: Eve Lahikainen

Wer Werden

Staatstheater Mainz. By Hannah Biedermann & Ensemble. 2020.

  • Photo by Andreas Etten

In this research-based performance about questions of personal future, professions, identity, I worked with 4 tape recorders on stage. The sound design was the result of a meticulous choreography of playing back different tapes by the performers. On the tapes were pieces of music relevant to themselves but also edits of interviews with children and other experts as well as composed sound design and music by myself.

Deformation (using various text-snippets from youtube videos)

Perfect Family

Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf. By Hannah Biedermann & Ensemble. 2019.

  • Photo by Thomas Rabsch

“Perfect Family — Eine Glücksforschung von Menschen mit Behinderung.”
By Hannah Biedermann und Ensemble. Premiere 2019. Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf. Music and Sounddesign: Johannes Birlinger.

Alberts Tango
Allein und frei
Größe: 1,49
Ronsdorfer Straße