Materialisierte Erinnerungen (in) der Landschaft

Materialized Reminiscence of/in the Landscape

 

from our “Wilde 13” section

Abstract:
For many artists, investigation and research have become fundamental constitutive components of their artistic practice. Artistic production, the choice of material and the development of aesthetic strategies can hardly be separated from thinking about the context and the possible impact of the works in the social and political field. Addressing this, the artist Philipp Lachenmann provides insight into aspects of research in his work.
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2022-20327
Languages: German, English

On this topic, also compare the PHW issue 9 (2021) 3, Landscape and Identity

Künstlerische Praxis ist nicht nur ein Gegenstandsbereich historisch-kulturwissenschaftlicher Forschung. Forschungsergebnisse auf diesem Feld fließen in unterschiedlichem Maße und in verschiedenen Arbeitskontexten auch in die künstlerische Praxis ein.

Künstlerische Recherche und Forschung

Für viele Kunstschaffende sind Recherche und Forschung mittlerweile grundlegende konstitutive Bestandteile ihrer künstlerischen Praxis. Die Produktion in der Kunst, die Wahl des Materials und die Entwicklung bildnerischer Strategien, lassen sich heute zudem kaum mehr trennen vom Nachdenken über den Kontext und die mögliche Wirkung der Werke im gesellschaftlichen und politischen Feld. Künstlerische Forschung führt dabei oftmals zu einem diametralen, auch als befragendes Korrektiv funktionierenden Verständnis von Erkenntnisprozessen. Oder wie Annemarie Matzke es formuliert hat: “Künstlerische Forschung zielt auf ein in und durch künstlerische Praktiken und ästhetische Darstellungsformen hervorgebrachtes Wissen, das sich in je eigenen Präsentationsweisen und Rezeptionsstrukturen vermittelt, die sich grundlegend von denen der anderen Wissenschaften unterscheiden.”[1]

Voraussetzung für das Erreichen einer solchen Erkenntnisstufe ist jedoch, dass eine künstlerische Arbeit nicht vornehmlich deskriptiv konzipiert ist, also als bloße Bebilderung, als Visualisierung dokumentarischer und historisch-wissenschaftlicher Fragestellungen dient. Vielmehr basiert für mich ein gelungenes Kunstwerk auf zwei Parametern: Es muss erstens seine eigenen Mittel und Bedingungen mitreflektieren und lesbar machen. Und es muss zweitens über die augenscheinliche Referenz zum Forschungsgegenstand hinaus auf einer neuen Ebene eine Offenheit erzeugen, einen Kontrast bzw. Widerstand zur Linearität eines Gedankenkomplexes herstellen, seine konventionelle Rationalität befragen und unterlaufen.

Kollektive Bilderwelten als Fundus künstlerischer Arbeit

In diesem Sinne hat künstlerische Forschung eine fundamentale Funktion in meinem Werk. Ein spezifisch erinnerungskultureller Ansatz darin kreist beispielsweise um Ausprägungen des “kollektiven Gedächtnisses”, um seine Gebrauchsformen in Gesellschaft und sozialem Gefüge. Der Rückgriff auf den Fundus kollektiver Bilderwelten kann ein starkes verbindendes Element für Akzeptanz kritischer Gedanken generieren. Die Verwendung vertrauter Motive öffnet dabei Türen und verleitet zur näheren Beschäftigung mit gesellschaftlichen Themen, die sonst eher unzugänglich bleiben oder gar gemieden werden. Auch lassen sich so Verständnis-Brücken in oftmals hermetisch erscheinende künstlerische Diskurse bauen. In welchen Formen kann sich nun so ein künstlerischer Ansatz praktisch äußern? Dies soll im Folgenden an zwei Videoarbeiten aus den Jahren 2000 und 2020 exemplifiziert werden.

