Panellists & Moderation

Panel 1 - Globalization & Digitalization: What does it entail for Arts and Artists?

The Internet, as an expression of western connected, digitalised media and communication and, therefore of western thinking, has spread to almost the entire globe. As a fundamental media infrastructure, it influences cultural articulations and, not least, art. Artists react to the changed media-cultural conditions in different ways, which various authors describe with terms such as “digital condition” (Stalder, 2018), “post-digitality” (Cramer 2015, 2016) or also “Internet state of mind” (Chan 2011). The new, self-evident way of dealing with interlinked digital media, its aesthetics, the corresponding symbolic forms, and the changed conditions of production, distribution, and reception can be observed for example in the art of so-called “post-internet Art” (Olson 2011).

But the claim to equalization that goes hand in hand with the globalization idea of digitalization and the Internet must be called into question. On the one hand, from a media-critical perspective: Does access to digitally networked technology really lead to a democratization of the art scene or are we now dealing with further forms of digital divides, on a technical, economic, cultural, formal and content level? How does the Internet affect questions of visibility and invisibility of art, artists, as well as the formation of a public and accessibility of art? Ultimately, does a gap between the so-called “Global South” and the “Global North” remain in the areas mentioned? – On the other hand, from a postcolonial perspective, what universalisms are transported in the context of the Internet? Which culture-specific, regional peculiarities and particularisms are thereby lost sight of, excluded and made invisible? But, where does it also make artistic works visible and traceable, and thus also the artists who previously worked under the protection of anonymity? Are artists in non-democratic, opressive countries of the world now faced with the choice of either gaining international visibility or working in a more critical and therefore clandestine way? If so, then the Internet not only changes the media-technological conditions of art production and distribution, but also influences them in a sensitive way in terms of content.

The panel attempts to disclose and discuss these and other questions that the Internet holds for art – and also to work out first possible answers.

References:

Chan, C. (2011). Art in Berlin. In: Stil in Berlin. https://www.stilinberlin.de/2011/02/interview-carson-chan.html
Cramer, Florian (2015). „What Is Post-Digital”? Aarhus: APRJA. www.aprja.net/what-is-post-digital/
Cramer, Florian (2016). Nach dem Koitus oder nach dem Tod? Zur Begriffsverwirrung von „postdigital“, „Post-Internet“ und „Post-Media“. In: Thalmair, Franz (Ed.) (2016). Postdigital 1. Allgegenwart und Unsichtbarkeit eines Phänomens. Kunstforum International, 242/2016. 54-67.
Olson, Marisa (2012): Postinternet. In: Foam Magazine 29/2012, 59–63.
Stalder, Felix (2018): The Digital Condition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Panellists

Azadeh Ganjeh – born on 1983 in Tehran (Iran) – is an Assistant Professor in Faculty of performing art and music-University of Tehran. She is also a playwright and Theater Director. Her special interest in theater for development and Social Theater lead to achieving national and international prizes for her site-specific and immersive theater Productions. Her research interest is focused on Cultural Mobility theory, Theatre for Development and Democracy and New Media Art. After receiving her BA in Civil Engineering, She earned a Theater directing M.A degree from Tehran Art University and Graduated as a Dr. in philosophy from Bern University. Since then, in addition to her carrier in academia, she has taught directing workshops with concentration on site-specific Theater, Immersive Theater and performance theory.

Oulimata Gueye is a Senegalese and French art critic and curator who has been studying the impact of digital technology in Africa. She explores the potential of (science) fiction, literature, contemporary art, popular culture and micro-politics to develop critical analysis and alternative positions. Gueye uses the concept of ‘Afrocyberfeminisms’ to investigate the place of genre and race in technologies. From 1998 to 2011, Gueye co-hosted numerous international multi-disciplinary artistic events. She holds a Master in cultural management and studied Art and Language the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Gueye currently lives and works in Paris.

Markus Huber studied theater, art history and philosophy in Berlin and Milan. From 2007 to 2015 he worked for transmediale, Festival for Art and Digital Culture in Berlin – as curator and festival manager. From 2015 to 2017 he was a consultant in the funding and programs department of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, where he developed, among other things, the program 360 Degrees – New Cultures for Urban Society. He then moved to the Goethe-Institut, first to the head office in Munich as a consultant for digital education and later as head of the department Education and Discourses. Since 2020, Markus Huber has been head of the Goethe-Institute in Slovakia.

Samar D. Kirresh is Palestinian, living in Jerusalem. She has a BSc in Biology and Medical Technology and a Master in Science Education. She is a maker, self-taught artist and art-science educator. She joined A. M. Qattan Foundation in Ramalla, Palestine, as a Principle Researcher in 2012 and established the Karkasha Room (maker space) as an integral functional space at the Science Studio. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the College of Education at Birzeit University, Palestine and the International Advisory Board for the Hands-on Science International Conference. She has experience in exhibit development and fabrication with contributions in two exhibitions; Light and Shadow 2017, and Motion and Stillness 2018. She founded Washem; an art project on motifs inspired from exploration of the Palestinian landscape and culture. She also co-founded Art Market Jerusalem, a cultural platform for Palestinian artisans and designers. Samar’s work and research interest is on the interplay of science, art, tinkering, making and fabrication, in connection to education. She explores that interplay by designing interactive integrated science – art learning experiences and environments for public programs, empowerment programs and festivals.

