International Summer School Bauhaus Denkmal (Bernau bei Berlin)
08 – 13 August 2016
Interested in the historical legacy of the Bauhaus modernism, I start researching on the educational experiments that took place in the cities of Weimar, Dessau, Berlin and Bernau between 1919 and 1933. I was attracted by the utopian conception of the ‘new artist’ and its programmatic vision, as well as the idea of ‘designing life processes’ through the practice of art, craft, architecture and technology embedded in an emancipatory space: a building ‘of the Future’ that was both conceived as a spatial function and a social process for the production and the circulation of means and people.
In relation to my curatorial practice and field of interests, I took a closer look on the theatrical performances and choreographies taught by Lothar Schreyer and Oskar Schlemmer from 1921 to 1929 (the Bauhaus Stage, the Bauhaus Theater, the Bauhaus Dance).
One image especially draws my attention: ‘The Bauhaus as a stage’, taken by Eric Consemüller in Dessau in 1927. A choreography of human bodies wearing costumes and objects that emphasizes the verticals and the diagonals of the building through their movements. Here, the dancers and the building are playing in a spatial conquest geometrically defined by the human body and at the same time by the building’s structure.
The Building as a Stage, Bauhaus Dessau, photo: Erich Consemüller, 1927. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Dr. Stephan Consemüller.
During the workshop and the living experience at the Bauhaus building of Bernau, I focused on the idea of rethinking this architecture and its site as a performative stage and as a body, and extend this research by taking its historical context as an intuitive material and as a narrative that is affecting our human being. I also tried to sense the reality of this environment and to reconstruct the history of a place that has been forgotten and set aside since 1933.
The text has been written during the workshop ‘how to curate a building?’conceived by Dutch art historian and curator Renske Janssen (program director of the school) and the discussions that has been generated with her and the other participants. I would like to thank all of them, as well as Holger Friese (artistic director of the school), Simone Hain (architecture historian and critic), and Thibaut de Ruyter (curator, critic and architect) for their creative inputs.
Download the text here.
The International Summer School Bauhaus is supported by Stiftung Baudenkmal Bundesschule Bernau (Foundation for the Preservation of the Trade Union School Landmark Bernau) and Handwerkskammer Berlin (The Berlin Chamber of Crafts).
Image credits (on top): Judith Lavagna.
Impulse Theater Festival 2016
Learning Plays – A School of Schools
A meeting of alternative academies, schools and universities
Düsseldorf, Cologne, Mülheim/Ruhr – June 15–25, 2016
With Chto Delat – School of Engaged Art (St. Petersburg); PAF – Performing Arts Forum (St. Erme); The Silent University (Athen, Amman, Hamburg, London, Mülheim, Stockholm); Vierte Welt Kollaborationen (Berlin)
Four artist-initiated platforms for knowledge production and exchange move to Mülheim/Ruhr for one week. Instead of trying to invent yet another methodology for yet another summer academy, ‘Learning Plays – A School of Schools’ brings together four exemplary initiatives to share their practice by practical means. What are the opportunities and obligations facing art, artists, activism, theory and theater in these increasingly dramatic times? What are the organic intellectual practices which are being lived?
‘Learning Plays’ situates itself in the context of alternative educational approaches – ranging from the youth and reform movements of the 1910s and Paulo Freire’s concept of critical pedagogy from the 1970s to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s current approach of aesthetic education – while also referencing Brecht’s Lehrstück theory: the idea of a theater with no division between audience and actors, an agonistic group situation focussed on learning how to understand and act within political reality. All four of the invited initiatives have developed their own very different performing models of knowledge production and transfer, while at the same time being deeply engaged in struggling with contemporary political realities.
With Chto Delat and the School of Engaged Art, a working group of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers, the weeklong workshop “What is socialist art today?” consisted of creating, rehearsing and performing a new Lehrstück (learning play).
The performance ‘A LEARNING PLAY: What is socialist art today? Episode #1. New People’ attempts to reclaim and reconsider new forms of emancipatory education through art practice, performance and collaborative forms of work. It aims to find a new definition of socialist art and realism, as well as at tracing its genealogy and investigating the possibilities of its practical realization by merging political theory, art, and activism into a tool of political and civic empowerment.
