Ongoing PhDs – Abstracts
3. November 2017, 16:27 Filed under:

Prof. Giaco Schiesser

Ongoing PhDs

Behrouz, Kamran
Cosmopolitics of the Body.
The Location of Body and the Boundaries of Cosmopolitanism
In this research, I explore and examine the cosmopolitics of the body through the lens of performance art. Here, performance works as a tool and the body as medium. This project is based in the integration of two parallel perspectives moving forward simultaneously. One is the analysis of the performance and the other is the artistic experiments with the concept of cosmopolitics of the body. In fact, what connects these two themes together is the “body”.
To start with, the PhD deals with the following five aspects/questions:
– The location of the body in different social/political/cultural contexts
– Analysis of politics of cosmopolitanism through the lens of the body:
How does the performativity of repressed queer bodies (including transgender and in-between bodies) in totalitarian states change and become the subject of displacement and how is this process of displacement influenced by cosmopolitics and forged in the performativity of displaced queer bodies in diaspora, exile or refugee camps?
– What does belonging mean in the context of cosmopolitanism?
– Non-violent movements as a form of public performance
– How poetics of non-violent movements oppose the politics of power
– (Re-)definition of performance as a social interactive tool and the body as a medium in art
The main method that I apply in this research is Par (Participatory Action Research). One of my strategies has been to visit different locations (in different countries) and create different performance research based on the historical and cultural backgrounds of those places.

González Méndez, Viviana
Moving in and through Different Landscapes.
Nomadic Strategies to create Installations / Landscapes
The central issue of this artistic-research based project is landscape in three dimensions: landscape as an experienced phenomenon, landscape as a cartography and landscape as an artistic research-based construction. These dimensions will be experimented from a nomadic and from below perspective and taking the installation as a main media.  For the research Installation is thought of, a) as an abstract machine that deals with the space as a system (in the dynamics between opening/closing). And b), from a nomadic perspective, as a constant displacement through and between places.
Main research questions are: How can landscape be understood as a phenomenon, as a cartography and a construction, from the perspectives nomadic and from below, taking installation as media?  How can these possibilities expand the artistic concept of installation? How to delve into the possibilities of installation understood as an increasingly open system? In other words:  How can my doctoral research contribute to create new types of artefacts related to landscape and installation?
The methodology will involve amongst others the experience of walking through a space and the observation of virtual ways of accessing space. The project will use strategies as: drift, randomness finding, carefully observation, collecting (objects, images, sounds descriptions, etc.), wasting time, and others.
Some main theoretical references are, in relation to landscape: Milton Santos, Michel De Certeau and Armando Silva; in relation to the nomadic: Jacques Atalli, Nicolas Bourriaud and Francesco Careri; in relation to territory and systems: Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Francisco Maturana, and in relation to artistic research and the media: Giaco Schiesser and Consuelo Pabón.

Herbordt, Bernhard / Mohren, Melanie
Institutionen als Kunst – Kunst als Institution.
Künstlerische Recherchen und performative Transformationen
Institutionen befinden sich im Umbruch. Bestehende Institutionen werden neu geordnet. Andere befinden sich in der Krise – als Folge politischer Veränderungen, städtebaulicher Möglichkeiten, leerer Haushaltskassen oder neuer globaler Anforderungen. Weltweit wird mit Neugründungen oder Umgestaltungen auf diese Entwicklung reagiert.
Mit dem kollaborativen künstlerische Forschungsvorhaben „Institutionen als Kunst – Kunst als Institution. Künstlerische Recherchen und performative Transformationen“ richtet sich unser Interesse insbesondere auf zeitgenössische Kunstinstitutionen, Organisationen von Künstler_innen und Institutionen, die selbst schon Kunst sind.
Nach der Sammlung und Analyse historischer wie neugegründeter Künstler_innen-Organisationen und anderer alternativer Institutionsentwürfe entwickeln wir das Experimentalmodell einer möglichen Institution zwischen Gästehaus, Akademie und Theater, implementieren dieses – u.a. durch die Verfahrensweisen aufführen, aufzeichnen, verschieben – in existierende Kontexte und beobachten die Ergebnisse in einer zu findenden Hybridpräsentation zwischen Lecture-Performance und (Online-) Dokumentation.
Im Zentrum stehen Fragen wie: Wie stellen sich Praktiken der (Selbst-) Kritik in Institutionen dar? Welche Modelle der Selbstorganisation, Transparenzsicherung und Partizipation werden eingerichtet? Welche Prinzipien der Kollaboration, Solidarität und des Gemeinsamen werden installiert? Wo verorten sich Institutionen zwischen Internationalisierung und lokaler Verantwortung? Welche gesellschaftlichen Veränderungsprozesse können durch sie initiiert werden? Welches Wissen produzieren sie? Und auf wie viel Fiktion sind Institutionen begründet?

