Looking at her video essays “Contained Mobility” (2004) and “Sahara Chronicle” (2007), the artist's lecture tackles questions of clandestine mobility today and the politics of containment which attempt to control it. Diverting the attention from the present fascination with power geographies and repressive border regimes, her videos explore the counter-geographies constituted by undercover operating systems, innovative practices of resistance and migratory self-determination. Entering clandestine, off-track and virtual spaces, Ursula Biemann suggests ways in which artists may inscribe themselves in these symbolic and material spaces.
Title: Reflexion über die Wirksamkeit
An increasing number of projects on city development, which attempt to make use of artistic interventions in the urban space as draft and design tools, is currently noticeable. These attempts are based on an assumption that the established instruments of city planning and Urban Design are not capable of adequately adapting to present challenges within the urban space – ranging from participation to intenseness of experience. Meanwhile, artistic practices become a possible remedy for alternative processes in the field of Urban Design. An interdisciplinary team at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg commenced a research project in September 2010, focusing on the efficiency of such interventions. Coming to Paderborn, we want to put our initial approaches up for discussion.
Title: Objekt - Situation - Intervention. Zum Handlungsbegriff der Skulptur
The pursuit of interventionist phenomena and the so-called new genre of public art has generated a mode of historiography, which gained widespread approval within a short while. The practices of interventionism are in this sense mostly related to the 1920’s avant-gardes and/or the neo-avant-gardes from the 1960’s/70’s, as to claim a shifted estimation of “the politics” being a suitable attribute for differentiation. The contribution “Objekt - Situation - Intervention” shall elaborate on the example of the media-aesthetic determination of sculpture, particularly the determination of a so-called site specifity, while casting a glance on the crux of such a historical construct.
Title: Das Fake als Intervention
One might define a hoax as a method of forgery in which the disclosure of the deception is calculated a priori. In particular, I will address the critical effects of this form of aesthetico-political intervention in my paper. In addition to general theoretical considerations of the hoax’ strategy, I will take a closer look at specific campaigns, such as those performed by the ‘The Yes Men’ and other activists inspired by this group. With help of the key terms ‘identity correction,’ ‘über-affirmation’ and ‘production of visibility,’ I would like to investigate the critical potential of hoaxes to induce institutional transformations in the world economy. Finally, I will also show when such a form of activism must reach its limits.
Title: Gefährliche Liebschaften – Kunst zwischen Widerstand und Umarmung
Artistic interventions aiming at commercial spheres or public space very often have to encounter an intelligent surrounding that is able to play the subtle game of subversion as cunningly as its intruders. Critical detachment meets the pleasure of giving a brilliant performance. These intricate interactions are constantly permeating the demarcation line between system and the artists’ interference. Many projects reveal that intervention and cooperation operate in dialogue which leads us beyond the simple notion of an irreconcilable opposition of affirmation and protest.
Title: Bildpraktiken an den Randzonen des Politischen
Attempts at social criticism in contemporary art primarily aim at depictive conventions of politics within the media. Differing from art practices during the classical modernism, present positions tend to neglect satirical deconstructions of protagonists from the political scene, while rather creating “aesthetic discontinuities”. Instead of caricaturing the prescribed media view on theatrical manifestations of politics, more attention is conducted to the off-screen space of the stage of politics. Through shifting the vantage point, “media paradoxes” in forms of political staging and their concurrent commissioning of resistant trends are made visible. The grotesque, having been an important aesthetic tool of uncovering hierarchies and power relations in modernism, now moves from the periphery into the centre of social and political life in present culture. This contradictory logic, aligning visible events in politics with a grotesque disarrangement of the ethic normativity, shapes a starting point for the artistic debates of today. These react on the erosion of politics by depriving of anticipated view relations in the media.
Title: Ausstellung oder Kult? Benjamin, Deleuze und die Politik des Kinos
In his "work of art" essay, Walter Benjamin argues for a politicisation of perception, receiving its training through the experience of the metropolis and developing its appropriate artistic medium in film. Essentially he uses the contrast between 'exhibition value' and 'cult value'. Georg Simmel can be seen as the theorist who provides the backing for the concept of 'exhibition value': in a modern society individuals have a right and a necessity to be exhibited. To turn the attention to the ambivalence of that concept, it is helpful, though, to refer to Michel Foucault’s concept of the dispositif. In contrast, Gilles Deleuze shifts attention from a social theory to an ontology and as a philosopher of cinema looks for the 'time-image' and a 'seer', concepts which oscillate between aesthetics and mysticism. Insofar the Deleuzian philosophy (of cinema) re-establishes, in a pseudo-revolutionary way, the return of 'cult value'.
