MFA + CERTIFICATE PROGRAM SUMMER 2011

July 23 – August 12, 2011
Tanzfabrik, Möckernstr. 68, 10965 Berlin
* open to the public

Saturday, July 23 *
19:00  Thesis exhibition vernissage
MMX Open Art Venue, Linienstr. 142/143, 10115 Berlin-Mitte

Exhibition July 23 – August 12, 2011
>> Catalog

Wednesday, July 27 *
17:30  Guest talk + reception, Alanna Lockward>> site

Wednesday, August 3 *
17:30 Guest talk + reception, Merete Røstad >> site

Wednesday, August 10 *
17:30  Guest talk + reception, Dmytri Kleiner >> site

Week 1 , 07.25 – 07.29
“The History of Forgetting And The Nature of Laughing” Jean Marie Casbarian
“Framing a Practice” Radhika Subramaniam
“Between: Foreignness” Dorit Cypis

Week 2, 08.01 – 08.05
“Investigating Meaning, Articulating Praxis” Victoria Hindley
“Work of Art as Analyst” Laura Gonzalez
“Art and/or Business as Usual” Geoff Cox and Tatiana Bazzichelli

Week 3, 08.08 – 08.12
“Broken Grammar” Michael Bowdidge
“The Convergence of Sensation: Dialectic of the Eye and the Ear” David Dunn
“Salad on the House” Nicholas Estevez
“Research Methodologies” Victoria Hindley + Geoff Cox

2012
“Remembering Spaces” Deborah Aschheim and Lisa Mezzacappa 2012
“Cultural Translation” Wolfgang Suetzl, 2012
“Reciting Sites: Performance, Public Monuments and Cultural Politics” Myron Beasley 2012
“High Fidelity: on Adaptation, Re-enactment and Retelling” Ofri Cnaani 2012
“The Index: The Contemporary Taxonomist” Mary Ting 2012
“Intensities – Extended Body, Extended Voice” Lynn Book, 2012

 

COURSES

WEEK 1

“The History of Forgetting And The Nature of Laughing” Jean Marie Casbarian
This workshop will set out to explore and address the deep well of forgetting (selected memory / amnesia / psycho-physical trauma)  and the contradictions/contraindications that might occur through the act of laughing.  Assignments drawing from literature (Kundera) to neuro-scientific accounts (Sacks) to the role technology plays in using and/or abusing our ability to remember, will be addressed.  |  Along with daily slide presentations that address artists that investigate the idea of forgetting / laughing, scientific analysis and reports concerning the social, political, and psycho-physical repercussions and  current ‘condition’ of forgetting and/or laughter will be cornerstones for daily sketches and assignments.

“Framing a Practice” Radhika Subramaniam
Working with curatorial, exhibition, editing and documentation issues, pedagogy and archival work in relation to
a socially oriented and creative practice and research will be explored.

“Between: Foreignness” Dorit Cypis
We see in the other part of our self that we do not recognize and so separate from within ourselves. That “other” becomes foreign, unrecognized, a denial that seeps out as bias against others. Foreignness, shaped by both political and psychological forces, is a highly charged contemporary axiom, the stranger next door, the undocumented worker, the party with whom we are in conflict, the unidentified terrorist. Who is the foreigner? How are we each foreign?  |  There is an ineffability of locating “I” and “you”, in perceiving another’s experience, the person next to us and especially across cultures of different histories and contexts. We take for granted experience, assuming that what we see/feel is self-evident when in actuality experience is a complex act, physiological, psychological, and social. |  Between: Foreignness weaves together perceptual tools from aesthetics, self-knowledge tools from somatic movement and communication tools from conflict resolution to explore the psycho-social-physical aspects of identity as interior and social, psychological and political.  |  We will unpack the complexity of identity and experience to reveal cultural and subjective codes and to transform bias to empathy and engagement. Without critical insight towards ourselves we remain “foreign” to ourselves and separate from the foreignness of others, lacking the empathy necessary to engage creatively with difference.

WEEK 2

“Investigating Meaning, Articulating Praxis” Victoria Hindley
Meaning is produced, appropriated, celebrated, acquired, manipulated, offered, instrumentalized, shared, reproduced. To expand one’s understanding of how meaning is constructed is to expand one’s ability to see; to strengthen the ability to see is to strengthen the ability to write. Visual literacy and good writing are intimately linked. Just as meaning(s) are never static, good writing is never predictable, formulaic, or dull.  |  This seminar is designed to help you address the specific requirements of graduate-level writing, while emphasizing the unique advantages artists have as “see-ers” and writers. In a supportive environment of productive discussion and presentation, we’ll demystify the academic writing process. We’ll strengthen critical reading and thinking skills and deepen our capacity to articulate our observations. Because language is never neutral and always defines a way of seeing the world, we will engage in close reading of both word and image: investigating and questioning codes, representations, and constructions; interpreting, analyzing, deconstructing, inhabiting. We’ll examine how visual, textual, and material systems are implicated in meaning formation, and investigate ways to disrupt such systems in order to produce spirited, incisive writing.  |  Treating practice and research as inextricably intertwined, our investigations will navigate wide terrain encompassing art, literature, cultural studies, philosophy, and political science. These explorations will be further grounded with presentations on concrete skill-building: how to formulate a thesis; develop a meaningful argument; organize and structure the research paper; apply good grammar; edit, proofread, and use citations. Through collaborative exercises and analysis, we’ll engage in peer exchange and emerge as stronger writers who can more easily relax and focus on the pleasure of creating.

 “Work of art as analyst” Laura Gonzalez
This course will reverse the traditional position of psychoanalysis in relation to works of art. Instead of psychoanalyzing objects – or even worse, authors – I will make the proposition that works of art occupy, in the studio or the gallery space, the position the analyst occupies in the analysis room and, thus analyses viewers. Examples, in the form of discussions around the fetish object, Jacques Lacan theory of the Four Discourses, an account of an incident occurring to Freud on the Acropolis and how these have been taken up in art will form the basis of the morning sessions. Artists such as Sophie Calle, Sahron Kivland, Sylvie Fleury, Adam Chodzko, Gregor Schneider and others will be examined. In the afternoon, student will share the work they produced in response to propositions of analysis.  |  The assignments will take the form of critical interventions (works of art, writing, performances, actions, films, images …) responding to a series of propositions including responses to disturbances of memory, ornaments in the field of vision, the discourse of the artwork and afterwardness.

“Art and/or Business as Usual” Geoff Cox and Tatiana Bazzichelli
The seminar investigates some of the interconnections between art, activism and business. We will examine how artists, rather than simply refusing the market, are generating ‘social hacks’, producing critical interventions from within. As the distinction between production and consumption appears to have collapsed, every interaction in the info-sphere seems to have become a business opportunity. In this way, the creative intersections between business and art become a crucial territory for re-invention and the rewriting of symbolic and cultural codes, generating political actions, social innovation, but also unexpected consequences and a deep level of irony and modification of prevailing business logic. | We are not suggesting these are new issues — as there are many examples of artists making interventions into the art market and alternatives to commodity exchange — but we aim to discuss some of the recent strategies that have emerged from a deep understanding of the network economy. Examples derive from software development and net cultures, such as peer production, free culture initiatives, gift economies, extreme sharing networks or open source business models. More specifically, we would cite the significance of radical sharing communities on the net to disrupt the business ecosystem, and offer alternatives, even if this comes in compromised form in the case of the social web. And yet, clearly value is produced from the social web too; it becomes more a question of what kind of business model is preferred and how returns, or rather benefits, are distributed. We maintain there is nothing wrong with doing business as such.  |  The seminar explore some of these contradictions: that on the one hand, there are alternative or disruptive business models that derive from the art scene, often as critical or activist interventions, but on the other how these practices can be easily co-opted by proprietary business logic. This is perhaps exemplified by the business idea of ‘disruption-innovation’, where disruption is considered to be a creative act that shifts the way a particular logic operates and thus presents newfound opportunities. Does this mean that well-meaning critical strategies of artists and activists are self-defeating? How do we develop disruptive business models that do not simply become new models for business that simply follows capitalist logic?

