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ON P R O J E CT I ON Exhibition Opening 13th May 2015 – 18.00 14.05.2015 17.05.2015


Notes on “Historiography as Aesthetic Practice”: Taking Distance to Make Sense. Literature Between Liberation and Power Looking for discourse formations in works of Literature as a non-Looking for discourse formations in works of Literature as a non-scientific complex, because literature enables access to subjects the way statistics/numbers/ scientific reports never could and can be seen as a seismograph for cultural change; then, looking for discourse formations in works of literature from different canons, in order to compare and expand knowledge is all just safe to say. Literature and art as semi-liberalized fields, where one can “say things”–use metaphors, sarcasm, political references, produce free criticism–actually contain factual knowledge as they can be used to mirror the seismic activity of major constellations of power in terms of Western culture production. To look for facts in phantasms yet has some traditions. To name some theorists, who come from different “disciplines” but explore similar characteristics of text and language: Franco Moretti has been interested in the “confused idea of an Atlas of literature”, as he calls it (“Distant Reading”, 2013: 2) and has developed abstract models for literary analysis, inspired by Historical Science, Geography and Evolution Theory (in “Kurven, Karten, Stammbäume”, 2005); Julia Kristeva, who was arguing, that meaning is not transferred directly from writer to reader but instead is mediated through “codes”, imparted to the writer and reader by other texts, culminating in the famous quote: “any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of other. The notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity […]” (Kristeva, “Word, Dialogie, Novel”, 1967: 66), which leads to language gaining a spacial (material) component; in “Thousand Years of Nonlinear History” (1997), Manuel DeLanda discusses a. o. the morphogenetic potential of language: words being


more likely to connect with other words to produce meaning–in a way, as a code inscribed in their “genes”; Florian Cramer suggests an anthropology of calculus and phantasms, relating computer code to poetics, by drawing parallels to cultural practices: from magic, arts, humanities, which date back to the roots of Kabbala, Egyptian hieroglyphs and many others. In “Words Made Flesh” (2005) and “Exe.cut[up]able Statements. Politische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Textes” (2011), he relates text to numerical code, making visible the natural link between imagination and computation. If ask, why produce stories, e.g. legends and non-textual fairytales, the main interest here would not be to track and compare the development of syntax, draw a persona cult in an emphasis of authorship or explore how certain literary canons develop and wander through continents. Much more, it would be dedicated to the mechanism, through which literature can be used to make sense of the world and how, within this complex constellation, knowledge is being constructed. Presumed that on a very basic level, stories–just like anything else–are attempts to translate complex scientific, global, emotional, moral, etc. interrelations into a comprehensible language and manner, it becomes clear how for example metaphors and specific hero figures, which dramatically differ from each other but basically serve to explain similar things, themselves possess oppositional characteristics. Yet, to make sense of this, one probably needs a quantitative approach first–e.g. to analyze different fairy-tale figures, compare them and try to re-track what they actually stand for and what implications this can have in the sense of fairy-tales being a seismograph for cultural change. Indeed, if making sense through literature, this is one of the first steps that Franco Moretti suggests to be taken: take distance. If stories can be seen as abstract models of “reality”, by taking distance from them, key interrelations in stories can become visible. Moretti argues, that single elements mean a better overview over interdependencies, and contours, structures, forms eventually lead to models. (Moretti, 2005) As legends/fairytales, like mentioned above, are pre-institutional in the sense of word of mouth, they face the challenge of remaining in or being washed off history, as there are no uniform historical records or, from a scientific perspective, they remain highly unreliable (as everyone tells the story


