The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics

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The
Entanglement
between
Gesture, Media &
Politics
Workshop II / Hallein
Gesture
Transition
Nongesture

Politics of Gestures-Lab

Workshop II / Hallein

The international art and design festival “Schmiede Hallein” was the setting for the second workshop of the research project “The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics”, held from September 20 to 30, 2017. In one section of the extensive grounds of the former salt refinery, the project team created a space for experiments involving physical gestures, technology and spatial installations.

The project formed part of the Schmiede Festival as a “Politics of Gestures” lab and offered approximately 200 international participants the opportunity to get involved in the research process. A corresponding format was provided in the lectures and workshops featuring two guests: Antje Vowinckel (Berlin-based sound artist and radio dramatist) with “Melody minus One”, and Stefan Krebs (technology historian, University of Luxembourg) with “Experimental Media Archeology and the Politics of Kunstkopf Stereophony”. In addition, an on-site collaboration emerged with artist and director Lucie Strecker (“Modeling the Immune System with Gestures”), as well as an active exchange on political gestures with cultural manager and director Anwar Akhtar and a reflection on technology and content with media artist and programmer Mark Coniglio.

Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de

Timo Herbst presented his work “Play by rules (Hamburg)”, which is based on the demonstrations and riots surrounding the G20 summit in July 2017. The video installation focuses on the ubiquitous Internet-capable image and sound recording devices used by protesters and news reporters to document events and, in some cases, distribute them in real time.

View of installation “Play by rules (Hamburg)”, 4-channel HD video, 7 mins, 2017, photo: Timo Herbst

Laurie Young provided project participants with insights into her working method, which she had been able to develop further since the workshop in Braunschweig. In the meantime, the choreographer had collaborated with Canadian dancer Justine Chambers on her method of the sequential analysis of protest gestures. Due to autobiographical moments associated with these gestures, Young described the process as a particularly intense experience. Konrad Strutz presented his artistic engagement with photographic images beyond ordinary spatial representations, emphasizing the element of time that these imaging processes require and erecting a personally-designed machine. Tobias Schulze placed his research on the social media app “musical.ly” at our disposal and presented his reflections on the connection between technology, gestures and the use of gestures in popular culture.

Cross-section of (reinterpreted) gestures and movements in musical.ly. Photo: Torsten Schmitt Photography | Berlin | www.fotosch.de

In order to collaboratively develop the submitted works in smaller groups, project participants resorted to the “transformation chains” framework, which combines artistic working methods with playful approaches (such as “Cadavre Exquis”). Dina Boswank put a drawing by Herbst, in which he recorded sequences of a gesture, into writing. Boswank initially worked descriptively. However, the great experimental scope of the linguistic images evoked was conclusively revealed during the performative re-translation into body movements.

Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de

Florian Bettel also experimented with a different manner of translation between various notations, transforming Boswank’s text into drawings using the Google Image Search algorithm. Bettel emphasized the importance of the context of these images, as individual images were barely legible. The issue of context and attribution of meaning was highlighted by Bettel in a series of images with various captions.

Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de
Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de

Working together and experimenting with Kinect hardware, Strutz and Young developed the concept of a choreography designed to make it possible to circumvent surveillance systems (e.g., at state borders) by adapting a person’s movement patterns.

Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de
Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de

Based on “Play by Rules”, Irina Kaldrack questioned the relationship between the political, the gesture and the media. The raw version of the installation and lecture performance “Transforming Political Gestures Through a Chain” was created: A video and interactive sound installation (Herbst) intermeshed with descriptions of gestures (Boswank) and a performative lecture (Kaldrack). In early November, they presented these works at the international conference “Affective Transformations”.

Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de
Foto: Torsten Schmitt Fotografie | Berlin | www.fotosch.de
Performance as part of the presentation “Transforming Political Gestures Through a Chain”. Photo: Timo Herbst

On a theoretical level, project participants committed themselves to researching further artistic references and the fundamentals of classification of these examples. The project also highlighted the use of protest movements and gestures in popular culture (including music videos). The plenary group discussion also brought up the “game” theme, contextualized within the cultural theory perspective of Johan Huizinga and Roger Caillois, and developed for further interconnections with individual works. The continuous theoretical reflection and the relation to current discourses form the basis for the development of new perspectives on the object under investigation, the “gesture”, as well as for preparing the symposium and publication which are to conclusively bundle all results.

The Project

The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics is a research project investigating the interdependencies that exist between bodily movements or gestures, and ubiquitous, globally networked technologies.

To display and displaying oneself gains greater significance within the context of the unrestricted and instantaneous global exchange of video material as well as in an everyday world increasingly defined by sensors and computers. Thus the meaning of presence and publicness changes, evolves and new forms appear.

More

Projects

Workshop I / Braunschweig

From April 24 to 28, 2017, the project participants met for the first workshop in Braunschweig. During several days of intensive collaboration, we presented our materials and methods, as well as preliminary research results, identified common interests on the basis of selected case studies and tested various methods to acquaint ourselves with them analytically.

Workshop II / Hallein

The international art and design festival “Schmiede Hallein” was the setting for the second workshop of the research project “The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics”, held from September 20 to 30, 2017. In one section of the extensive grounds of the former salt refinery, the project team created a space for experiments involving physical gestures, technology and spatial installations.

Workshop III / Berlin-Köpenick

The third workshop took place at Lake Studios, Berlin Köpenick from May 15–19. Our task was to work intensively on installations, lecture performances and choreographies. Eventually, we concentrated on consolidations and aesthetic shapings after having explored and experimented on our focus topics and case scenarios in previous working phases.

Workshop IV / Berlin-Kreuzberg

From September 4 to 10, 2018 we met for the fourth and last workshop at the Art Quarter Bethanien (Kunstquartier Bethanien). We worked intensively on our collective and individual installations for the exhibition in December.

Symposium: Throwing Gestures

Kunstquartier Bethanien, Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. Vernissage December 7th, 7.30 pm. Symposium December 8th, 10 am–7 pm.

The exhibition and the international symposium are the finale of a two-year interdisciplinary research project investigating the interdependencies that exist between gestures and ubiquitous, globally networked technologies.

Exhibition: Throwing Gestures

Vernissage 7 Dec 2018 – open daily 12 am – 8 pm– until 16 Dec 2018

A warm welcome to our exhibition „Throwing Gestures“ in Studio 1, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin.

News

G20

Dina Boswank, Timo Herbst, Irina Kaldrack, Silas Mücke, Marcus Nebe

Partner/Cooperation

Das Projekt The Entanglement between Gesture, Media & Politics wurde durch die Kooperation mit folgenden Partnern möglich: