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Dr. Johanna Dombois
Assistant Professor of Literary Form between Art and Science and Instrumentality



Johanna Dombois (*1967, Berlin) is an author/publicist specializing in literary arts and experimental dramaturgies. She writes essays and scientific prose, literary reports, fictitious documentations, biofiction, short epics and theater/literature/media reviews for print, radio, and the Internet. Miscellaneous work formats: Readings, lectures, speaking engagements, mixed media lectures, lecture performance (for the podium), staging, installation and intervention as well as music visualization and machinima (for stage and space).

She has worked at the Young Vic London, at workshops of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Globe Theater, and Theaterkunst GmbH Berlin. 1989–95: Studies in literature and theater studies as well as costume studies in Berlin, Cambridge (UK), Vienna and Uppsala. 1996ff: Freelance dramaturge at opera houses, music theater and media art houses, and teaching in Germany and abroad. 2001–05: Artistic director of the Stage for Music Visualisation at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. 2006: PhD under Peter Wapnewski in Berlin with a thesis on Richard Wagner's media dramaturgy. In 2012: Her book “Richard Wagner and His Media; For a Critical Practice of Music Theater” (with R. Klein) was published in Stuttgart by Klett-Cotta and nominated for Book of the Year (Opernwelt Critics’ Award). Johanna Dombois is a member of the authors’ board of the Deutsche Bühne and the scientific-artistic advisory board of Musik & Ästhetik.

She has worked with, among others, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, Radialsystem V, Het Muziektheater Amsterdam, the Staatstheater Kassel, the Semperoper Dresden, the Staatsoper Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institut für Medienkommunikation, the Techné Institute for Arts and Emerging Technologies in Buffalo, New York, the ZKM Karlsruhe, the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Theater der Zeit, Die Deutsche Bühne, Merkur, Spex, Die Zeit, Music & Aesthetics, Lettre International, Cabaret Voltaire Zurich, Opera Zurich, Bauhaus Dessau, Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen, the Bertolt Brecht Archive, Berlin, Literaturhaus Köln, Klett-Cotta, and Die Horen.

Her work has been commended with the Essay Literature Prize of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997), the Media Art Prize from the Federal Office for Culture in Switzerland (2005/07), the Residence Scholarship Istanbul of the NRW Art Foundation in the Literature category (2011/12), First Prize in the essay competition “Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft” [The Artwork of the Future] of the Bayreuth Festival (2013), a scholarship from North Rhine-Westphalia (2016), guest author residencies in Delphi (2011/2014, the Athens School of Fine and Media Arts), in Rhodes (2017, International Writers’ and Translators’ Centre) and Paros (2018, House of Literature), and a research award of the Adamas Foundation Götz Hübner for intercultural studies (2019).

She currently focuses on the context of texts – textures – textiles >< composing – programming – weaving. Her first prose volume on this subject, Rettungswesen [Beings that Rescue], explores life jackets [Rettungswesten] and other items of clothing that are used or worn in critical situations as “extensions of man” and in that sense living beings themselves. Rettungswesen was published by the Cologne Parasitenpresse | Verlag für Neue Literatur [Publishing House for New Literature] in late 2018 and nominated for the 2020 German Literature Prize for critical short texts.

Since 2017 Johanna Dombois has been an Assistant Professor of Literary Form between Art and Science/Instrumentality at the Institute for Music and Media of the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf.

Photo: © H. Wittmann/Staatsoper Stuttgart


Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf Fischerstraße 110, 40476 Düsseldorf

Fon: +49.211.49 18 -0