Samar Kirresh

Moderation

Nanna Heidenreich has been appointed professor for Transcultural Studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in October 2020, following positions at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (visiting professor for Media & Cultural Studies, Summer 2016), at the ifs internationale filmschule köln (professor for Digital Narratives – Theory, October 2016 – March 2020) the University of Hildesheim (visiting professor for Media & Cultural Studies, Summer 2016) and the University of the Arts in Braunschweig (as lecturer/researcher in media studies at 2011-2016). From 2009-2017 she was curator for the Berlinale program Forum Expanded. From 2015-2017 she worked as a researcher and curator for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (hkw) in Berlin. Until 2009 she was a member of the antiracist network Kanak Attak, and she is part of the network critical migration and border regime studies (kritnet). She has published widley on migration, visual culture, postcolonial media theory, art and activism and queer theory. Occasionally she develops independent curatorial projects with film/video and often participates in juries and serves as an advisor, most recently she conceived the Symposium Hotspots: Migration and the Sea in Cologne (Nov. 2019).

Panel 2 - Playing with Publicness: 
Creating Political Art in Volatile Circumstances

Digitalisation, or to be more precise, the internet provides artists, with the possibility of showcasing their art and their own personality and to leave their less visible, more hidden and “access controlled” art spaces. Especially artists from the global south can benefit from this transformation. But a broad access could also entail danger for artists, authors, or contributors with regard to local or global politics.

Often, the severity of the situation is not sufficiently considered, especially in countries with authoritarian systems that require a very sensible handling of internet use. But also living in a democratic system is no guarantee for careful handling with information given off and to the internet. There are cases of people affected which are not fully aware of this issue as well as the fact which communication tool is safe or not. However, there are also cases of people fully aware, and integrating those friction points into their art, e.g. from Palestine or South Africa.

We have to be aware that we might endanger people from authoritarian or repressive states by simply communicating or working with them, be it scientific, artistic or for civil reasons. Is there a way of handling these issues in a more formalised way? Are written guidelines a potential solution when common sense fails as there is no “common” in the global political landscape? Or do they fail the same way, as there is no “one solution” for all political severities in the world?

With this panel, we want to initiate an exchange between artists, researchers, civil society and political activists. Discussing these issues from different perspectives has the potential to help us shape the way, we communicate, work, create and research in the future in a more sensitive way and consider the potentials and risks of digitalisation in the art scene.

Panellists

Taqi Akhlaqi is a writer based in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has published three collections of short stories so far, including his last book, Aus heiterem Himmel (Out of the Blue) which was printed by the Edition Tethys in Germany. He occasionally writes for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the Swiss, German-language newspaper, and has achieved a number of awards and scholarships, including a residency programme at Heinrich Boell House in 2016. He has also been working as a communication specialist for Kabul branch of GIZ, the German international development cooperation agency, since 2014.

Noura Kamal holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna. Her thesis is about the scopes of agency in Nablus (Palestine) under immediate siege and under regular Israeli occupation. She graduated from Birzeit University in Palestine with a master’s degree in Sociology.  Currently, she is a researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Social Anthropology working on her Stand-Alone project “Humorous Art And Reconfiguring Palestinian Discourse” which is funded by The Austrian Science Fund.

(Comic by Naji al-Ali )

Shaimaa Lazem is an Associate Research Professor at City of Scientific Research and Technological applications, Egypt. Her research interests include participatory design, post-colonial computing, and decolonizing Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Her previous projects included designing educational and heritage technologies for rural populations in Egypt. She is a Leaders-in-Innovation Fellow with the Royal Academy of Engineering in London since 2018, and the co-founder of the ArabHCI community, which is an initiative aims at promoting HCI research and education in Arab countries.

Shilo Shiv Suleman is an award-winning Indian artist whose work lives and breathes at the intersection of Magical Realism, Art, Technology, and Social Justice. Her work is unapologetically embodied weaving together the sensual and sacred, past, and future – through paintings, wearable sculptures, interactive installations, and public art interventions.

Her collaborations with a neuroscientist on creating art that interacts with your brainwaves and other biofeedback sensors made her a recipient of several grants including the honorarium installation – Pulse & Bloom at Burning Man. She has been featured on TED, BBC, Rolling Stone, MSNBC, Tech Crunch, The Guardian, WIRED, and has exhibited her work at the Southbank Centre in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Her newest body of work – “Semiprecious” – explores the forces of nature – rivers, mountains, the movement of tectonic plates, wind currents, photosynthesis, rocks, moss, minerals and all kinds of invisible, microcosmic, and macro-cosmic love stories.

Moderation

Sarah Rüller is a research associate and PhD student at the Collaborative Research Center 1187 – Media of Cooperation and the Institute for Information Systems and New Media, both at the University of Siegen, Germany. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Palestine and Morocco and her research focusses on social innovation and community learning. In 2016, she co-curated and designed pieces for the exhibition Garbage Environment Design at the French-German Cultural Center in Ramallah, West Bank and in 2018, she co-curated the exhibition Syntopie in the Making: Perspectives on a German-Palestinian Cooperation at the Gallery K42 in Siegen.