Valle Venia

Art and science

Art and science

Over the years, Valle Venia has been built around a remarkable couple: Hanna Michel and Leo Philipp Schmidt. Both are doctors, and understood very early on the major importance of interdisciplinarity in overcoming every challenge. Healing a patient means much more than dealing with the apparent symptoms. It's also about seeing the individual in his or her entirety and complexity. As part of this approach, they have set up a pain treatment centre where doctors from different disciplines work together. More recently, they have added a psychologist to their team.
But much more than that, they have created Valle Venia as a meeting place for art and science.
They have brought together artists from all horizons and all continents. But also scientists from all over the world. The aim is to approach the same subject from as many different perspectives as possible, in the conviction that nothing but good things will come of the encounters that arise. There is something extremely transgressive about this approach, insofar as everyone is working together in a field that is foreign to them and outside their area of expertise.

I met Leo and Hanna just at the end of 2019. Just after we started working together, the first lockdown began and, with it, the planet went into a period in which our vision of the world was permanently transformed. The divisions in our societies became apparent to us and became more pronounced. Identity, a key theme for Valle Venia, took on a whole new importance and acquired a whole new colour.

"The perception of the ego, of the self, of our identity, of our connection to the world are further opened in many ways and also lead to a deepened awareness of our own responsibility in relation to our behavior towards others and within society. This also gains a political dimension.
Implications of our actions in relation to the scientific knowledge gained define and underpin a code of values that we must embrace."
Hanna Michel, Leo Philipp Schmidt

Since then we've collaborated on a number of productions, mostly short films, in which I've had the pleasure of participating both as an actress and behind the camera. Some of these films, such as The Lake, were shown at the 2023 Venice Film Festival.

In the spring of 2023, I had the pleasure of taking part in a discussion between Georg Northoff (philosopher, neuroscientist and psychiatrist), Balu Rajendrakurups (Indian percussionist), Anne-Marie Waldeck (German actress) and Martina L. Smith (Mental health speaker, Podcast host, Model, Actress in Canada) on the theme of identity. We discussed the loss of identity, both the loss provoked and desired by the artist in order to take on his role, and the unintentional loss suffered by the patient suffering from a personality disorder.

The Lake
Short film, 2022
Directed by Leo Philipp Schmidt
Camera by Max Solo and Rika Ryzhykova

Song and music video, 2020
Written and directed by Leo Philipp Schmidt
Dress by Leo Philipp Schmidt

Find the work of Georg Northoff >>> here