Eine Arbeit, “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)”, ist stark forschungsbezogen. Als Ausgangslage diente die eingehende Beschäftigung mit gesellschaftlich prägenden Ereignissen der deutschen Vergangenheit und gleichzeitig mit Berührungspunkten zur eigenen Geschichte bzw. persönlichen Erfahrung. Hinzu kam die Intention, auch medial-künstlerisch erstmals einen exakten Schnittpunkt zwischen stillem und bewegtem Bild zu artikulieren. Ausgangspunkt der zweiten Arbeit, “AKM (Turkish Night)”, war ein kurzes Zeitfenster im urbanen Gefüge einer Stadt in Verbindung mit einer bestimmten (kultur-)politischen Stimmung und Situation des Landes. Wenn sich solche Zwischenräume zeigen, Strukturen kurz offenliegen und Einblick gewähren in unterschwellige Zusammenhänge, so sind dies oft auch “Glücksfälle” für Genese und Umsetzungsmöglichkeit einer künstlerischen Arbeit. Zugleich aber ist es mein Anliegen, dass so eine Arbeit als Kunstwerk auch ohne einen konkreten Bezug einen qualitativen Eigenwert und künstlerisch Bestand haben soll.

Schönheit und Zerstörung

Bei der Arbeit “AKM (Turkish Night)” aus den Jahren 2018/2020 handelt es sich um ein 13-minütiges Kunst-Video, aufgenommen in Istanbul am Taksim-Platz, dem Herzstück der Bosporus-Metropole. Im Zentrum steht das Kulturzentrum AKM (Atatürk Kültür Merkezi) – in der Bevölkerung nur “die Oper” genannt. Während sich im Vordergrund Passant:innen und Verkehr bewegen, entwickelt sich in den leeren Räumen des zum Abriss freigegebenen, nun fassadenlosen Opern- und Konzerthauses ein phantastisch-psychedelisches Farbenspiel und erweckt das Gebäude ein letztes Mal zu einem kurz funkelnden rauschenden Leben. Das AKM ist bzw. war zentrales Symbol der modernen, laizistischen Republik Türkei. In der Zeit der Gezi-Proteste 2013 machten Demonstrant:innen das renovierungsbedürftige AKM zum Ort ihres Widerstands – und damit zu einem Hassobjekt der zunehmend autokratischen türkischen Regierung. Anfang 2018 wurde es abgerissen, um einem Neubau Platz zu machen.

Abb. 2: Video Still aus der Arbeit “AKM (Turkish Night)” [2018/2020].

In einer kurzen Phase im März 2018, in der die Fassade des AKM vollständig abgenommen war, das Gebäude aber noch stand, konnte das verbliebene architektonische Gerippe im Verborgenen gefilmt werden. In der Postproduktion baute dann ein VFX-(Virtual Film Effects) Studio die AKM-Architektur in 3D nach. Anschließend wurde in die leere Struktur des Konzerthauses digital eine komplexe Choreographie von Licht- und Farbformen eingefügt, die sich an Geschichte und Ereignissen sowohl des Gebäudes wie auch der Stadt Istanbul orientiert. Eines der künstlerischen Ziele war es, im Zusammenwirken von Lichtspiel, Farbgestaltung und einem elaborierten Sound-Design, in dem sich einzelne, auch politisch und historisch aufgeladene Themen manifestieren, das imaginäre Gedächtnis des AKM widerzuspiegeln und darin auch den Gezi-Protesten einen Erinnerungsraum zu geben.

Kunst-Referenzen im weiteren Sinne sind unter anderem das anachronistische filmische Verfahren der sogenannten Amerikanischen Nacht (auch Day For Night genannt) aus den 1930er Jahren, bei dem das Filmbild, tagsüber gedreht, per Blendenveränderung so dunkler gemacht wird, dass es aussieht, als wäre es bei Nacht aufgenommen worden. Und – über eine zentrale schlafende Figur im Film – Goyas Radierung “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos” (“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”) aus dem Jahr 1797. Mit diesem Stück bewegter Malerei nimmt “AKM (Turkish Night)” auch Bezug auf die in der Türkei wichtige Farbsymbolik in der Konstruktion kollektiver Bilder, aktuell ablesbar am groß angelegten Projekt des Präsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, bei dem Türkis die bisherige Nationalfarbe Rot zukünftig ersetzen soll.[2] Farben spielen schon seit alters her eine große Rolle in Byzanz/Konstantinopel/Istanbul, so z.B. beim „Nika-Aufstand“ im Jahr 532 vor Christus, der schwersten Circus-Unruhe der Spätantike.

