Artistic Projects & Residents
In the framework of «Thinking Together», artists from South Africa, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and the UK will be present at the Osthang campus, showing their work and freely engaging in discussions and research on future modes of living together.
Sarah Vanhee (Brussels)
«lecture for every one Darmstadt»
«Lecture For Every One» is not a show. It is an intruder, a gift, a pleasant or challenging virus spreading through the complex fabric of the city. Like friendly strangers, the performance artists Sarah Vanhee and Katja Dreyer enter already existing gatherings – a board of directors, a jour fixe, a neighbourhood association, a hearing etc. – to give a brief lecture about living together. Infiltrating as many different contexts as possible, the lecture revolves around the following questions: How, in which language and with which content, is it possible to address all citizens, collectively and individually, in our fragmented societies? Can this be done other than through rules and laws, political messages, mass media and advertising? In truth, does a shared frame of reference exist today?
During the Osthang Project, between 28 and 30 July, Lecture For Every One will infiltrate gatherings and communal situations in the city of Darmstadt.
Concept & Text: Sarah Vanhee, in collaboration with Juan Dominguez Rojo, Berno Odo Polzer, Dirk Pauwels & Kristien Van den Brande | Performance German version: Katja Dreyer | Performance English version: Sarah Vanhee | Management host organisations & website Linda Sepp | Thanks to Sylvia Freydank, Kerstin Schultz, Thomas Schäfer, Marijke Vandersmissen | Production CAMPO (Ghent) | Co-production Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) & Frascati Producties (Amsterdam) | Supported by STUK Kunstencentrum (Leuven)
Since its inception in May 2013 Sarah Vanhee, her collaborating team and performers have realized more than 200 of those Lecture for Every One that will also take place in Darmstadt between 28 and 30 July. Between Gothenburg and Lisbon, Helsinki, Vienna and Paris these interventions into existing gatherings took place. In her Lecture-Presentation Sarah Vanhee will reflect on the diverse and rich experiences and impressions the artistic as well as political process of this project has generated and will contextualize it within the questions raised during thinking together.
Sarah Vanhee’s artistic practice is linked to performance, visual art and literature. It uses different formats and is often (re)created in situ. Her work has been presented internationally in various contexts, such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), De Appel arts centre (Amsterdam), iDans (Istanbul), Centre Pompidou (Metz), Impulstanzfestival (Vienna), Artefact festival/Stuk (Leuven), Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse), Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), Mousonturm (Frankfurt). She published two art books with Onomatopee (Eindhoven) and De Appel (Amsterdam), as well as a short novel, TT, with Campo (Ghent). Her book The Miraculous Life of Claire C is part of the artist novel collection.
Monday, July 28 – Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Thursday, July 7, 2014 | 8 p.m. | lecture presentation
» Osthang campus: hall
Valentina Desideri (St. Erme)
‘Political Therapy’ is a one-to-one performative format that creates the conditions for intimate conversation and speculative thinking around political issues. It borrows from the therapeutic set-up as it places a moment of ‘healing’ in the middle of a conversation. A session is individual and lasts approximately one hour. It is not recorded in any other way than by means of a conceptual map drawn during the conversation. Although it understands itself as a ‘therapy’, this practice is not aimed at solving problems, on the contrary: any problem is treated as an occasion for language to develop, for speculation to happen, and for politics to be felt. It is a form of therapy for those who neither need, nor want, to be fixed. (Valentina Desideri)
During the entire period of ‘thinking together’, Valentina Desideri will offer ‘Political Therapy’ at the Osthang, by personal agreement. Prof. Stefano Harney will join the practice during the 10 days, looking for the rhythms and lines of collective study already at play in thinking together.
Valentina Desideri considers making as a form of study, and study as a form of making. She wants to create the condition to rehearse another kind of subjectivity: a being who creates herself through a social ensemble that is itself a constant and provisional creation. Her current practices include Fake Therapy and Political Therapy.
She co-organizes the Performing Arts Forum in St. Erme, France (www.pa-f.net), she speculates with Prof. Stefano Harney, she writes biographies by reading people’s palms, she dances, and she is often around.
