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On Projection: Historiography as Aesthetic Practice


A Workshop and research project, culminating in an Exhibition at LEAP in Berlin
Participants: group of students from the visual art class LensBased three external artists/researchers.

In collaboration with Azin Feizabadi & Sandra Moskova

The project was structured in three parts starting Dec. 2014 – April/May 2015.

Part one: a temporary moving research and production studio; a series of 6 workshops (2-3 days each, first session set for mid December 2014). sessions take place at  UdK Berlin and other at LEAP Berlin.

Part two: three workshop sessions with external guest artists and/or researchers and subsequent public events (talks or presentations) by same guests. Both the workshops and the public events take place at LEAP Berlin.

Part three: a two weeks exhibition of 10 project results (April/May 2015 at LEAP); exhibition includes works by the participants, project facilitator and external guests all together. A documentation of the research period, including projects by all workshop participants will be also presented collaboratively at the exhibition.


The project is subdivided in three key subjects in a philosophical tradition as a gesture, this in the context of an assemblage between the analysis of complex systems, the politicum in the context of historiography (chronology, “Chronos”) and the construction of meaning and knowledge through literature as a non- scientific complex (“Narration”). The idea is based on an attitude towards philosophy and the role of a philosopher as a figure, who assembles different scientific contexts and thereby produces new meanings and discourses in a way no discipline is capable of by itself. The core of this project is therefore a transfer-process between the politicum, the technical (as a translation of knowledge) and the artistic-literal as a translation of science. The fundament is a deep desire to experimentally externalise structures (matter, meaning, unified truth, discourse) through technical, medial and narrative approaches.

If we skip ‘Chronos’/’Narration’ from a past incident – lets say an incident of social or political importance, or an event of personal and biographical importance – what aspects of that event can be used instead, to shape an autonomic and civic (collective) memory? Is it possible to emancipate history from scientific and ideological borders?

How can we form an alternative way of historiography that is based on notions of ‘projection’, ‘specters’ and ‘time travel’, instead of merely foreseeing the past? The aim is not to re-appropriate the three-act-narrative structure of historiography, but to abstract it, break it and dismantle it; to free the past from institutional grammars and conservation.

How can aesthetic tools and medium contribute to this aim?

Where are the parallels and/or contradictions between Picasso’s “Guernica” – hanging in the entrance of the UN Security Council in New York – and a poor- image jpeg from the web, which documents a man-to-man fight at the Bazaar of Aleppo –recorded by a baker boy on his mobile phone?

These questions set the starting point for individual works to be produced by participants during the project. The idea is to proceed a focused period of research, collaborative or individual, and to find ways of formalizing the research into works for exhibition/presentation for public engagement. In this sense, the works produced during the project will be manifested hand in hand in-between research (theory based, poetry based and artistic experimentations) and production. In a way, in some cases, the research itself can become the format of the exhibited art work.

The workshop sessions are meant as platforms for collective thinking processes. At each of the 6 sessions, participants are meant to share and discuss their work-in-progress in depth for critique and feedback; they are meant to unfold their research material, to provide an inside view on how they arrived to certain research strategy, to their way of abstraction, to their form and medium in relation to the content. The aim is not to create a homogenous series of works that represent answers for the above questions; instead, we will try to define each an individual (and personal) artistic position on the matter. One that is unique to the artists point of view. The workshops aim simply at creating a studio or laboratory in which strategies, material and thoughts can be shared to inspire others.

Nevertheless, a medial point of departure will be suggested in the beginning, for the participants, to think about, to use it technically or simply receive inspiration by its theoretical basis: Projection!

During the course of the project we will look into the matter of ‘Projection’ as a cultural practice and as a philosophical and psychological phenomenon, and its place within the political realm. We will look at the junctures and interstices of projector and spectator, reality and fiction, cinema and video and take historical references from various video and political-activist approaches.

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