“Landshut”: Inbegriff eines nationalen Scheidewegs

Ein Flugzeug steht in der Wüste. Nichts scheint zu geschehen. Lediglich heiße Luft flimmert und flirrt wie bei einer Fata-Morgana und lässt das Vergehen von Zeit wahrnehmen. Das Filmbild zeigt die 1977 von Terroristen entführte Lufthansa-Maschine Landshut in Dubai, wo das Flugzeug mit 86 Passagieren vor dem Weiterflug nach Mogadischu zwei Tage auf dem Rollfeld stand. Die lange vermeintlich reale Filmaufnahme ist hier jedoch aus einem einzigen Film-Frame mittels elektronischer Bearbeitung entstanden, d.h. dass man über einen Zeitraum von 31 Minuten (mit anschließendem Loop) lediglich ein einziges, sich permanent veränderndes Standbild betrachtet. Formal steht die Arbeit “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)” aus dem Jahr 2000 somit zwischen Fotografie und Film, vereint dergestalt zugleich Stand- wie auch Bewegtbild.

Für die technische Umsetzung wurde aus historischem Originalfilmmaterial von 1977 ein viersekündiger Zoom vom Flughafentower in Dubai auf das Flugzeug auf dem Rollfeld in der Wüste extrahiert. Daraus wiederum wurde ein einzelnes Frame isoliert, dieses Frame dann 45.360 Mal kopiert und aneinandergehängt, so dass sich bei 24 Bildern pro Sekunde ca. eine halbe Stunde neuer Film ergibt. Anschließend wurden jeweils bestimmte Bereiche jedes einzelnen dieser ursprünglich identischen Bilder mittels eines sogenannten “Partikelgenerators” animiert und wie heiße Luft (in den realen Aufnahmen jedoch gibt es keinerlei Mirage) bewegt, sodass über die gesamte Länge des Films augenscheinlich kein Frame dem anderen gleicht. Faktisch sieht man folglich aber über die ganze Dauer lediglich ein einziges Standbild, dessen Oberfläche entlang der Zeitachse kontinuierlich künstlichen Veränderungen unterworfen ist und so ein fortlaufendes Narrativ suggeriert.

Glaskapseln im Raum der Erinnerung

Das Motiv dieser Filmarbeit[3] entstammt einem Bereich des kollektiven sozialen Gedächtnisses, der unter der Oberfläche der bewussten individuellen Wahrnehmung oszilliert. Durch den gezielten Eingriff in diesen Bereich bzw. seinen Subtext entstehen Irritationen, Kontextveränderungen, welche schließlich einen neuen Zugang zur komplexen Eigenrealität des Materials offenlegen und eine Befragung seiner Repräsentationsleistung ermöglichen.

In “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)” wird Film/Video auch als mediale Oberfläche thematisiert. Deutlich decodierbar erfolgt ein Eingriff in das Bild. Es geht nicht um die mimetische, naturgetreue Wiedergabe eines Hitzeeindrucks, vielmehr um die Grenzlinie der Wahrnehmung, die das Bild bespielt. An dieser definiert die Irritation das Feld zwischen “natürlich” und “künstlich”. Im Sinne eines Imaginationsraums ist die Arbeit auch als Rekonstruktion dessen zu sehen, was ich als junger Mensch live staunend und schaudernd betrachtet habe, und was so unwiderruflich verloren schien. Sicherlich ist es auch die historische Dimension der Arbeit, welche die individuelle Erinnerung des Betrachters und damit den inneren Film auszulösen vermag. Dieser ruft beim Sehen der Arbeit in jedem Einzelnen seinen Zeitbezug wach und übersteigt dergestalt alle möglichen realen Bilder.

In ihrer strukturellen Offenheit dienen funktionierende Kunstwerke – die sich solcher Kontexte wie historische Referenz, Erinnerungskultur und öffentliche politische Debatten reflektiert und verantwortungsvoll annehmen – als Katalysator und Auslöser. Sie ziehen einen systemischen Bereich auf, der einem Publikum eine Selbstbefragung und daraus resultierend einen alternativen Erkenntnisgewinn ermöglicht. Wie Murmeln, manifestierte Glaskapseln im liquiden Raum der Erinnerung, vermögen diese Kunstwerke ein Spektrum von Gefühlen und Begreifen einzufangen, das sich über einen bloß rational-wissenschaftlichen Ansatz kaum oder gar nicht abbilden lässt. Allein auf der Grundlage dieses Potentials bietet das Zusammenspiel von philosophisch-geschichtlichen Disziplinen mit künstlerischen Praktiken ein ungemein fruchtbares und spannungsreiches Erkenntnisfeld.

