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STRATA, a project layering film and performance art, looks at caves as proto-cinema and proto-space for altered states – sites of knowledge-making that through the ages have been used by humans as powerful portals and places for the creation of art. In prehistoric caves of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Swabian Jura and other subsurface environments, performance art meets science, theatre, dance, visual art, and music through international collaborations and interdisciplinary processes.

We don't go to a place to tell a story.
We go to a place to find the story.



Conceived, written, directed and produced by

Verena Stenke, Andrea Pagnes (VestAndPage)

Director of Cinematography & Editor Verena Stenke

Assistance, still photography Marcel Sparmann

Lighting director, cinematography daz disley

Cinematography Fenia Kotsopoulou

Sound design, audio arts Douglas Quin

Set director, drone operator Giovanni Dantomio

Masks + Costume design VestAndPage, Balaustio


Aldo Aliprandi (Sound), Marianna Andrigo (Movement), Andreas Bauer Kanabas (Classical bass), Anguezomo Mba Bikoro (Performance), Giorgia De Santi (Performance), daz disley (Sound), Francesca Fini (Performance & Digital animation), Nicola Fornoni (Performance), La Saúla / La Pocha Nostra (Performance), Stephan Knies (Violin), Fenia Kotsopoulou (Dance, Visuals), Boris Nieslony (Performance), Ralf Peters (Voice art), Enok Ripley (Performance), Sara Simeoni (Dance), Marcel Sparmann (Performance), VestAndPage (Performance), Susanne Weins (Voice art).

Scientific contributors

Dr Nicolas Conard, PhD, Dr Stefanie Kölbl, Kurt Wehrberger M.A., Dr Guido Bataille, Johannes Wittmann M.A., Barbara Spreer M.A., Dr Bernhard Stumpfhaus, Rudolf Walter M.A.

A VestAndPage production, Germany, 2021/22

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner of Culture and the Media.

Realized in collaboration with Museum of Prehistory in Blaubeuren, Museum Ulm, Cojote Outdoor, EntrAxis e.V., A.P.S. Studio Contemporaneo E.T.S., Live Arts Cultures.

With the support of UNESCO World Heritage: Caves and Ice Age Art of the Swabian Alb, State Office for Cultural Heritage of Baden-Wuerttemberg, ForstBW, Blauwald GmbH & Co KG, Stadt Blaubeuren, City of Schelklingen, City of Grabenstetten, City of Asselfingen, Museum association Schelklingen, Urgeschichte Hautnah, Tress Gastronomie/Wimsener cave.

Gratitude to the University of Exeter Research Network Rock/Body: Performative Interfaces between the geologic and the body, especially Prof Nigel Clarke and Dr João Florêncio, as well as Timothy Morton.

The fifth performance-based film project by VestAndPage deals with Deep Time and layers of memory in human history and the geological, at the Swabian Jura caves used by Ice Age humans for shelter about 33.000 to 43.000 years ago and finding sites of the oldest known examples of human figurative sculptures. The STRATA project brings together artists and researchers to investigate the human body as a site that exists in continuity with the geological in the depth of subsurface environments. Body artists illuminate concepts of time, ecological intelligence and stratified societies in caves through performances for the camera, nourished by conversations with specialists from archaeology, geology, speleology, art history, philosophy, and time psychology. In a queer ecology, growing complexity and cohesion is seen as an evolutionary consequence, and plurality, the resolution of binary oppositions and the social inclusion of diversity are considered necessary prerequisites to serve the understanding and further development of life. 

Intending to open up a contemporary discourse on the past, the project illuminates the challenges of the present's central social issues from artistic and academic perspectives. Questions are whether the separation between nature and culture can be overcome by changing bodies' views and how we can give visibility to deposits in the depths of the human being, in the earth and human history, and in society and the psyche. This requires a critical confrontation with romantically distorted images of "nature and naturalness", and a dismantling of consolidated narratives and aesthetics. To draft a potential design of a postcolonial future, it is fundamental to work together in an interdisciplinary cooperation and information exchange between the arts and sciences.


Our joint production process involves remembering and imagining real and possible worlds while raising awareness of our geological, political and social past and future. The participating renowned artists embody therein the fundamental principle of diversity; they are knowingly representative bodies that artistically reflect and put into discussion the layers of contemporary societies and social and ecological environments.

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