Valentina Desideri trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London and did a MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
Thurday, July 31 - Saturday, August 9, 2014
» Osthang campus
» Tel. +49 (0) 6151 787 61 80
Christophe Meierhans (Brussels)
«some use for your broken clay pots»
‘Some use for your broken clay pots’ refers to the voting mechanism in the Athenian city state through which untenable political leaders could be banished by way of writing their name on a shard of pottery. Christophe Meierhans starts out from this form of ostracism to fundamentally question our current democratic system.
The performance, shaped and co-created by the audience, is an exercise in constitutional creativity. Its script is nothing short of a new constitution for a radically different democratic state, developed in collaboration with specialists from several Belgian universities. The text provides an overview of all the institutions, bodies, laws and procedures necessary to set up a new democratic system. If we assume that our identities as citizens reflect what is written in our constitutions, then the question to as is what new types of citizens would emerge if we would overturn our constitutional regulations? It is up to the spectator to imagine what our lives would be like under different constitutional conditions.
Concept, realization & actor: Christophe Meierhans | Dramaturgy: Bart Capelle | Conceptual advisor: Rudi Laermans | Advising team: Anne-Emmanuelle Bourgaux (ULB), Rudi Laermans (KU), Jean-Benoît Pilet (ULB), Dave Sinardet (VUB) | Constitutional jurist: Anne-Emmanuelle Bourgaux | Scenography: Sofie Durnez | Conception & graphic design publication: The Theatre of Operations | Illustration: Nuno Pinto Da Cruz | Co-production: Kaaitheater (Brussels), Workspace Brussels, Vooruit Arts Centre (Ghent), Teatro Maria Matos (Lisbon), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) | Production: Mokum | With the support of: the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie & Government of Flanders
Christophe Meierhans (*1977, Geneva, Switzerland) is a multi-disciplinary artist. Trained as composer, his work comprises performances, public art interventions, video and media installations, short films, publications and musical compositions. His work has been presented in theatres, art centres, concert halls, museums and festivals across Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, England, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Denmark. Christophe is a founding member of the audio-performance duo TAPE THAT and was a co-founder of the Brussels-based performance collective C&H with which he has collaborated in numerous projects between 2000 and 2012, among which the year-long urban intervention project Postcards from the Future in Brussels. In 2012 he has co-curated Cantus Firmus, an group exhibition based on the video installation You take the words right out of my mouth at the W139 arts centre in Amsterdam. His short film Up North Right East Down South Left West has been selected for screening at the 31st Uppsala International Shortfilmfestival as well as for the ExDox festival, Cologne. Christophe Meierhans lives and works in Brussels, Belgium
Sundy, August 8, 2014 | 8 p.m.
performance ‘some use for your broken clay pots’
» Osthang campus: hall
Ruth Sacks (Johannesburg)
«Art Nouveau From The Outside»
Ruth Sacks’ work examines historical moments in art, architecture and the applied arts in order to comment on contemporary environments. She works with fictional narratives as a tool for encouraging multiple interpretations of dominant viewpoints and creates new fictions by revising and adapting existing texts and motifs, alongside developing new ones. Throughout her practice, emphasis is placed on the use of typography, design and language systems. During her residency at the Osthang Project, Ruth Sacks will continue her long-term research on Art Nouveau, and the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt in particular. Next to her involvement in ‘Thinking Together’ activities, she will edit two issues of the ‘Osthang Presse’ publication project.
Under the title «Art Nouveau from the Outside: Nationalism in the Mathildenhöhe Gesamtkunstwerk», Ruth Sacks describes the plans for her research as follows:
„I have been fascinated by Art Nouveau —Jugendstil in Germany— for some years now. I was initially drawn to investigate the style when I lived in Belgium and realized that the time of the movement coincided with King Leopold II’s colonial regime in the Congo. After some research, I found that many classic Art Nouveau buildings were either commissioned directly by the regime or figures associated with it and, consequently, enriched by lucrative business in the colony; money that came at the cost of thousands of Congolese lives. I came to see remaining traces of the style as markers in the contemporary Belgian landscape of a time when the fashionable avant-garde art became entangled with imperialism. With this in mind, I found that re-looking at Art Nouveau language itself revealed certain tendencies that lent themselves to promoting pro-nationalist expansionist outlooks. Within the immersive enclosures of what was then known as the ‘modern’ style, aesthetics from non-western cultures were routinely woven into the greater system of patriotic signs and symbols. Moreover, imagery of an imagined, romantic peasant past were also appropriated to form Utopian visions intended to inspire patriotic pride. Each version of Art Nouveau, from the curvilinear, whiplash effects of the Belgian line or the heavier, more geometric Germanic formations, attempted to forge a style that continued partly imagined regional craft heritage. That is, handcrafts and materials perceived to be traditional were wilfully employed in an attempt to revive a ‘spirit’ of national identity.