_____________________

Literaturhinweise

Webressourcen

_____________________

[1] Annemarie Matzke, “Künstlerische Praktiken als Wissensproduktion und künstlerische Forschung,” Kulturelle Bildung Online, 2012/2013, https://www.kubi-online.de/artikel/kuenstlerische-praktiken-wissensproduktion-kuenstlerische-forschung (letzter Zugriff am 15. Juli 2022).
[2] Bülent Mumay, “Willkommen in der türkisen Republik,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26. Juli 2018, 11 (Feuilleton).
[3] Cord Arendes, “Ein Flugzeug als Objekt staatlicher Erinnerungspolitik? Die ‛Landshut’ als deutscher Erinnerungsort,” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, no. 40-41 (2021): 34–41, https://www.bpb.de/system/files/dokument_pdf/APuZ_2021-40-41_online.pdf (letzter Zugriff am 8. September 2022).

_____________________

Abbildungsnachweis

Beitragsbild, Abb. 1: “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)” Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Installation View aus der Ausstellung ‛Some Scenic Views’, 7. September 2010 bis 6. Februar 2011.” © Veit Landwehr 2010.
Abb. 2: © Philipp Lachenmann

Empfohlene Zitierweise

Lachenmann, Philipp: Materialisierte Erinnerungen (in) der Landschaft. In: Public History Weekly 10 (2022) 6, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2022-20327.

Redaktionelle Verantwortung

Cord Arendes / Stefanie Samida

Artistic practice is not only an important object of research in historical-cultural studies. Research results from this field are also an important element in artistic practice – to varying degrees and in different work contexts.

Artistic Investigation and Research

For many artists, investigation and research have become fundamental constitutive components of their artistic practice. Artistic production, the choice of material and the development of aesthetic strategies can hardly be separated from thinking about the context and the possible impact of the works in the social and political field. Artistic research often leads to a new understanding of cognitive processes that is diametrically opposed to mainstream views and which functions as a questioning/an inquiring corrective. Or as Annemarie Matzke has put it: “Artistic research aims at knowledge brought about in and through artistic practices and aesthetic forms of representation, which is conveyed in its own modes of presentation and reception structures, which differ fundamentally from those of other sciences.”[1]

The prerequisite for achieving such a level of insight, however, is that an artistic work is not primarily conceived descriptively, i.e., does not merely serve as an illustration, a visualization of documentary and historical-scientific questions. For me, two parameters account for a successful work of art: First, it must reflect on its own means and conditions of production and make them legible. Second, beyond the obvious reference to the object of research, it needs to generate an openness on a new level, create a contrast or resistance to the linearity of a thought complex, question and subvert its conventional rationality.

Artistic Research and Forms of Collective Memory

In this sense, artistic research has a fundamental function in my work. A specific approach based on the culture of remembrance revolves around the characteristics of “collective memory”, around its forms of use in society and social structures. Drawing from the pool of collective imagery can generate a strong connecting element that promotes the acceptance of critical thoughts. The use of familiar motifs opens doors and tempts one to take a closer look at social issues that otherwise remain inaccessible or are even avoided. In this way, bridges of understanding can also be built into artistic discourses that often appear hermetic. In what forms can such an artistic approach manifest itself in practice? This is to be exemplified here with two video works from the years 2000 and 2020.

One of the two works was strongly research related. The starting point was the in-depth study of socially formative events of the German past and, at the same time, points of contact with my own history and personal experience. Added to this was the intention to articulate an exact intersection between still and moving images for the first time in the field of mixed-media art. The starting point of the second work was a short time window when a gap appeared in the urban fabric of a city in connection with a certain (cultural-) political atmosphere and situation in the country. When such fissures appear, briefly exposing structures and allowing insights into subliminal connections, they are often also “strokes of luck” for the genesis and possibility of executing an artistic work. At the same time, however, as a work of art, such a piece should have an intrinsic qualitative value and artistic consistency even without a specific reference.

Beauty and Destruction

The work “AKM (Turkish Night)” from 2018/2020 is a 13-minute art video recorded in Istanbul at Taksim Square, the heart of the Bosphorus metropolis. At its core is the cultural center AKM (Atatürk Kültür Merkezi) – commonly called “the opera”. While pedestrians and traffic are moving in the foreground, a fantastic psychedelic play of colors develops in the empty rooms of the opera and concert hall, which was set to be demolished and had no facade, awakening the building one last time to a briefly sparkling, rushing life. The AKM is or was the central symbol of the modern, secular Republic of Turkey. During the Gezi protests in 2013, demonstrators made the AKM, which was in need of renovation, their site of resistance and thus an object of hatred for the increasingly autocratic Turkish government. It was torn down in early 2018 to make way for a new building.