Huber, Sasha
Artistic Renegotiations of Archive, Memory and Place
This practice-based PhD project has evolved out of artistic engagement with Demounting Louis Agassiz, a cultural activist campaign, whose aim is to advocate for the renaming of Agassizhorn in the Swiss Alps to Rentyhorn, in honour of Renty, who was born in the Congo and made a slave, and of those who HAVE met similar fates. Louis Agassiz (1807–1873) is celebrated in the history of science as an important glaciologist who was one of the pioneers of ice age theory. However, he was also one of the most influential proponents of ’scientific racism’ in his adoptive country, the United States of America from 1846. Agassiz studied and photographed enslaved Africans in the places of their suffering and argued that they were innately inferior. He advocated strict racial segregation, ethnic cleansing and government measures to prevent the birth of interracial children whom he considered unnatural.
Artistic research employed during this PhD involves different methodologies that attempt to address (through restorative interventions) the bias of Western archives that favour the privileged and prejudiced, which is innovative from the perspective of decolonial theory. Developing participatory and collaborative approaches to image making, the project uses lens-based media, performative interventions and various mapping processes to enter spaces connected to the history of racism in an attempt to change the dynamics of the historical conversation.
The core research questions are: 1) In what ways can artistic research expose and understand some of the origins of racism, whilst attending to its effects on black and brown people in contemporary society. 2) How to produce new artefacts that assist in overcoming and repairing colonial traumas, for indigenous peoples and people in the African diaspora.

Kalpaktsoglou, Xenia
A Symptomatic Reading of Contemporary Art Biennials.
The Ability of Art Biennials in Reconstructing (Art) Institutions beyond their Temporality
The impending artistic research-based PhD project starts from the understanding of the biennial exhibition as a practice connected to the broader social, economic and political developments which endorses the open questioning of the nature and role of (art) institutions. The research proposes to consider the status of the periodical large-scale exhibition as an effective model and ideal context, for working towards institutional widening and transformation via connecting the ’temporal’ artistic and curatorial proposals produced for the ‘permanent’ infrastructures and operational strategies of the respective host institution. To this end, the research will treat art biennials as ‘institutions par excellence’ by addressing their two seemingly antagonistic features: the intrinsic temporality (unfixed) of biennial exhibitions versus the continuity-permanency (fixed) of the host institution.
Through practices that involve exhibition formats, the research focuses on specific biennials of the past seven years, 2011 to 2017, treats them as case studies and attempts a ‘symptomatic reading’ (Althusser), which aims at questioning the unconscious preconditions of their dispositifs and their effects and impacts. The aim here is to work out a series of results (arte-facts), which will open up new perspectives on the ability of biennials to construct a new ‘self’ for the future function of institutions. The selection includes (in chronological order): the 3rd Athens Biennale (2011), the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), the 4th Marrakech Biennale (2012), the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), the 1st OFF-Biennale Budapest (2014), the 31st Sao Paolo Biennial (2014), Documenta 14 (2017) in Athens and Kassel.
Consequently, the specificity of the artistic research at hand, which engages with the antinomies between curatorial intentions, artistic practices/production and aftermath of biennial exhibitions’ practice, identifies the exhibition as a research tool itself, a potential practice for testing ideas that would not otherwise be possible, and has the potential to articulate a proposition, whereby biennial practices could work towards altering art institutions, beyond the ‘symbolic’ or semantic way performed for the short period of their duration.