in his/her “own way”), which leads to the question: Then, how to analyze them? Given that one has found institutionally independent material, such as fairytales, which could perfectly serve to unveil processes of cultural production beyond official politics or economics, and thus make sense of culture-genesis, one simultaneously faces numerous operational difficulties, as the material itself cannot really be found/excavated ilk an archaeological find. On the other hand, when at some point legends/fairytales are being textualized, that is institutionally fixed, they are also being simplified and unified. From one point, there is only one referential story (about Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Arielle, etc.) and it follows only one narrative: cultural specifics and symbolic meanings leading back to the actual phenomenon a fairytale was a metaphor of, flushed down the drain. It is therefore especially interesting to explore how this one narrative manifests itself and what factors play a role there–ideology, economics, religion, politics? In this sense, it is essential to underline, that quantitative literature research is at least a double one, as literature has a history of its stories and also itself writes a history of power. Thus, seen as a hierarchical structure, cultural history can be seen opposite to core principles of nature–itself a mixture of hierarchical structures and networks. Projecting this to its original context–the notion of intertextuality, which replaces that of intersubjectivity and poetic language read as at least double–Julia Kristeva argues, that in the dimensions/coordinates of dialogue, “each word (text) is an intersection of word (texts) where at least one other word (text) can be read” (ibid.: 66), specifies the dialogical space of texts. Although coming from structuralist linguistics and semiotics, themselves organized around “signs”, this notion provides a sharp fragmentary understanding of the interconnectivity as a programmed (genetic) textual and language potential. In a way, Kristeva is connecting Genetics to Linguistics, referring to citations being common nature (a text is always the content of another text; here “text” also perceived as “culture”). This also goes along with the perception, that there is no such thing as “outside of a system” (e.g social systems theory with N. Luhmann). Yet, also zooming out of a linguistic perspective can show, that this genetic potential of language is largely ruled by economic principles, which should not be underestimated or seen separately. For example, fragmentation of literary genres can also


be seen parallel to the fragmentation of power structures going along with industrialization. The way European literature has evolved, a. o. illustrates the fragmentation of capitalistic structures throughout the Western European world. (as Moretti sketches in “Graphs” (2005): 10-46) Moretti actually analyzed the branching of novel genres and language and tracked similarities of these processes to natural principles–similarly as genes have the same stem but after many generations, the genetic characteristics of the outcomes can dramatically differ from each other. Also, Manuel DeLanda speaks of genetics and refers a “nonlinear history” (1997) to three major scientific fields–Linguistics, Biology and Geology. Moretti and DeLanda seem to demonstrate how “expert-knowledge” can be reflected through the perspectives of other fields, with the just as stunning as natural percept, that different sciences can borrow and exchange principles, e.g. system theory and thermodynamics and eventually expand each other’s insights (e.g. Bernd Porr (2002): “Systemtheorie und Naturwissenschaften”: the author also refers to historical implications of thermodynamical principles; see also numerous scientific publications from natural sciences, stating that systems theory is applicable to any scientific field, which deals with systems, e. g. “sociological thermodynamics”). Also, as DeLanda puts it in a lecture referring to the morphogenetic potential of materials in relation to architecture (“Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm in Architecture”, Columbia University, 2004), this points to the general role of the philosopher as one who takes “a little bit of this” and “a little bit of that” and puts it together to create new and expand existing meaning, as no discipline could do separately. Here, Kristeva’s and DeLanda’s discussions put together–although Kristeva comes from a discipline a. o. considered conservative, as it for example deals with phenomenology– they both emphasize on (material) characteristics as processes. Yet, it is essential to go beyond such mechanisms and in a further step, to analyze their “genetic potential” in terms of economic control. As literature market growth can stimulate the development of niches for specialized readers (Moretti, 2005: 16), curves are taken one huge step further–they have become essential and universally accessible, given that one has access to the Internet. Data visualization tools, such as Google Ngram, promise transparency and an emotional approach to subjects: “Researchers


have analyzed the Google Ngram database of books written in American or British English. Research based on the ngram database has included the finding of correlations between the emotional output and significant events in the 20th century such as World War II or to check and challenge popular trend statements such as the secularisation or economisation of modern societies. In this sense, the viewer represents a valuable research tool for digital humanities.”. (Wikipedia on “Google Ngram Viewer”, 05/2015) What seems like “power to the reader” provides a way to look beyond and comprehend aspects of interest represented in literary discourses. Yet, already Moretti 10 years ago shows himself skeptical about curves as a sufficient model, as they a. o. lack intuitive approach. (Moretti, 2005: 16) Instead of pointing to another model though, his discussions bare the notion of a network-like research, “x as well as y”, rather than “x or y”. Itself, Ngram can be seen as a combination of Ted Nelson’s Project Xanadu, a research legacy, which never really left its academic context and is proud for not having gone to corporations, but indeed hasn’t yet faced its deserved financial recognition, and Moretti’s “Distant Reading”. In fact, Project Xanadu (founded 1960), providing transluction, parallelism and a generalized media format on hypertext–what literary research desperately needs and lacks today–, and although Xanadu remains a very popular relic among scientists, theoreticians and artists, it has struggled many times on the edge of bankruptcy (see Wikipedia article) and sadly, fails to be broadly taken seriously, making path to digital humanities and data visualization, which are primarily quantitative. So, how does a “contemporary popular mass culture which emerged and developed entirely on the Internet” (“What is ‘Post-digital’”, Cramer, 2014) use the morphogenetic potentials of its tools for literature research and how is it then related to economic power? Sandra Moskova