Fig. 2: Video still from the work “AKM (Turkish Night)” [2018/2020].

For a brief period in March 2018, when the facade of the AKM was completely removed but the building was still standing, the remaining architectural framework could be filmed. In post-production, a visual effects (VFX) studio then recreated the AKM architecture virtually in 3D. A complex choreography of light and color forms, based on the history and events of both the building and the city of Istanbul, was then digitally inserted into the empty structure. One of the artistic goals was to reflect the imaginary memory of the AKM through the interaction of lighting effects, color design, and an elaborate soundscape, in which individual, politically and historically charged themes manifest themselves – including, specifically, the Gezi protests.

Artistic allusions made in the film include references to the anachronistic cinematic process of the “American Night” (also known as “Day for Night”) from the 1930s, in which images shot during the day are made darker by changing the aperture so that it looks like they were taken at night. A further reference – via a central sleeping figure in the film – is to Goya’s 1797 etching “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos” (“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”). As a “moving painting”, “AKM (Turkish Night)” also alludes to the color symbolism that is important in Turkey in the construction of collective images, and which can currently be observed in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s large-scale project to replace the previous national color of red with turquoise in the future.[2] Colors have always played an important role in Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul, as during the “Nika riots” of 532 AD, the worst unrest in the city’s history.

“Landshut”: Epitome of a Nation in Cusp

An airplane in the desert. Nothing seems to be happening. Only the mirage-like shimmering and flickering of hot air suggests the passing of time. “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai), 2000” shows the Lufthansa plane “Landshut”, which was hijacked by terrorists in 1977 in Dubai, where the aircraft with 86 passengers stood on the tarmac for two days before continuing on to Mogadishu. However, the long, supposedly real film recording here was created from a single frame of film using electronic processing. In other words, over a period of 31 minutes (the length of the repeating loop) the viewer sees only a single, constantly changing still image. Formally, “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)” stands somewhere between photography and film, combining still and moving images at the same time.

For the technical implementation, a four-second zoom shot of the plane on the runway in the desert taken from the airport tower in Dubai was extracted from original historical footage from 1977. From this, a single frame was isolated, and this frame was then copied 45,360 times and joined together, resulting in around half an hour of new “film” at 24 frames per second. Subsequently, certain areas of each of these originally identical images were animated using a so-called “particle generator” and moved like “hot air” (in the real recordings, however, there is no “mirage”), so that for the entire length of the “film”, no frame appears to be like any other. In fact, however, one sees only a single still image over the entire length, the surface of which is continuously subject to artificial changes along the time axis, thus suggesting a continuous narrative.

Memory and its Marbles

The motif of this art work[3] stems from an area of collective social memory that oscillates beneath the surface of conscious individual perception. The specific intervention in this area or its subtext creates irritation and changes of context, which ultimately reveal a new approach to the complex intrinsic reality of the material and enable a questioning of its representational performance.

In “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)”, “film/video” is also addressed as a media surface. An intervention in the image is clearly decodable. It is not about the mimetic, lifelike reproduction of a heat impression, but rather concerns the border line of perception that the picture shows. Here the irritation defines the field between “natural” and “artificial”. As a space of imagination, the work can also be seen as a reconstruction of what I viewed “live” as a young person, fascinated and terrified, and what seemed so irrevocably lost. It is certainly also the historical dimension of the work that is able to trigger the individual memory of the viewer, the “inner film”. When viewing the work, this evokes a reference to time in each individual and in this way surpasses all possible “real” images.

In their structural openness, well-constructed pieces of art, i.e., those that reflect upon and responsibly accept contexts such as historical reference, the culture of remembrance and public political debates, become catalysts and triggers. They create a systemic area that enables an audience to question itself and, as a result, to gain alternative insights. Like marbles, glass capsules manifested in the liquid space of memory, these artworks are able to capture a spectrum of feelings and understandings that can barely be depicted using a purely rational-scientific approach, if at all. Based on this potential, the interaction of philosophical-historical disciplines with artistic practices offers an extremely fruitful and exciting field of knowledge.