Title: Synthetic Performance: Ein Missbrauch von Unterhaltungselektronik
In an ongoing project the net artists and „hacktivists” Eva and Franco Mattes are re-enacting historical performances inside the online platform „Second Life”. In this context it is not only exciting, which transformations the performances are subject to or how the art space is extended into the virtual world, but primarily to look at the (playful) appropriation and thus rededication of well known works of art as well as of consumer electronics. The latter will be at the center of the talk, mainly because therein the question of „interventions” in the (semi-)public space of MUDs can be discussed.
Title: Eingriffe in den Möglichkeitsraum? Stadtprojekte als neues Genre des Theaters
For Willi Dorner, his project urban drifting gains interventional character when happening on the street. Intervention as interference in (urban) space questions the materiality of intervention and also of the space-to-interfere. Contemporary theatre can be said to be akin to urban space; both are spaces of potentiality in the sense of a shifting in material weighting: potential space overtakes real present space, opens its own and autonomous dimensions of experience. Materiality is constituted in the responsibility of the spectators, in their ability to practice and create space.
Title: Die Situationisten und die Aufhebung der Kunst: Was bleibt davon nach fünfzig Jahren?
The Situationist International is much better known today than during its actual existence (1957-1972). It is often considered as the last historical attempt to link avant-garde art with avant-garde politics. But what the Situationists really wanted was the “supersession of art” by revolution. Is there currently some form of art or politics which can claim to continue this? Is it not the case, however, that the transcendence of art that they sought was linked to an idea of progress which today seems itself surpassed, with the result that a defense of art with “Situationist” arguments now seems possible? And if it appears so, of which art?
Title: „Das Ufo ist gelandet“ // Transformationen, Interventionen, Aneignungen. Reflexionen zur Eichbaumoper
Architects, such as the Berlin-based collective Raumlabor, who are key actors in my research pursue on interventionist and participative approaches - for example in their project „Eichbaumoper“. Using the means of art, these architects try to create new perceptions within and of the urban space and intent to open up horizons of experience beyond the known. At the same time these temporary projects are asking specific questions about the social, political and historical dimensions of a respective location. My talk is therefor motivated by various questions: What kind of understanding of architecture is generated by these temporary interventions? How are artistic practices used as means to broaden the understanding of urban realities?
Title: Kollektivillusionen und Informationsguerilla
All we know for sure is, that we don't know anything. The media often report in a manipulated way and out of context. Even our history we don't really know, as we got the results after a filtering process. Still today, governments tend to hide all sorts of information, the industry misleads us by distributing faked references by ways of PR. Now the internet offers an alternative to contradict the traditional gate keepers by blogging. The speaker runs experimental operations to challenge the financial industry, the german courts of media affairs and the aviation industry. He supports WikiLeaks.org, the website to interact the propaganda of the gate keeper's cartel. As a result, the referent is target of german Wikipedia's establishment because of his critical views of the project's strange community that controls one of the internet's most important gate keeper.
Titel: Participation at the core intervention art in Québec: the manoeuvre and community art as inventive forms of artistico-social involvement
Two sorts of an artistic and social dedication are to be addressed in this talk: the interfering action and the art of the community. Numerous artists from Québec experiment not only with these forms; they equally urge theoretic and analytic approaches (e.g. the works of Le Lieu and the respective journals Inter: arts actuels as well as Engrenage noir/LEVIER). Although differing in some manners, the interfering action and the art of the community share a crucial notion: certain forms of participation in the realization of the works not only play a role in the approximation among art and its non-publicness but unclose the possibility of personal intervention, as citizen, in the city. This idea is to be analyzed, with emphasis on the limitation of practices having recourse on it. Which form of participation is offered to the public? In how far can artistic participation be seen as a civic act? Might this participation as part of an artistic and collaborative process encourage political subjectivization? What do these socio-artistic forms reveal about the definition of the public space and the scope for civic acts?