Vilém Flusser Archive University of the Arts Berlin Siegfried Zielinski: Entwerfen und upon this. In a media-archaeological Entbergen. Aspekte einer Genealogie der search movement, the text shows Projektion important origins for the theory and practice of projection. It introduces the 28th International Flusser Lecture distinction between image- and seingmachines. In a philosophical sense, Projection marks an ambiguous field of Vilém Flusser’s concept of projecting concepts, artifacts and techniques, (Entwerfen) is put together with the psycho-tactics and, above all, visual heideggerian idea of revealing practices. At the center, it is about the (Entbergen). question of how excerpts from the experiencable or imagined world can be The lecture took place in 2010 and was brought on a two-dimensional surface. In published by Verlag der Buchhandlung the 20. century, a general and widely Walther König veröffentlicht. spread culture technique developed


Adrian Knuppertz DSC_0023ff N창zim declares the word to rot in emptiness; if not emerging from the earth; not penetrating into it; not taking root.

for this time, we better just watch the flowers.

contemplating, I get the impression that a word, a gesture, a photograph (a flower), just as visually appealing body taken out of context, without content, without mind, not taking root, will rot, be poison.

an image that takes roots; connects in non-linear, interlinking one sphere to another; appears embedded into a once alien context creating a new content; is quoted, repeated and linked, rejuvenates itself in immateriality and thus blooms.

no roots, no blooms

just soul, no body


Andres Villarreal The Abyss However critical and skeptical our attitude, the same basic premise seems to undermine our understanding of events and occurrences in time. The same forensic reasoning seems to guide how we interpret the world and derive meaning out of what we see. The forensic tools we use and rely on, seem also to be permeated with politics and not to be completely separable from their operators. We know that what we see need not necessarily be what we should believe, however we still tend to believe that there is something there which could be believed and that we

struggle to see. The installation deals with the human inclination or obsession with finding absolute truths and how this premise affects our understanding and transforms the events themselves. The Abyss traces and maps an attempt to investigate a certain event in time and its artifacts. Although an individual’s memories and interpretations may be crucial, they are somehow unwillingly or even deliberately excluded from an investigative model because they contradict it. What really constitutes an event and what are its “true� artifacts?


Kaya Behkalam, Azin Feizabadi, Jens Maier-Rothe

Notes on Projection

Points of descent as starting point and a metaphor for “projection” built the philosophical and psychological framework of the work, alongside associated cultural practices and their political dimensions. Shuttling between the interstices of ‘reality’ and ‘fiction’, the research framework aims to connect different historical events and movements, including various cinematic and political activist approaches since 1945, with the manifold spatial and temporal interfaces they have brought to light. Having started in Cairo, on the second anniversary of the socalled “Arab Spring”, the position of this

collaborative research persistently defines itself through the lens of a specific time and place in which it began. This essay-video originates from a collaborative research that pans between various notions of the term “projection”. It was initiated in January 2013 by Kaya Behkalam, Azin Feizabadi and Jens Maier-Rothe and for the first time presented as a lecture-performance at the Video Vortex #9 Conference at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany.


Barbara Marcel Victoria Amazonica Victoria Amazonica is the first chapter of a historiographical series about the Botanical Garden Berlin-Dahlem and the origin of its plants. The different geographies and time-frames contained in the garden are accessed through video narratives, in a spectral experience with its space and contemporary materialities. The ongoing project begins with a fragment over the Amazonian Water Lily plant and its colonial roots.

How to contemplate one of the largest aquatic plants in the world, without drowning in its reflections?


We would havebe been happening We would happening You will have been happening Everything will be happening You had been happening Everything was happening We have been happening right now I am happening right now right now right now right right now now

Bruno Siegrist Anti-Time Generator When do events take place if time does not exist? What is matter/subject to a re-education program, that aims on convincing humankind of time’s non-existence? Coming from thoughts on various phenomenons and hypotheses, in which time does not exist or plays a minor role, and drawn by different academic perspectives, this piece investigates the time-structure, on which language is based. This declension – meaning-wise carrying a notion of declaration and

denomination – also aims at eliminating time through a repetitive pattern, which results in slight changes form-wise. Played back in random order, it creates an endless arrangement of spoken and chanted declensions, linked to the event’s crucial moment: the RIGHT NOW.


Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency

A Common Assembly

The work is part of the correspondent long-term project, Common Assembly: Deterritorializing the Palestinian Parliament, which thinks through and conceives spaces for political participation, decision and action for all Palestinians. In the autumn of 2012, the United Nations voted on whether to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state and a member of their assembly. This event’s arrival, on the heels of other liberation struggles throughout the Middle East, makes it a historic moment with great potential. Whatever was to be the vote’s outcome, Palestinians had to deal

with a significant spatial problem: how political participation can be organized for a partially exiled—and therefore, geographically dispersed—people. Where different revolutionary initiatives launched by Palestinian academics and various factions seek to address this problem on the political and institutional level, DAAR was committed to thinking through this problem on the architectural, territorial and (extra)-territorial levels.


Daniel Franke Four Particles Lost How do we receive knowledge about the world that surrounds us? The omnipresent answer is simulation– from the biggest big bang simulating machine at CERN, to the Facebook emotion studies.* We love models–these synthetic worlds, which apparently give us all the answers, even before things happen. But what about art? By questioning computer simulation, the work explores the idea of a synthetic artwork as a whole – what are the implications of simulation as a medium and as a tool for the artist? Is the common practice in science and technology

applicable for art? And do we even need a physical artwork in the age of ubiquitous mediated images–poor in quality but with hundreds of likes? *”Researchers have roundly condemned Facebook’s experiment in which it manipulated nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds to see whether it would affect their emotions, saying it breaches ethical guidelines for “informed consent”.”– Charles Arthur–Facebook emotion study breached ethical guidelines, researchers say. theguardian.com, 30/06/2014.


Filipe Serro

Seascape, Landscape, Bodyscape The work deals with the historiography of Portuguese colonialism. Between the 15th and the 19th century, the Portuguese colony of Angola, in West Central Africa, provided most of the slaves sent across the Atlantic to the New World. Today, with some of the world’s largest proven reserves, Angola is the largest supplier of oil to Portugal, establishing yet again a similar situation of energy dependence. A striking similarity between the historic slave trade and

contemporary oil trade lies in the aesthetic experience of the commodified object (or subject): while African slaves were mostly sent to work in the Americas—the products of their forced labor being the only thing that reached Europe—today, petroleum is transformed into its many derivatives soon after extracted. Much as African slaves before, oil is mostly excluded from Western quotidian imagery.


Georgi Gago Gagoshidze

It’s Just a Single Swing of a Shovel A hacker touches the virtual – and transforms the actual [‘A Hacker Manifesto’]

March 28th, 2011 is the day when a new way of hacking was introduced by the 75 year-old woman, Haiastam Shakarian. The time when hackers were hacking raw In the technological era in which we live, information from an abstraction belongs hackers, or so-called “high-tech terrornow to History. As Shakarian said: ists” whose main duty is to excavate “cutting down the current image/informainformation, are the most suspicious tion circulation and snatching the minusclass of our time. But the information that cule space of nothingness from an they extract from abstraction also obeys overloaded, dense stream of data is one general rules of information circulation of the most valuable products hackers and so far it’s not able to overcome the can provide nowadays – the space gravitational force of the algorithm, that where potentiality and speculation can with the help of a spam-army, washes it take place.” down into the unscrollable part of our She literally touched the virtual – and memory. transformed the actual.


Georgina Hill Dear Curator ‘Dear Curator’ raises the semiotics of the gallery space, and particularly the curator role, to the fore within the same gallery space. Its purpose to reveal the governing systems: the meta-narratives, and the social, political, and economic structures that currently define the gallery experience through the subjectivity of individual curators, are transformed into a deictic iteration. In the work, the curator is turned into an object in and of himself, enlarging and underlining his subjective construct.

The work explores the degree to which art in the modern world is shaped by a kind of ‘cult of the curator’, a construct that reflects some measure of intervention between a more direct relation between artist and spectator. However, this is not conceptualised as a critique of curating, in a pejorative sense, rather more, making the underlying systems that govern art experience more perceivable. It is a study of the phenomenology of the modern exhibition space and the forces shaping the experiences that unfold therein.


