On the first night we looked at maps – Los Alemanes del Volga

An intimate documentary performance for ten to fourteen guests around a table with a gay couple, travelling through its family histories, to write its own story. Getting in touch with ancestors who can only be, who they want to be, when they are not at the place where they believe they would belong to.

Mainly in English, partly in German and Spanish
Further version: Mainly in German, partly in English and Spanish


The audience is welcomed to their place at the table where photos, maps, documents and a song book are scattered and mate tea is being served. With their documentary performance “On the first night we looked at maps – Los Alemanes del Volga” the Argentinean-German artist couple Federico & Wenzel Vöcks de Schwindt invite their audience on both a historical and biographical journey.

Following the Volga Germans who emigrated in the 18th century, it traces their passage from the German region of Hesse to Russia, and a hundred years later as they continued their path to the Americas. The performers confront themselves with fragments of past migration and the contradictions of family identity in an always shifting narrative of a couple searching for a queer heritage – and for a homeland that perhaps never existed.


Das Publikum ist eingeladen, an einem Tisch Platz zu nehmen, auf dem Fotos, Landkarten, Dokumente und ein Gesangbuch liegen, Mate-Tee wird gereicht. Das argentinisch-deutsche Künstlerpaar Federico & Wenzel Vöcks de Schwindt lädt mit seiner dokumentarischen Performance „On the first night we looked at maps – Los Alemanes del Volga“ zu einer gleichermaßen biografischen wie historischen Spurensuche ein.

Den Fährten der Wolgadeutschen folgend, die im 18. Jahrhundert aus dem Hessischen nach Russland auswanderten und 100 Jahre später ihren Weg auf dem amerikanischen Kontinent fortsetzten, setzen sich die Performer mit vergangener Migration und den Widersprüchen familiärer Identität auseinander – im fluiden Erzählfluss eines Paares auf der Suche nach einem “Queer Heritage“ und einer Heimat, die nie existierte.

Photos of the version 2019 at TATWERK | Performative Forschung

Photos of the version 2021 at TD Berlin

Photos: Jana Kießer


Research, Text & Performance Federico & Wenzel Vöcks de Schwindt

A production by Vöcks de Schwindt, in cooperation with TATWERK | Performative Forschung.
Thank you to Esther Samuels-Davis for drawing the figures for the toy theatre.

Show history:

* During the festival’s online edition Performing Arts Festival Berlin@home a video recording of the performance was available on demand in the festival’s Digital Showroom. // Based on the performance the festival invited us to create Instructions for those at home #1.
** Instead of the analogue festival we were invited to participate in Screaming into the void with a brief digital statement in form of a video as well as in two online discussions on Digital Theatre – Void and Vision.
*** The revival in cooperation with TD Berlin, funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa des Landes Berlin. Media partner is taz. die tageszeitung.
Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa taz.die tageszeitung

Information for theatres and festivals

This production is available for touring. For further information please click on the link above and contact me.