Title: Moonwalk in EchtZeit
Through her artistic research project FACELESS Luksch investigated the legal framework intended to safeguard a conception of privacy in regards to video surveillance and data transfers. Based on those findings, she formulates a critique of the dominant notion of progress defined by commercial parameters and equally its undermining effect on both, public and private spheres as pillars of autonomous self determination: moonwalking into the future - the illusion of walking forward while sliding backwards.
Title: Für eine neue Heteronomieästhetik. Politik, Kunst, Öffentlichkeit
Based on a critique of Jacques Rancières highly regarded works on aesthetics, this contribution words the assumption that politics and aesthetics need to be brought together in terms of an aesthetic of heteronomy within a philosophical layer. This proposition is going to be illustrated in the second part by means of different artistic practices of intervention in the public space, respectively the production of public space.
Title: Grundzüge politischer Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert
The talk attempts to sketch the development of political art starting with the 1920s and going right through to end of the 20th century. The focus hereby does not lie on statecraft, but shall be directed to different forms of artistic opposition against political and social hegemony in the respective periods. A host of questions is to be discussed: the specifics of such political art, its types of enunciation and strategies, its items and icons, the relation to artistic avant-gardes and social movements of their days.
Title: Intervention als „moral provisoire“ unserer Zeit
This contribution is centred around the following question: What are the conceptual conditions under which the notion of intervention can be thought out as an act related to a given situation, yet capable of transforming it. Lacan’s categories of the symbolic, the imaginary and the real are the necessary conceptual tools for thinking of such an act. Setting out from Badiou’s political reactualization of Decartes’ well known maxim for a provisory moral in a situation in which the old has lost its efficacy, while the new is not yet taking shape, the talk seeks to conceive the interventional act as compass for orientation in thinking and existence.
Title: Politik der Wahrnehmung als Voraussetzung für eine neue Poetik des Raumes? Überlegungen am Beispiel zeitgenössischer Theaterinszenierungen in Brasilien und Argentinien
Teatro Vertigem (Brazil) and Teatro Periférico de Objetos (Argentina) are only two examples of a large number of Latin-American theatre groups that define the space of art beyond mimesis. The lecture will concentrate especially on the “stages” that are chosen to perform, since they are determined by the intervention in public spaces (the street, the underground, squares, etc.). It will deal with the question in how far these interventions are meant to provide a social stage for visibility, to put up a fight (“agon”) for social existence. This question will not only enhance exploration of the structural relationship between politics and performativity. More than that, it is understood as a challenge to reflect about new poetics of space beyond the Aristotelian regime of representation. Ranciére’s ideas about the aesthetics of politics will provide some support to include the problem of perception into this reflection.
Title: \run subversion.exe - Subversive Medienpraktiken als Mythos und Praxis
New media became quickly famous for stimulating deviant practices. Naturally, new media question traditional custom, make some old business models obsolete and allow users to actively produce and distribute media content. The diffusion of new technologies often is attended by a promise for social progress through technological advancement. Especially the computer technology, the Internet, the World Wide Web and the so-called Web 2.0 as well as mobile phones are often dubbed as “tactical media” and acquired a myth as the political activists’ secret weaponry. This myth is emphasized in widely reported exemplary cases of subversive media, such as civil disobedience (Twitter in Tehran), artist activism against corporations (Suicidemachine and Facebook), or fun guerilla activities (Anonymous and Scientology). My paper revisits tactical media and deviant use. I argue that the definition of subversive media practices is completely arbitrary and that it acquired a positive connotation solely due to the political correctness of the activists. However, it neglects that many examples of deviant media use often do not exceed a mere symbolic value.
Title: The Organ That Weeps
“Black” does not reference a particular group with fixed characteristics, whose social being or artistic imagination is determined by skin colour, genetic make up or biological inheritance. It does not invoke an essentialized cultural identity, frozen in time, which is automatically transmitted into the work, and can thus be held to “represent” collectively all those who belong to a particular “race”, ethnic community, or tradition. “Black” as deployed here, is a politically, historically and culturally constructed category: a contested idea, whose ultimate destination remains unsettled.