Kamal Aljafari Visit Iraq A humorous look at how Geneva residents imagine and project clichĂŠs on the recently abandoned office of Iraqi Airlines. (26 mins, In French and Arabic with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)


Mikk Madisson (Subject)Hood Pranks (Subject)Hood Pranks is a project on historical recurrence and its connection to feedback loops and cybernetics. How is circular logic implemented into our ideological matrix? How could it be applied to colonize the internal state of a subject, in order to extract historical value and convert it into capital? Or asked differently, what if this internal state could be planted via language to predict future outputs and reap profit? Historically, language has been used to plant verbal negative feedback loops, such as mantras, into subjects as a way to govern the outputs of their inner-self. As the natural seizes to exist, culture turns the natural into logs with an

identifiable numerical value that can then be subjugated into commercial behavior. It is said that the evil of cybernetics is turning people into numbers. What kind of unpredictable kickbacks can occur when applying a circular logic on the natural? Just like when using a chainsaw to digitize a tree into logs or when mistaking the external perception of a subject’s log file to the subject’s internal state? Based partially on the YouTube phenomena “Hood Pranks”,  these videos could be used to describe how cybernetic thinking makes subjects behave in alignment to algorithms that are used for exploiting immaterial labor.


Neda Saeedi Tell Me, Muse, Speak, and Begin our Story The installation consists of a diapositive slide projector and a phosphorescent sprayed text on the wall of the exhibition space. The slide projector projects 34 slides, each depicting silhouettes of various objects, with 2 blank and 48 black interruptions in–between them, and focusses on an aesthetic chronology of institutionalized culture, as a history of power mechanisms. The selection of iconic museum objects: daily life tools, buildings,

machines and sculptures, represent a time lapse, following from Ancient Greece until the computer age of today. The phosphorescent text on the wall–a quote from the first paragraph of “The Odyssey” by Homer– melts in the beam of light; shining through the slide silhouettes and images/symbols/icons merge together. 34 new forms of the text are created: a choreography of emersion and disappearance, of memory and amnesia.


Pauline Niedermayer New Memory – Chapter One : Green Fields The first part of the installation shows an inkjet print of UN Soldiers supervising the Syrian–Israeli border. They are located on the top of Mount Bental, where there is an IDF stronghold, which was built over an older Syrian stronghold, itself today a tourist attraction. As the mountain is in the Israeli-occupied territories, the question of the facility’s location, itself, gains importance. Many of the visitors there expect to get a glimpse of the Syrain civil war by overcoming the distance through fix-installed binoculars. Yet, most of the time they just see green fields and project their

virtually gained memory onto the landscape. The role of this detached spectator in his/her own triangle, the documented and uploaded event (in the sense of citizen journalism), and the projection of (digital) memory, are important to the work in terms of how we could visualize a conflict/war. The second part of the installation shows a silent picture on an monitor–a camera tracking shot over the image–where the text is a poetic comment by “image search by image” itself, the Google algorithm based on visual similarity.


Roozbeh Tazhibi thanBerlin Carré The website of Berlin Carré, the failing shopping center at Alexanderplatz, that once housed the art space LEAP reads:

marginalizing this architectural site in relation to networks of power and capital, made possible the appropriation of the space that became LEAP for a number of “At the moment we are rebuilding Berlin years. Now, the former space of LEAP– Carré for you. With the reopening of still bearing traces of what it once was–is Berlin Carré, its online presence will also awaiting transformation as it is encapsube updated. lated inside a larger construction site. Your center management” What role can this space play now in the shaping of future possibilities and limitaThe construction of Zentralmarkthalle, the tions? Would it, after disappearing into a predecessor to Berlin Carré in 1883 at different architectural arrangement, Berlin Alexanderplatz, was one of the continue to influence its surroundings? reasons why the square gained such Would it continue to have a presence? prominence and the turn of events


On P ro j e ct i o n

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Luckenwalder Str. 3 - 10963 Berlin

14.05.2015

17.05.2015

Exhibition

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Opening

13.05.2015

6 pm

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The exhibition displays outcomes from a six-month-long research project at the University of the Arts Berlin with artists from the LensBased Class of Prof. Hito Steyerl

ON PROJECTION booklet  

13.-17.05.2015 @Kühlhaus Berlin The exhibition displays outcomes from a six-month-long research project at the University of the Arts Berli...

ON PROJECTION booklet  

13.-17.05.2015 @Kühlhaus Berlin The exhibition displays outcomes from a six-month-long research project at the University of the Arts Berli...

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