_____________________

Further Reading

Web Resources

_____________________

[1] Annemarie Matzke, “Künstlerische Praktiken als Wissensproduktion und künstlerische Forschung,” Kulturelle Bildung Online, 2012/2013, https://www.kubi-online.de/artikel/kuenstlerische-praktiken-wissensproduktion-kuenstlerische-forschung (last accessed 15 July 2022; translated by the author).
[2] Bülent Mumay, “Willkommen in der türkisen Republik,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26 July 2018, 11 (feature article).
[3] Cord Arendes, “Ein Flugzeug als Objekt staatlicher Erinnerungspolitik? Die ‛Landshut’ als deutscher Erinnerungsort,” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, no. 40-41 (2021): 34–41, https://www.bpb.de/system/files/dokument_pdf/APuZ_2021-40-41_online.pdf (last accessed 8 September 2022). 

_____________________

Image Credits

Title image, fig. 1: “Space_Surrogate I (Dubai)” Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Installation View from the exhibition ‛Some Scenic Views’, 7 September 2010 to 6 February 2011.” © Veit Landwehr 2010.
Fig. 2: © Philipp Lachenmann.

Recommended Citation

Lachenmann, Philipp: Materialized Reminiscence of/in the Landscape. In: Public History Weekly 10 (2022) 6, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2022-20327.

Editorial Responsibility

Cord Arendes / Stefanie Samida

Copyright © 2022 by De Gruyter Oldenbourg and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact the editor-in-chief (see here). All articles are reliably referenced via a DOI, which includes all comments that are considered an integral part of the publication.

The assessments in this article reflect only the perspective of the author. PHW considers itself as a pluralistic debate journal, contributions to discussions are very welcome. Please note our commentary guidelines (https://public-history-weekly.degruyter.com/contribute/).


Categories: 10 (2022) 6
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2022-20327

Tags: , , ,

2 replies »

  1. To all readers we recommend the automatic DeepL-Translator for 22 languages. Just copy and paste.

    OPEN PEER REVIEW

    Artistic Research: Immersive and Wonderfully Confusing

    Hyperbolically speaking, in academia we tend to treat artists as purely instinctive creatures. Art works are scrutinised through an abundance of theories, yet the readily available ideas of the artists themselves are often excluded. After all, why set up an interview with an artist via Zoom, if you can interpret their work through the ponderings of various dead French philosophers? This is not to say that such theoretical approaches are redundant – nevertheless it is astonishing to what extent artists are often omitted from the analysis of their own work, as though conceiving a work of art is all technique and feeling, and has nothing to do with research, ideas or philosophy.

    It is therefore a pleasure to read this article as a discreet manifesto (since it neither calls itself a manifesto nor is explicitly polemical) for the unique combination of perspectives that artistic research provides. This evolving discipline is not trying to “impersonate” entrenched academic disciplines – instead it is a field all of its own, blurring the unnecessarily rigid boundaries between artistic practice and academic approaches to art. As the author himself states in the introduction:

    “Artistic production […] can hardly be separated from thinking about the context and the possible impact of the works in the social and political field. Artistic research often leads to a new understanding of cognitive processes that is diametrically opposed to mainstream views and which functions as a questioning/an inquiring corrective.”

    The short article provides an evocative glimpse into not just the author’s body of work described in a haptic and intriguing way – but also into overarching themes such as memory, reality and trauma. Whilst reading, images started to play in my head: so visual were these descriptions that a day later, I had actually generated a false memory of the author’s video work Space_Surrogate I (Dubai): though I had never watched it, I could play it back in my mind. It was an extraordinary experience, especially as subjective, collective and transformative memory play such a significant part in the author’s work. I was moved whilst reading the article, and in that manner, my reaction itself became testimony to the author’s belief that art [and thus, as I understand it, artistic research] is

    “…able to capture a spectrum of feelings and understandings that can barely be depicted using a purely rational-scientific approach […] the interaction of philosophical- historical disciplines with artistic practices offers an extremely fruitful and exciting field of knowledge.”

    The contribution itself is thus an example of the potentials of the field of artistic research as the text effectively unites the artistic and the analytical, the emotional and the philosophical. Gorgeous poetical reflections – “glass capsules manifested in the liquid space of memory” – are inextricably intertwined with argumentative writing.

    I would have liked to find out a bit more about the actual research process of the artist – since the field of artistic research is still defining itself, it would have been helpful of the author had given us an insight into his process. Instead, the article describes the final products of the research, namely two of the author’s works of art, whereas the process of research is as important – some would even argue it is tantamount – to the final artistic product.

