Art and Domination

Stefan Knauf & Till Wittwer
Art and Domination

Block seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Friday, 17.6., 14-18 h, Saturday/Sunday, 18.6./19.6., each 10-15 h,
Saturday/Sunday, 25.6./26.6., each 10-15 h,
Hardenbergstr. 33, room 004 (except 25.6.: room 101/102)

A “hierarchy” is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. It links entities vertically („superior“ or „inferior“) and can imply temporalities („ahead“ or „behind“). Hierarchy is a prevalent concept in fields of human society, cultural systems and in social relationships.
A “holarchy” is a connection between holons, where a holon is both a part and a whole. In a holarchic relationship, each holon is a “level“ of organization, while a top can be a bottom and a bottom can be a top. It is organized neither horizontally, nor vertically, yet in an absolute „Gleichzeitigkeit“ or synchronicity of nested systems and subsystems. Ecosystems are self-organized holarchic open systems, distinguished by complexity.

In this seminar, we will both have a look into ecosystem science, which is the study of interrelationships between living organisms and their non-living environment, as well as its technological extension, specifically the promise and ideology of the blockchain. From this vantage point, we will investigate the cultural and technological systems we operate in and together with artists and researchers from different fields like ecosystem management, art and theatre. We explore concepts like anthropocentrism, the nature/culture divide, queer ecology, interspecies studies, techno-solutionist futures, and others. If possible, we will identify and visit different types of (actual or projected) ecosystems in Berlin trying to find out what it could mean to understand life, art and their organization as a holarchy, reframing the way in which we see and understand the present reality.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Regular and active participation and short keynote speeches (10-15 min).

Stefan Knauf is a visual artist living in Berlin. In his work he deals with cultural history, coevolution between species and the memory of materials. He consolidated his research on transformation processes together with the Global Change Management program at the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde and worked on the implications of art and imagination in the context of ecosystem regeneration.

Till Wittwer is an artist, writer and researcher. He creates research-based narratives exploring the ways in which reality is constructed. These narratives come in the form of essays, publications, lectures, performances, and—occasionally— games. As an extension of his artistic work, he is interested in forms of education and the subjects they create.