 

WEEK 3

“Salad on the House” Nicholas Estevez
Using food as its main ingredient, this workshop centers on one of our most basic physiological needs, the nourishment of the body. Participants become involved in the elaboration of conventional or impractical recipes as a way of engaging in discussions on the socio-political implications and the conceptual and aesthetic possibilities of food preparation and eating. Whether solo or in small groups, the students work planning simple recipes, shopping for ingredients at local markets, and concocting these ingredients into meals. These meals can be served in any conceivable medium, including cyber snacks or digital tapas. | Theoretical dishes are comprised of daily conversations triggered by a required menu of readings on the subjects of diets, obesity, allergies, nursing, fasting, hunger strikes, eating disorders, and famine as result of corruption and the unequal distribution of resources. Some of the artists whose work will be introduced in Salad On the House include: Patty Chan, Miralda, John Waters, Martha Rosler, Allison Knowles, Karen Finley, Carolee Schneemann and Elia Arce. Be advised that peanut butter and dairy products might be used during the sessions.

“Broken Grammar” Michael Bowdidge 2011
To quote Wittgenstein, “grammar tells us what kind of object anything is”. In the deeper sense of this word, thinking in terms of grammatical structures provides a useful way of describing what might be termed the ‘normative structures’ of life, and of understanding the way in which context and structure can generate meaning. However the simplest way to expose unseen and unthought aspects of tangible (or intangible) everyday structures is to disrupt their grammar through processes of reconfiguration, displacement and substitution.  |  Using these three simple methods, this workshop will examine the disruption of grammar in the broadest sense. Initially it will encourage participants to identify, question and re-evaluate the pre-existing grammatical structures of their own creative practices, before moving on to a reconsideration of the physical, cultural and social spaces which surround us at the residency, exploring what Max Ernst termed “the consequences of a systematic putting out of place”.  |  Alongside the writing of Max Ernst , this workshop will also touch upon the later work of Wittgenstein, aspects of the work of Jacques Derrida and Henry Staten’s linking of these two figures, and the writing of Billy Klüver and Julia Martin on Robert Rauschenberg. Works that we will examine in relation to our investigations will be drawn from across a wide range of media and will include contributions from Stephen Butler, Joseph Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Kasimir Malevich, Meret Oppenheim, Steve Paxton, Ad Reinhardt, and Bill Viola amongst others.  |  This workshop will take the form of series of interlinked and interwoven non-medium specific exercises and assignments, interspersed with brief presentations and discussions of contextual material. Throughout the week the emphasis will be placed on learning and thinking through individual and/or collaborative creative exploration and active participation, with a view to gaining a deeper critical perspective on our own practices and an awareness of the ways in which thinking in terms of grammar and its disruption can provide new strategies for creative production.