Köhle, Petra / Vermot-Petit-Outhenin, Nicolas (collaborative PhD, submitted)
transkribieren, sprechen, wiederholen.
Transformation als künstlerische Praxis
Der kollaborative PhD transkribieren, sprechen, wiederholen – Transformation als künstlerische Praxis besteht aus den Ergebnissen, die aus der Praxis in und mit den drei künstlerischen Arbeits-komplexen Es hängt vollkommen ab von der Farbe der Beleuchtung, Blue skies becoming almost black und [f: la répète] entstanden sind.
Jeweils von einem spezifischen Objekt ausgehend – einer im Zusammenhang mit Kunst- Luftschutz-Massnahmen in Deutschland entstandenen Fotografie von 1944, einem Ins- trument aus dem 18. Jahrhundert zur Messung des Blaus des Himmels und einem im Völkerbundarchiv in Genf gefundenen Korrespondenzdossier aus den 1930er-Jahren zur Entstehung des Palais des Nations – untersuchen die drei Arbeitskomplexe, wie durch die Objekte und ihren Kontext ‚etwas’, ‚anderes’ in Erfahrung gebracht werden kann. Wie konnten die Materialitäten und Medialitäten der Objekte und die singulären Geschich- ten, welche sie beinhalten, Ausgangspunkte für spekulative Verfahrensweisen werden? Verfahrensweisen, die versuchen, einen Widerhall für die Fragilitäten und Ambiguitäten von Unsichtbarem und Unsagbarem, welches in den Objekten liegt, zu schaffen – einen Widerhall, in dem ‚etwas Anderes’ und ‚etwas anders’ erfahrbar wird?
Vermutend, dass in einem Zu- und Ineinanderstellen der Arbeitskomplexe tatsächlich‚etwas Anderes’ und/oder ‚etwas anders’ erfahrbar werden könnte, wurden die Arbeits- komplexe in einer ergebnisoffenen Anlage erprobt und dabei methodische, materielle und inhaltliche Wiederholungen, Transformationen und Übergänge vorgenommen und befragt. Dieses Vorgehen resultierte im Artefakt Skript/Transkript.
Die in diesem PhD vorgelegten sechs Artefakte sind: eine Einleitung, die DVD-Box Es hängt vollkommen ab von der Farbe der Beleuchtung, die Schallplatte Blue skies becoming almost black, die Broschüre [f: la répète], die dreiteilige Reflexion Skript/Transkript und eine Stofftasche, welche die zuvor genannten Artefakte versammelt. Die Artefakte sind Zeug*innen, Spu- ren und Ergebnisse einer künstlerisch-reflexiven Forschung, in der sich im Laufe des Prozesses ‚Wiederholen‘ als tragende Verfahrensweise herausschälte, eine Verfahren- sweise, die es erlaubte, bei einer Sache zu bleiben, in dem man sich ihr wiederholt noch- mals zuwendete.
Wir begannen, in und durch den Prozess dieses PhDs ‚Forschung‘ in der wörtlichen Bedeutung des Französischen recherche und des Englischen research zu verstehen:  als eine sich wiederholt wiederholende Suche – eine suchende Bewegung, welche die Dinge zu- und ineinander stellt und dadurch Räume für Unsichtbares und Unsagbares  in und quer zu den Arbeitskomplexen, zu ihren Inhalten und Themen eröffnet, um ‚etwas Anderes’ und ‚etwas anders’ erleb- und erfahrbar zu machen.

Morais, Laetitia
Le Rayon Vert.
An Artistic Research Crossing the West Horizon
This practice-based PhD in Art departs from the green ray – an optical phenomenon, that consists in the sunlight diffraction by the curvature of the earth – which triggers, in the western coasts, where it is mostly seen, myths and love stories. This relation to an ungraspable event, unfolds into the challenges raised by disrupted perception; the active and non-active dichotomy inherent to long-range observations; the immanency of an event; the way fiction is then attributed to indiscernible happenings and how its reenactment evokes a rite of passage, in order to arise questions that may provide new views of “western horizons”.
Some of these questions can be enunciated as follows: To fix a point-of-view, a very precise goal, may still be seen, in the actual and western scope, as a strategy to achieve efficacy? How is inertia or non-action simultaneously active? In which way immanency is more effective than consistency? By stretching perception to its limits, may one inflect new imageries? And what is the role of these imageries, desires or myths in the development of a near future?
For dealing with these questions, I will use my own artistic practice as the platform. I started with a series of drawings, produced in 2016, entitled with the same name of this research – Le Rayon Vert (which intentionally maintains its French reference to Jules Vernes romance and Eric Rohmer’s movie, both based on the love myth in relation to the phenomenon), to unfold into other practical works, techniques and means that convey these questions further. These premonitory drawings were done by representing the traces of absent or unseen forms. From these, I intend to develop more complex works, that may function as stage scenes or installations, or even build-up situations, expecting to maintain them in their stage of latent immanency, transcribing the actual inquietude of our society.
It is through the openness of these artistic processes, that I hope to foster ideas and notions such as distance, inertia, speed, desire, enactment, affect-effect, immanency, efficacy and by putting them in tension with settled situations; to find clues or directions to trigger them and to make use of the gained knowledge (Erkenntnis), by the means of art.
Being a study on efficacy, on space and time, a relocation of imageries – making (thinking and doing) – aesthetics, it is also a key for an artistic discourse capable to dialogue without constraints, combining conceptual objections with experimental practice, raising pertinent questions about the western directions towards the future. I hope that my research will contribute to this reflection which is crucial for today’s society.

