Artists in the Country: How Life in Northeast Jack Inspired All Professions of the Dam Hamster

Dear Franz Fomann! My father and mother gave me the book “Die Titanenschlacht” and they read it to me.” Thus begins the first letter written by Joachim Dam in 1975 to the author of the children’s book, which was still unknown to him personally. After reading the book, it was Joachim, who was nine years old At the time, he still has questions like: “Why did Gaia become so skinny and then a block of earth?” At the end of the letter is the boy’s humble wish: “If you have the time, you can write to me.”

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Foman answers! With several printed pages. Hence arose friendship and technical cooperation on an equal footing. The famous writer writes for the enthusiastic boy a play of the sultan of the slave and the fat woman. And Joachim Fühmann helps with amazing ideas from many of the intertwined writers…

Awakened fire game Joachim. He constantly draws and designs figurines – such as costumes or costume designs – for plays.

Active in the puppet theater of Neubrandenburg

The parental home prepares technical humus, free meetings with famous writers such as Fühmann, Sarah Kirsch or Alfred Wellm. Joachim’s mother is Sigrid Dam, author of partly living fantasy biographies on the classics of Weimar, Goethe, Schiller, and Welland. She lived as a writer at Klein Varchow in the Müritz district. Joachim “Hamster” Damm also went on a journey of discovery with his mother to discover Goethe in their picture book Geheimnißvoll Evident – Goethe im Berg.

Read also: A small village is making a big fuss

And what he does not have in his life. Hamster Damm was shown at the Neubrandenburg Puppet Theater, where he was Head of Design and Actor, became Volker Pöller’s principal student at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee and is now a successful stage designer. He set the design for directors such as Linder Hausmann and Frank Castorf in Berlin. “For Shakespeare, the Sturm makes me the greatest shipwreck that ever happened in Germany!” said director of the hit film “Sonnenallee,” Leander Hausmann. And the hamster did it: an eight-meter ship with a giant sail and baroque figures, the stern of which finally disappeared into the back stage of the Berlin set with a great deal of noise.

With his wife at the Schwerin Theater

Hamster Damm is now working with his wife, actress Steffi Kühnert (“Dasweiße Band”, “Half Stairs”, etc.) at the Schwerin Theatre. Both now live in the village of Panschenhagen near Warren, where he “lured” crime scene actor Horst Kotterba. The hamsters even devised a ready-made village theater—and successfully—to prevent a chicken-fattening facility from being set up there: Dressed in white protective suits and red felt hats, Panschenhagens roam the fields like human chickens. For cheerful nursery rhymes and pop songs like “My Grandma rides a motorcycle in the chicken coop” and “Chicken Run” from Talking Heads. A giant black chicken on wheels led the merry protest march.

Equally stunning, but a little longer ago, the poster “Grandma, why do you have big teeth” designed by Hamster Dam, which shows Egon Krenz as a caricature of a wolf with a nightcap in a Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s bed and has become a kind of symbol of the protests against reunification in Maidan Alexander in Berlin.

Water art sauna humiliating

Life in the North also inspired the innovative inventor to create his own “water art”. He traveled the country in a self-designed mobile show sauna, simply stood at Goetheplatz in Weimar or Lärzer Fusionsgelände, and allowed everyone to have a sauna – as an art form open to the public. Hamster Damm has revitalized a 7.5 ton folding truck for this purpose. This was formerly the setting for “machine art” – a rediscovery of a kind of “daily news” from the early 19th century. In the Romantic era, tin statues that were mechanically cut and moved with a lot of noise would travel across the country telling people the latest happenings. The renaissance of this global stage with roving puppets by hamsterdam has even inspired actor and musician Raynald Gripp.

By the way, the “art of water” appeared as it should have: a few Frenchmen complained about the apparent merging of all things, and the mobile sauna hamsters let go. Then he called this crazy act “the art of escape”: “If there’s a problem, pack up and run!”

Now the artist can be seen in the production of “Astral Shine, Shine” – an almost strange anticipation of the Ukraine war – at the Schwerin Theater: as a painter for his stage design. And in Tetero, he works with young people to design statues – as Franz Fomann once did with him.

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