    It may also be interesting to address the aspect of time more explicitly: video art is a time-based medium and the author works with historic events and how these transform in – and through – memory over time, whilst artistic research’s emphasis on process not product also honours the passage of time as an essential component. Finally, the element of strategically employed “boredom” – which you could interpret as the feeling of time going too slowly, of needing to be killed – appears to be a deliberate element of the author’s work, for instance when, in the aforementioned Space_Surrogate I (Dubai) viewers are looking at a 31-minute long video of essentially the same image. For this, I highly recommend Anne Ring Petersen’s excellent article on the topic of time, distraction and video art.[1]

    However, these are only small suggestions for an article that was an immersive experience and highly apt metaphor for artistic research in itself.

    _____

    [1] Petersen, Anne Ring. “Attention and Distraction: On the Aesthetic Experience of Video Installation Art,” in RIHA Journal. Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art, 7 October 2010. https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/rihajournal/article/view/68537/63327 (last accessed 12 September 2022)

  2. To all readers we recommend the automatic DeepL-Translator for 22 languages. Just copy and paste.

    OPEN PEER REVIEW

    The Contribution of Practical Experience to Art Research

    Since the revolutions of 1989, and the intensive efforts to digitize the past that followed, artists have become increasingly interested in engaging artistically with diverse forms of collective memory, especially in the context of terror events and contested heritage. “Materialized Reminiscence of/in the Landscape” makes a valuable contribution to the memory discourse around this shift on two levels: the discourse it raises, and the media through which it is presented. More specifically, the article develops a discourse that seeks to see art through a research-oriented perspective, i.e., beyond its descriptive qualities, claiming that “for many artists”, including the author – an artist himself – “investigation and research have become fundamental constitutive components of their artistic practice”.

    Following Annemarie Matzke’s observation according to which “artistic research aims at knowledge brought about in and through artistic practices and aesthetic forms of representation, which is conveyed in its own modes of presentation and reception structures, which differ fundamentally from those of other sciences”, the author-artist highlights the critical role art can play in fostering “a new understanding of cognitive processes that is diametrically opposed to mainstream views and which functions as a questioning/an inquiring corrective”. This cognitive process is shown convincingly, through a discussion the author-artist develops around two of his video works that address significant events that occurred in public spaces and were broadcast on television: the 2013 Gezi Park protests (in AKM (Turkish Night) from 2018/2020) and the hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181 (aka Landshut) in 1977 (in Space_Surrogate I (Dubai), 2000). Throughout the discussion, readers are exposed to the ‘behind the scenes’ of the creative process without mediation: they learn about the motivation behind the creation of the videos, the artistic process itself, the choice of medium and the way each video participates in countering collective memory. In sharing his creative process with the readers in retrospect, the author-artist offers, to my mind, a refreshing perspective that is often lacking from the ongoing discourse about memory and art, where first-person recollections are reserved for survivors and witnesses, not the late-arriving artist and his or her creative methods of coping with a mnemonic event.

    The choice to carry out this self-reflection in a publication that seeks to make a societal impact by making scientific knowledge accessible to the general public is meaningful in itself in my opinion: the choice of written publication enables innovative ways of communicating artistic research, with “Materialized Reminiscence of/in the Landscape” becoming an additional stage in the integration of research into a creative process that can no longer be separated from the videos themselves. After all, to quote the author-artist: “Artistic production, the choice of material and the development of aesthetic strategies can hardly be separated from thinking about the context and the possible impact of the works in the social and political field”.

    However, when viewed from this perspective, it appears that the theoretical discussion about the research practices within the field of art is not sufficiently comprehensive. The author assumes that the reader is familiar with the history in question and the mnemonic narratives associated with it. Finally, there are some fundamental questions that are not addressed and I would be happy to learn more about: why did the author-artist choose to use these two works as examples and how did the twenty-year gap between the two videos’ creation affect his research practice? How has working with the memory of such different events – a wave of local protests on the one hand, and an international terror event on the other – influenced his research? How is working on-site, at a physical site of memory just before it disappears from the public urbanscape, no less (in AKM (Turkish Night)) different from a work created off-site, many decades after the recorded event took place (in Space_Surrogate I (Dubai), 2000)? By addressing such questions, the text would be enriched, adding another layer to the discussion at hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest