The current societal and political tensions in Germany and other central and eastern European countries are prompting questions as to the role photography can play as a medium of public communication. Taking the thematic focus “exposing 1990” as a point of departure, the first plenum will examine photography as a socially effective practice since the fall of the Iron Curtain. The distinct approaches of Falk Haberkorn, Elske Rosenfeld, and Andreas Rost demonstrate different manners of publicly reflecting and retelling current events.
How can seemingly invisible, long-term processes, geological changes, and the gradual transformation of a region be made visible? For several years the artist Susanne Kriemann has been researching, documenting, and surveying the properties of the former Wismuth AG company (from 1945 to 1990 the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium) in the German states of Saxony and Thuringia. In the course of her field research she has met with not only former miners but also geologists and biologists of the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Jena, who are studying the potential of renaturalizing the area. The artist has been developing experimental recording strategies and heliogravure techniques with pigments from plants capable of storing environmental pollutants, and working on ways to render the radioactivity of objects, plants, and living beings visible.
How can photography examine long-term societal developments that affect everyday life? For their long-term photographic project “La Vallée” (2013 – 2016), Nicolas Giraud and Bertrand Stofleth have documented the decline of the oldest industrial region in France—the area between the cities of Lyon and Saint-Étienne.
Eyal Weizman is an architect and the director of the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College of the University of London. He is co-founder of the independent research group Forensic Architecture, which is also based at Goldsmiths. In the main exhibition Forensic Architecture will present the work “77sqm_9:26min”, which was commissioned by the activist alliance Unraveling the NSU Complex, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), and documenta 14. The project examines the murder of Halit Yozgat in the city of Kassel in 2006 by the extreme right-wing NSU group and the false testimony given by Andreas Temme, who was present when the crime was committed.
In German. For more than ten years the racial motives of the murders committed by the group “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) were concealed. The participants in the second plenum will present forms of knowledge production in the context of the failures of the authorities and discuss social cohesion. Ayşe Güleç and Mareike Bernien will offer a feministic and migrant-oriented perspective on the NSU murders. In their research and artistic work the two have been examining the complex contexts of normative knowledge production and representation and looking at strategies to render viewpoints that have been ignored more visible. This connects in turn to the new work by Paula Bulling and Anne König: three graphic short stories that focus on women directly or indirectly related to the NSU—an active supporter, a seemingly frail administrative clerk, and a relative of one of the murder victims. Christian Gesellmann and Josa Mania Schlegel survey the rise in right-wing political movements in western society from a journalistic perspective, paying special attention to the state of Saxony.
The trenches of our “broken society” also run through the digital world, from where they have an impact on real political events. One example of this is the effect that meme campaigns in social networks have on elections. The waging of political debates and influencing of opinions are now increasingly taking place in digital spaces where troll troops foment hate, rage, and xenophobia. Digital artistic interventions in the realm of the digital will be discussed, with particular emphasis on photographic strategies and the associated political and social practices of the digital society. At this plenum UBERMORGEN.com will present its ongoing project “Binary Primitivism” and afterwards speak with Ana Teixeira Pinto and Daphne Dragona.
Binary Primitivism: We live in a time where humans have lost the ability to understand the world. Some say this is because we understand everything! To affirmatively counter this, the 21st century will have to be the age of Transhumanism, Accelerationism, Alternative Facts, Neoreactionary (NRx) Aesthetics, the Singularity and the Psychopathology of Psychopathy. We call it “Binary Primitivism”. Significant carrier networks are neoreactionary psychopaths (Alt-Right Nerds) acting from within their Silicon Valley habitat. To shape and interact with this ongoing process we create high-tech Heraldry and Hypno Porn, based on recycled photography, as aesthetic signifiers and detection-based blade servers (web-sites) to colonize the imaginary.
6:00 pm Angriff auf eine dicke Tür aus Glas, Alexander Kluge, DE 2018, In Gefahr und größter Not bringt der Mittelweg den Tod, Edgar Reitz & Alexander Kluge, DE 1974, 86 min, OV with English subtitles.
8 :00 pm Electrical Gaza, Rosalind Nashashibi, UK 2015, 18 min, OV with subtitles.
8:30 pm Estate, a Reverie, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, UK 2016, 83 min, OV
7 :00 pm Into the Unknown, Deimantas Narkevičius, LT 2009, 19 min, OV
7:30 pm Namibia Today, Laura Horelli, DE/FI/NA 2018, 21 min, OV with English subtitles, Q & A Laura Horelli
8:30 pm The Conspicuous Parts, Assaf Gruber, DE/US/PL 2018, 35 min, OV with English subtitles, Q & A Assaf Gruber
9:30 pm The Dud Effect, Deimantas Narkevičius, LT 2008, 16 min, OV with English subtitles
7:30 pm GOMP: Tales of Surveillance in Norway 1948 – 89, Lene Berg, NO 2014, 84 min, OV with English subtitles
9:00 pm Group Portrait with Explosives, Declan Clarke, DE/IE/CZ 2014, 42 min, OV (engl.)
10:00 pm What can be answered, Talk with Nicolas Siepen (artist, filmmaker, theoretician), in German and/or English language