“The Convergence of Sensation: Dialectic of the Eye and the Ear” David Dunn
In recent human history most cultures have tended to parse art making into separate traditions that relate to two of our dominant sensory modalities: those that primarily correlate to our visual experiences versus those that are predominantly aural. By the end of the 20th century this dichotomy has become more problematic with these cultural traditions having hardened into distinct categories of institutional structures that support and control a fundamental schism between “visual art”—with its system of galleries, museums, and publications—and “music and performing arts”—with a system of concert venues and recorded media. Academia has even required that students usually make a choice to specialize in only one of these separate cultural traditions, becoming educated to very different aesthetic assumptions, tools, skills, collections of knowledge, and canons of critical work.  |  Simultaneously there has also been a somewhat less conscious lineage of art making that has attempted to juxtapose, merge, or interpolate the sense impressions of our eyes and ears. Perhaps these activities have emerged from a profound intuition that the seamless continuity of the electromagnetic spectrum is shattered by the structure of our senses and that perception is always a somewhat arbitrary interpretation of a more complexly structured universe than our sense impressions allow us to experience or explain.  |  Anthropological evidence has recently led some researchers to propose that Paleolithic rock art and Neolithic megalith sites were locations for various forms of multi-sensorial ritual practice. Extant shamanic practices of the Amazonian Basin are specifically directed towards the psychotropic interlacing of visual and aural experience where the song tradition is used as a kind of control mechanism for modulating visual experience. Various manifestations of visionary art throughout European history are conspicuous for their attempts at constructing some sort of multi-media experience. Hildegard von Bingen and William Blake are obvious examples.  |  During the early 20th century, part of the strategy of modernism was to embrace a kind of derangement of the senses where one art form transmutes into another. Futurism, Dada, Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty, and the Bauhaus are just a few examples of historical events that shared aspects of this interest. A fascination with synaesthesia also became an overt focus of artists like Kandinsky and Klee and musicians such as Scriabin and Messiaen. A century later this concern for an integration of sensory modalities has become the stock-in-trade for various experimental and expressive genres including cinema and theater. We now have an arsenal of nomenclature—such as multi-media, inter-media, happenings, new media, theater-of-mixed-means, interdisciplinary arts, immersive media, virtual reality, and many other terms—with which to cloak this convergence of the eye and ear and a more general recognition of an historical need to do so, what visionary philosopher Terrence McKenna referred to as an “archaic revival.”  |  And yet, we still tend to educate towards the familiar dissociation of the senses, offering distinct bodies of knowledge and skill to different practitioners who otherwise desire to participate in the new technological frameworks of multi-sensorial exhibition and performance—not to mention the proliferation of popular spectacles that attempt to formulate a cross-modal sensory experience from more naïve assumptions. This workshop will focus upon how this dialectic between the eye and the ear has impacted the ways we construct descriptive metaphors in the arts and how we can strategize towards an integration of these senses in our own work.

“Cultural Translation” Wolfgang Suetzl, 2012
Cultural translation has over the past few years become a theory applied to a host of phenomena in culture and politics. An offspring of postcolonial theory, it has its origins in the work of Homi Bhaba and his notion of hybridity as a post-dialectical cultural theory. Gayatri Spivak and Judith Butler have taken cultural translation into economic and philosophical contexts. Cultural translation seems to offer a way out  where key concepts of modernity such as universalism, dialectics, the subject, etc. have failed. Does cultural translation offer an approach to a form of being that no longer confined by essentialism? Does the negotiation of difference through cultural translation is it the expression of a loss of an actual political horizon, of a willingness to abandon political questions in favor of a permanent negotiation of cultural difference? The seminar examines these questions, and looks at how artistic practice affects the translatability of culture. We will translate a text, identify untranslatable parts. Translate untranslatable texts.

“Remembering Spaces” Deborah Aschheim and Lisa Mezzacappa, 2012
What is the truth of the memory of a space?  How do we experience spaces with our bodies and senses, and how do we remember these embodied experiences? Recording technologies allow us to create convincing mechanical and digital reproductions of sight and sound, yet our reliance on recorded experience often reduces the complex three-dimensional world of sensation to the inputs of a flat screen and a pair of earbuds. How can we devise new ways of observing, recording and recreating spatial experiences that get at the deeper truth of the phenomenological and narrative experience of a space?  Can we create a more complex embodied relationship between the experience and its reproduction?  |   For this workshop, we will use the city of Berlin as both the subject and the field laboratory for our experiments.  We will consider the city as a kind of palimpsest, richly textured in the sensory present and fertile ground for a more archaeological excavation of collective memory and historical narrative. We will devise strategies for field recordings, interviews and mapping exercises, and consider the role of point of view in shaping experiences in the city. We will consider some ideas about how we understand space from neuroscience and cognitive psychology, mnemonic strategies that rely on spatial perception like the “method of loci” or “memory palace” and egocentric vs. allocentric systems of spatial cognition. We will also consider the social construction of cultural-historic space, spaces as landmark and ruin, ethnographic approaches to space, and the contested interpretations of the meanings of space.  |  Back in the studio, we will develop ways of making one space feel like or evoke another space. Our strategies for recreating space will include experiments with installation, the potential of digital and analog recording, captured vs. synthesized sound and image, four dimensional spaces (3D space plus time), and the importance of spaces you experience without seeing (the space behind you, the spaces above and below eye level), ambient sound, vibration and other tactile/sensory phenomena.  We will consider what constitutes true site-specificity.  We will also pay attention to more subjective aspects of individual experience: the intersection of interior mental space and the world the body moves through, the simultaneity of embodied space and the virtual space of the iPod, cell phone and mp3 player, and the haunted landscapes of narrative space.