Sourgiadaki, Eirini
Teleportation & Transformation: Approaching the ‘Impossible’ through Storytelling and Technology
This artistic research based PhD project has its base on an already realized work called “Metaphorai Teleportation and Transformation Services: Possibilities of the Impossible”. My intention, using that past project as a starting point, is to develop and to test the potential of the creation of one or of several teleportation/transformation device(s), by combining storytelling and technology. Both, teleportation and transformation can be understood as three-step processes compiled by: State 1 (before), the in-between moment (the shift) and State 2 (after). Although State 1 and State 2 will be respectively studied, the special focus of my PhD will be given to the middle part of the process, the in-between moment, including the device, the aspects of time, space as well as cultural aspects and possibilities.
Guiding research questions are: Whether what happens during the teleportation/transformation process, happens literally and/or metaphorically. Whether and how, during the in-between moment inside the device, the presence of the body can be argued. What are the measurable or non-measurable data and values produced by introducing this ‘impossibility’ to an audience? How does the technology used for the creation of a device affect the preparation, process and result of the teleportation/transformation? Which kind of vocabulary (verbal or physical) is used and/or produced through the teleportation/transformation narratives and in which ways can this vocabulary contribute to the present or to future research projects?The goal of the PhD is to develop a setting that allows people to experience a process of making impossible(s) possible.

von Niederhäusern, Laura
Investigating asynchronic experiences of present times by means of art
Within today’s life and work conditions, the economic imperatives and technological dispositives impose an In today’s life and work conditions, the economic imperatives and technological ranges impose an acceleration, whereas complexity and self-responsibility, by contrast, enhance the need for more time in decision taking. The PhD project questions practices of orientation by investigating conceptual and physical frameworks of timing.
How does one deal individually with the experience of today’s heterogeneous temporalities? How do institutions manage asynchronicity? What are the effects of the shift to less obvious and sizable time control of internalised and individualised chronopolitics in regard to a common cultural experience?
The research unfolds through a narrative inquiry method combining analytical and artistic approaches in an essayist method of film practice and writing. On the one hand, through the loose leitmotif of ‘failing clock-time’ different aspects of ‘the flattening of time’ are explored in a series of ‘case studies’. Situated in the fields of particular interest for the recent economic development of ’immaterial labour’, these empirical investigations operate through the role of lifetime (age, biography) and time moods (imperatives, indicatives, subjunctives) in the age of digital technology. On the other hand, by means of fragmentation, montage, film and textual interventions and extractions, the research at hand develops specific artistic techniques of focusing – to develop filmic thinking and thought-images as an empowering sense of orientation within the current, fragmented human existence.

Weber, Julia
‚Hanging Around‘ as a Daily Social Occurrence – ‚Hanging Around‘ as an Artistic Strategy
In my PhD on ethnography and art, I intend to make the everyday cultural practice of ‚hanging around‘ – and the associated constructs of subject, time and place of various, still to be identified practitioners in this milieu or scene (such as the young, the homeless, those in need of social support, pensioners, writers) in Zurich, Graz and Berlin – visible, audible and the subject of debate in an abstract, compressed and fictionalised form through artefacts.
The focus here is on the following questions: How can we identify the practice of ‚hanging around‘? In what kind of places does the practice occur? What associations of meaning and relevance (experiences, wishes, fantasies, dreams) unite the practitioners in this milieu with their individual and collective everyday habits? In terms of methodology, I use ‚hanging around‘ as an artistic and ethnographic research strategy and experiment with different media methods of accessing everyday social realities (photography, text, audio, sketches).
Furthermore, I will not only point out urban social transformation processes, taking the example of the everyday practice of ‚hanging around‘, but will also execute artistic interventions in public spaces. I will use the experience gained from the analysis and the ‚hanging around‘ as an artistic and ethnographic strategy for artistic intervention work (such as performances, installations).

Ziegner, Kai
Eine Geschichte der Gewalt.
Photographieren und Schreiben als Erfahrung, Experiment und Erkenntnis
Under construction (due to change of topic).

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