The School of Engaged Art (St. Petersburg) was founded in 2012 by the Russian collective Chto Delat. It functions as a modular art school based on experimentation with the possibilities of engaged art practices. Known for its utopian questioning and promotion of communist imagination and aspiration, the School of Engaged Art examines a variety of artistic practices which are currently operating in a hostile world of commodity fetishism despite their own structure being fundamentally different. The need to do this is more urgent than ever now when cultural workers are challenged not only by the growing pressure of conservatism, reaction and the exploitation of their creative potential by a neo-liberal agenda, but also by the growth of popular new movements of the European left.
A project conceived by Chto Delat (Nina Gasteva, Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Dmitry Vilensky) and Jonathan Brooks Platt. http://chtodelat.org/
With Aisling Marks, Anastasia Vepreva, Claudia Grigg Edo, Fawad Khan, Ilya Mirsky, Judith Lavagna, Kerri Jefferis, Kristina Lelovac, Lina Ruske, Natalya Pankina, Nina Gojic, Pablo Lechuga, Philipp Rödel, Roman Osminkin, Sumugan Sivanesan, Wong Wai-Yim.
Impulse Theater Festival, Mülheim/Ruhr
Friday 24 June 7.30 pm
The Impulse Theater Festival 2016 is a project of the NRW KULTURsekretariat, in association with FFTDüsseldorf, studiobühneköln and Ringlokschuppen Ruhr.
Image credits: Dmitry Vilensky.
Self-monitoring as a curatorial experiment
A collaborative investigation on curatorial practice
Project conceived by Teena Lange, Judith Lavagna and Stefan Aue
Grüntaler 9, Berlin
29 August – 06 September 2014
‘Self-monitoring as a curatorial experiment’ is a nine days research-residency based on a critical, experimental and cross-disciplinary dialogue focusing on collaborative curatorial strategies. With this exploration and introspection the practice of the curatorial is challenged and shaped in a real-time inquiry. During these days, the curators Teena Lange, Judith Lavagna and Stefan Aue invite artists, researchers and curators to participate in this investigation and to transfer the insights into different time-frames and territories (beyond or other than art). In this ongoing process speculative documents, critical workshops and brain-mapping series have been generated. This think tank puts the spot on various forms of knowledge production in the curatorial field which are worked into the production of a zine as an appearance and materialization of this ideas.
Public events presented talks, performances and reading/writing sessions related to this intensive research project:
‘Some things about how I wrote most of my essays’, a durational editing session performed by Carl Whetham and Joël Verwimp.
Based on their editing experience using skype during the past four years, Whetham & Verwimp will for the first time negotiate their ‘virtuosity’ in public. This reading and writing session is a prelude to the upcoming Maria de Robe (MdR) presentation series at various Berlin Museum Collections.
‘It’s All There In The Manual’ by Post Brothers.
Performative lecture based on retrocausal information, explanation as composition, preposterous and parasitic protagonists, and the presentational potentials of plasmatic property.
IS THIS ZINE A CURATORIAL PRACTICE WHICH REFLECTS ON ITS OWN MAKING?
by Teena Lange, Judith Lavagna and Stefan Aue
Zine launch and presentation.
Post Brothers is a critical enterprise that includes Matthew Post—an independent curator and writer often working from elevators in Oakland, Antwerp, Berlin, and Bialystok. Post Brothers received an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2009); and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver (2006). He has curated exhibitions and presented lectures and projects in Poland, Mexico, Canada, the United States, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Belgium, The Netherlands, and China, where he contributed a video and an unrealized screenplay in the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012). He recently curated “12 Hours” at Galerie Kamm in Berlin (2014), “The Excluded Third, Included” at Galerie Emanuel Layr in Vienna (2014) and “Clinamen” at Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture (Krolikarnia), Department of the National Museum, Warsaw (2013). He has an ongoing library/publication project, “Memoirs Found in a Bathtub”, at Objectif Exhibitions in Antwerp. His essays and articles have been published in Annual Magazine, the Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, Cura, Fillip, Kaleidoscope, Mousse, Nero, Art Papers, Pazmaker, Punkt, and Spike Art Quarterly, as well as in numerous artist publications and exhibition catalogues. www.postbrothers.org
Joël Verwimp is an artist and curatorial director at the Maria de Robe Collection, Berlin. Initially trained as a visual artist and cook, Joël Verwimp is currently doing research into forms of complicity and is since 2009 developing together with Nicolas Y Galeazzi the VerlegtVerlag as a framework for performance on paper. In 2011 he co-initiated the MPA (Month of Performance art) in Berlin. Carl Whetham is a photographer currently living and working in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Stefan Aue is working as a freelance curator and publicist in Berlin. Before he coordinated for two years the project „ArteFacts“ of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and developed a transdisciplinary program with a wide range of events and exhibitions on the interface of art and science. After his final degree sociology, psychology and communication sciences (MA) with the focus on spatial sociology and metropolitan studies he was working for international foundations in the field of political education. Since 2008 he was at the Academy where he developed projects in interdisciplinary mediation and science communication. Complementary he is attending since 2013 the MA program “Cultures of the Curatorial” at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig.
