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Judith Raum

objects as situations

With her project „objects as situations“ Judith Raum asks how a non-instrumental relationship with the world may become manifest in the texture of materials and surfaces as well as in the arrangement of fabricated things. As an artist also trained in philosophy, Raum is interested in the relationship between subjects integrating fix objects into their daily activities – that is, into temporal processes – and objects with certain material and sensual qualities which may have been shaped by actions and thought processes. Thinkers such as Félix Guattari or Antonio Negri regard the question of contact with the material world as connected with the production of subjectivity, self-empowerment and opening up the future; following their line of thought, the question about the relationship between subject and object becomes a crucial one. Judith Raum will first explore these issues from a philosopher’s point of view in a written thesis and illustrate them with examples from film, art and everyday life. Drawing on the texts and thoughts for this book she will then produce a film essay which will explore the relationship between stable object and processuality with regard to a specific historical incident: the relations between the German and the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century as an example for different material worlds and conditions of production. In 1888, the Ottoman Empire commissioned a trust formed by Deutsche Bank and German construction companies to build the Anatolian Railway – a railway which cuts through today’s Turkey and was supposed to end at the oil fields in Baghdad. Up until the outbreak of WWI German entrepreneurs tried to exploit the resources and markets of Anatolia. Since 2009 Judith Raum has been doing research in archives in Germany, England and Turkey, looking for images and correspondences that document German imperialism, its economic strategies as well as its language and visual politics. Above all she is interested in finding moments of improvisation and makeshift solutions within the success story of technical and entrepreneurial instrumentalization of material and landscape. In lecture performances such as „talking objects“ (2010) or „harmless entrepreneurs“ (2011) she takes up narrative threads from the Baghdad railway in order to confront the profit-oriented expansion of the German Empire in Anatolia with different ways of productions that are connected with it but also collide with it. Raum’s lecture performances arrange narrative voices, archival material and objects made by her into makeshift installations. Travelling to places along the railway, Judith Raum was able to dig up moments and stories in which the local population appropriated and reused material imported from Germany.