Why “Werkstatt”?

One can find Werkstätten (the plural for Werkstatt) in practically every field of expertise. My grandfather’s Werkstatt was full of tools for woodwork, because he repaired nearly every window in our neighborhood. My father’s Werkstatt had a wide array of electronic gear, starting with simple things like radios and ending with an item I found particularly impressive: an oscilloscope. My mother’s sewing Werkstatt would be temporarily installed in the dining room whenever we needed new clothing, which you couldn’t buy in the GDR. Of course, in our world of the theater, we are familiar with Werkstätten for stage, light, sound, and costume design.

What do all these places share? The fact that they are a place where one can merge objects and ideas into a new presence. In German, we have the words conference/Konferenz, platform/Plattform, workshop/Workshop, atelier/Atelier and garage/Garage. But, when we were looking for a name for our first izzy-maniac gathering last year, we did not only want to link it to the software itself. Instead, we wanted to express that this meeting is about bringing something new into the world. The German word Werkstatt captures this idea perfectly.

– Xenia Leydel

Producer, Isadora Werkstatt 2017