Teena Lange is the Artistic Director of Grüntaler9 – a space towards the performative, which is a space in constant transformation, a space dedicated to live performances and time-based art, a space to investigate diverse theories and practices towards the performative. She studied Theatre & Performance Studies & Literature in Leipzig, Paris and Berlin. As a Program Coordinator and Research Associate she worked at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her current work includes independent Performance Art Curating for Grüntaler9 Berlin, Month of Performance Art Berlin, Art Bosphorus Istanbul, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival New York, >performance space< London and several more spaces and festivals.
Grüntaler 9 – a space towards the performative
In the frame of the Ungebügelt (II/III) series, supported by Bezirkskulturfonds 2014 of the Bezirksamt Mitte.
CASTING CREATURES – towards a materialism of the encounter
Curatorial Practices: Fields and Techniques # 1
Conceived by Susanne Hussea and Michaela Richter, hosted by artist Iza Tarasewicz.
With Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo, Juliane Beck, Ulrike Bernard, Bryndís Björnsdóttir, Laurent Dubuis, Tabea Hamperl, Emma Haugh, Teena Lange, Judith Lavagna and Mikhail Lylov.
02 Sep 2014 – 03 Sep 2014
The workshop CASTING CREATURES – towards a materialism of the encounter is thought to be the first in a series of encounters and investigations on curatorial practices organized at District with the aim to establish connections between culture producers of different backgrounds and across disciplines. The series provides non-academical settings for reflecting, discussing and reviewing practices, attempts and attitudes in perspective to current social, aesthetic, philosophical, and political developments and in regard to new approaches in ‘un-disciplinary’ knowledge production.
A long-term goal of these quarterly encounters and surveys is the lasting promotion of actual methods of cultural work that challenge established doctrines and policies by formulating extended, informal, speculative, experimental, dedicated, situated and critical points of views that bear the potential to challenge and un-do the existing canon.
Each of the Curatorial Practices formats are developed in collaboration with one or more invited hosts and in relation to a set of questions and experiences that stem from a current program at District. CASTING CREATURES – towards a materialism of the encounter is inspired by the ongoing project dissident desire by Susanne Husse and Lorenzo Sandoval (since 2013) on the political performativity of body-knowledge and the present compilation of the first dissident desire publication around the notion of ‘the cast’.
The workshop hosted by Iza Tarasewicz addresses ‘the cast’ as that which precedes and surrounds, as that which happens and evolves in a projects presence, periphery and progression and thus leaves its imprint. A focus will be laid on the role of the unforeseen: What causes gaps and changes in a system? How much control do we need over the creations we participate in? Which are the landscapes of the inter-zones between planned and spontaneous creation? Within the workshop a re-thinking of art projects as bodies of variables, as modular archives of fragments and splinters and something that is traversed and shaped by technology, desire, language, economy and ideology will be proposed.
You can download a more detailed description of the objectives, character and methods of the workshop by Iza Tarasewicz here
Iza Tarasewicz (*1981, near Bialystok, Poland) has graduated from the Faculty of Sculpture and Performing Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland in 2008. Her work has been presented internationally at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2014), Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture, Warsaw (2013), Platan Gallery, Budapest (2011) and as part of the ARTISTERIUM, Tbilisi, Georgia (2011) and others.
The Performative Curatorial Studio:
Curatorial practice in a collective and performative context or how to perform the curatorial
Conceived and organized by Judith Lavagna and Lara Merrington
With Katrina Blach, Ulrike Gerhardt, John Holten, Carlos Leon-Xjimenez, Monte Masi, Pauline Payen, Paz Ponce Pérez-Bustamante, Clémence de La Tour du Pin
Lorenzo Sandoval, To Whom it May Concern Collective (Savvy Contemporary), Joël Verwimp, Jenny Wolka (Mahony).
The Performative Curatorial Studio created a critical and informed dialogue through varied forms of presentation based on collaborative practice and its reinvention of roles between artists, curators and researchers, through the particular theme Performing the Curatorial. The Curatorial is a cross-disciplinary practice within and beyond art that is constantly reworked and reformulated, moving into territories other than art. How can we discuss and create new potentials for remaking the context of the presentation of art and its social interactions?
For this intensive one-day studio we invited visitors to insert themselves into an experimentation on the traditional symposium format through activating discussions and presentation methods in an exploratory real-time study. This happens through presentations and performances, critical workshops and roundtable discussions and the use of architectural forms within the space.
Through a closed workshop in the morning involving international artists, curators and thinkers on the field, stretching into the afternoon with real-time actions, performances and reading sessions open to the public, The Performative Curatorial Studio provided a working platform where we can discuss, process and create outcomes in a think-tank of minds and experiences coming together. As active participants, the public was invited to contribute their experiences and thoughts throughout the debates as well as submit physical or non-physical material. Informed in part by the input of the invited participants, they created an expanded discourse around the performative aspects of curatorial practice today for which we do not seek answers but seek to question with the intention of active outcomes.
The roles and discourses of curatorial practice are underlined in performative and live critical conversations: reading sessions, talks concerning the performativity of particular book formats, roundtable discussions and the construction of a collaborative research in general.
The Live Library expresses the performative aspects of curating where books and texts are displayed, and where audience were invited to become participants. We were using and displaying our material and presentations with ‘The Narrative Machine’ conceived by Lorenzo Sendoval, an architectural and morphing structure which will change due of the Live Library necessities.
The Performative Curatorial Studio took place inside the framework of the Agora ethos which is strongly focused on collaborative practices. We used this as a space to experiment with pedagogical situations, acknowledging and ‘thematizing’ the tensions between ideas of art as an autonomous activity or as participatory by the sharing, translating, transferring and reshaping of ideas.
Sunday June 23, 2013, Agora, Berlin.
10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Workshop ‘Performing the Curatorial’ (closed session)
1.30 pm: Project presentation by Judith Lavagna and Lara Merrington
Lorenzo Sandoval, The Narrative Machine
Presenting forms of activation and deactivation in and for a performative context.
1.30 – 5 pm: Live Library: Monte Masi, Marathon Critique
Online and interactive performance, San Francisco/Berlin.
2 pm: John Holten, reading session
2.30 pm: Clémence de La Tour du Pin and Judith Lavagna
Performative aspects of the book and exhibition project we outsourced everything and now we’re bored.
3 pm: Performance by Joel Verwimp, My Table is My Cock
3.30 – 4.30 pm: Round table discussions and reading groups
4.30 pm: Performance and outcome by Pauline Payen
With the support of Agora, SAVVY Contemporary and the Verein Berliner Künstler.
To perform an exhibition
Conceived and performed by Jessica Cooke, Joana Dias, Marcela Donato, Renata Har, Judith Lavagna, Todd McQuade, Alexandra Sebag, Jasmin Schaitl and Caique Tizzi (Agora Collective).
To perform an exhibition is a body-based project developed by Agora Collective for Month of Performance-Art Berlin. To perform an exhibition took the situation of the group show as reflexive subject matter. The artists performed collective actions in response to the individual works presented by the artists participating in L’Atelier’s program, as well as to the relational behavior of the spectators and the general frame of the gallery itself. The collective occupied the basement of the gallery during 9 hours, after two months of workshop study. The actions produced in To perform an exhibition has been prompted by a mediated information system. Video taken from cameras in the gallery recorded the performances of the contributing artists and played back on monitors viewed by the collective. This outsourced visual information becomed the departure point for investigating how the group performs an exhibition, helping to inform and illustrate Agora Collective’s chemistry.
3rd, 4th, 5th of May 2012, L’Atelier-ksr, Berlin
In the frame of Month of Performance Art Berlin 2012.