“Reciting Sites: Performance, Public Monuments and Cultural Politics” Myron Beasley 2012
This seminar contemplates and interrogates the cultural politics of public art and its construction of Memory and history with performance theory.  Considering performance in the context of localities, and localities in the context of performance, we will explore the ways in which the personal meets the political in geographies of enactment specifically with public monuments. We will ask the following historical and theoretical questions:  What role do monuments and memorials play in societies?  What are the politics of memorialization?  And perhaps more probing, this seminar would be interested in the intersection of such monuments and how the individual “reads” them and /or recites them in daily life. This seminar will draw from readings from ethnography, performance theory, and theories of identity formation and negotiation with theories of memory  and public art.  We will us four public art sites within the city of Berlin and read from such theorists as Benjamin, Conqueergood, Nietzsche, Pierre, Winter, Althusser, Hall, and Kwon

“High Fidelity: on Adaptation, Re-enactment and Retelling” Ofri Cnaani 2012
On the crossway between performance, cinema and visual arts, this course will examine the use of adaptation and various strategies of reenactment and retelling in recent new-media works—which transform original source material, including classic literature, film, dance, painting, or even e-mail—into new works of art. What exactly is being reenacted, and what is the effect of the (re)presentation? What meaning is resurrected out of this duplication?  |  The course offers a close look at different answers to these questions by investigating the ways in which a specific source is updated through shifts in form, content, or context in order to introduce new aesthetic or political intentions and perspectives. Through critical discussion, lectures, and personal assignments students will reflect on these timely (and timeless) questions. The course is guided by the work of artists such as Lars Von Trier, Robert Willson, Pierre Huyghe, Omer Fast, Andrea Fraser, Robert Longo, Guy Ben-Ner, Isaac Julien, Jeremy Deller, Artur Zmijewski, Maurizio Cattelan, Jerome Bel, and Catherine Sullivan, as well as by concepts and pronouncements by critics and visionaries, including Walter Benjamin, Julia Kristeva, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jean Baudrillard, Andre Bazin, and Mieke Bal.

“The Index: The Contemporary Taxonomist” Mary Ting 2012
The collection, documentation, categorization, study and display of other creatures, cultures, and objects rare and curious dates back to earliest civilizations.  This custom continues with equal fervor today and as a system model utilized in all forms from popular culture, military studies to contemporary art forms.  |  The workshop will combine daily presentations of historical and contemporary models with discussion and activities suitable for all art forms.  Colllections and historical sites such as the will be examined for their methodology, cultural and political significance and influence upon contemporary systems.  Contemporary art forms that mimic, comment, subvert and utilize these systems and display methods will also be examined.  Students will discuss and create a work specific to their medium and interests.

“Intensities – Extended Body, Extended Voice” Lynn Book, 2012
This workshop would create an environment of extended exploration of the body and the voice with a focus on transforming the ordinary into the extra-ordinary through physically and conceptually activated means.  The multimodal and immersive engagement would demand rigorous commitment to performing the matter of self, thereby inventing selves as an overt objective of each workshop session. By investigating embodiment beyond what is ordinarily a conditioned and fundamentally unchanging and represented ‘self’, the participants will elaborate extensions of their bodies, their voices and any other media that they perform their art practice through.  Much like the ‘prepared piano’, we will add on, manipulate, aggregate, stratify, pixilate and magnify bodies (including hyper and quasi bodies), and voices (including sounded, recorded and textualized voices). Immersive practices to be explored include adaptations of ‘Viewpoints’ (Overlie, Bogart), ‘Delicious Movement’ (Eiko and Koma), ‘Plastiques’ (Grotowski), ‘Voicing Body’ (Book), ‘Tremoring’ (Fitzmaurice), and others.