In Darmstadt, the Grand Duke of Hessen oversaw the creation of an artists’ colony to this effect. The efforts of architects Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens here not only sought to improve German handcraft and national aesthetics by means of their activities, but also to fuse art and life. At a time when cultural innovation was thought to be a tool towards creating a unified German nation, Art Nouveau tendencies strove towards consolidating all the arts. The artist-designers at the Mathildenhöhe conceptualised and constructed living and work spaces in their entirety, from the overall structure to the furniture and cutlery to be used within it. Each individual building that made up the whole were bound in an all-encompassing aesthetic of repeated symbolic motifs and forms as well as principles of structural integrity. Quotidian life was elevated to an aesthetic experience. As with all Art Nouveau works, this vision of harmony was sequestered off from the realities of everyday living for those not fortunate enough to afford its pleasures. Despite an aesthetic emphasis on ‘folk’, German working classes were excluded from the privileged unit of the artistic haven. Residents were creatives who lived alongside and staged exhibitions and events for the cultured elite who funded them. While the foundational principles of the colony’s total environment were to capture the spirit of the age alongside the potential for an exalted status of art in every arena of German culture, the greater German community never entered the ethereal confines of the commune. The effects of living in an environment governed by the rules of “ethical” design, pure in all its denouements, could only be appreciated by a designated few.
While in Mathildenhöhe —a place described by late 19th century travel guides as the most still and dreamy spot in Darmstadt— I am hoping to investigate how these particular articulations of Art Nouveau form came to define patriotic spirit. Accordingly, I hope to draw some conclusions as to what elements of its Utopian vision have (and potentially could be) drawn into form and object-making today.“ (Ruth Sacks, April 2014)
Ruth Sacks is a South African visual artist who lives and works in Johannesburg. Group exhibitions include: The Global Contemporary at ZKM Centre for Art and Media (Germany, 2011), Performa 09, (USA, 2009), .za at the Palazzo Delle Papesse (Italy, 2008), the 52nd Venice Biennale (Italy, 2007) and the 1st Biennial of the Canaries (Spain, 2006). Recent solo shows have taken place at Musee Jules Verne in Amiens (2013), the Center for Historical Reenactments in Johannesburg (2012) and Extraspazio in Rome (2010). Sacks’ third artist book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under Seas was launched last year. Her previous books to date are: False Friends (Kunstverein Press, Amsterdam 2010) and An Extended Alphabet (Expodium, Utrecht 2011). She is currently based at the Wits School for Social and Economic Research (WiSER), where she is a doctoral fellow. Sacks was one of the facilitators of the collaborative arts platform, the Parking Gallery, hosted by the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) in 2012/2013. She is a laureate of the Higher Institute for Fine Art (HISK) in Ghent, Belgium.
Friday, August 1, 2014 | 8 p.m.
» Osthang campus: hall
Heath Bunting (Bristol)
Heath Bunting works with technological, cultural, and social systems. He has explored both the dirty and progressive dimensions of the Internet, hacked urban spaces through physical activities, and in recent years has been dedicated to an extensive research aimed at constructing fully valid identities from scratch based on a deep knowledge of how such identities are officially constructed. Heath Bunting is a founding member of the web collective irational. In 1997 he publicly declared his retirement from net art, but his work nevertheless still involves online and computational aspects, only more integrated with the conceptual and material possibilities offered by life in the offline world.
Bunting invites you to take part in his workshop ‘Survival Skills’ in the forests around the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt. The workshop is aimed at anyone who wants to spend the day in the artist’s company and learn about edible plants, building tree houses or hunting.
Wednesday, August 6 – Friday, August 8, 2014
» Darmstadt and surrounding