“The not-yet-made” – on unfinished projects

Karin Michalski
“The not-yet-made” – on unfinished projects

Online block seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Saturday/Sunday, 30./31.10. & 27./28.11.2021, 10-18 h

Times like this current pandemic put projects on hold – but there are also other reasons why projects don’t get into a state of realization and completion. Usually one doesn’t get to know about such projects – nor does one share these projects with others. But what would a film, an installation, an exhibition look like if it showed exactly those projects, that were never really finished? Or those stories and materials that were never really meant to be publicly told or shown? Could this ‘unfinished state‘ also be a feminist-queer, decolonial method?

Some projects like Julia Grosse’s and Yvette Mutumba’s ‘C& Center of unfinished business’ are referring to colonial times as unfinished that can still be traced in literature and other cultural materials. And some projects only exist in fragments. There can be different reasons why projects cannot be put into a fixed artistic form – e.g. because the stories to be told are so multi-layered that it seems impossible to do them justice.

Hanan Toukan on Uriel Orlow’s ‘Unmade Film’: “This impossible film – this not-yet-made film, this fragmented film that never fully becomes one, despite its ‘plan’ to do so – has been emerging over an extended and ongoing period of research and production that excavates multiple narratives and layered meanings that converge in Deir Yassin. Yet by never actually being realized, Orlow’s Unmade Film reconstructs a narrative of space, time and historical blind spots that adds layers of unsettled new meaning to questions of subconscious pain, trauma and suffering in the contexts of obliterated geo-histories.” Sometimes the not-yet-made project is itself already about the politics that this project is getting involved with. And also one’s own position towards this project can be ambivalent: why do I think that I should do this project? Why do I accept it that this project is on hold?

This seminar will take a closer look at unfinished projects – by various artists but also our own. It will create a space for a respectful exchange about what it means to start and not finish, taking into account texts by feminist, queer, decolonial cultural theorists for our reflections.

Mieke Bal, “Of What One Cannot Speak: Doris Salcedo’s Political Art”, 2011
Avery F. Gordon, “Letters from the Utopian Margins, The Hawthorne Archive”, 2017
Uriel Orlow, Andrea Thal, Al-Ma'mal (ed.), „Unmade Film“, 2014

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Regular attendance and a thematic input relating to a theoretical text or artistic work or the presentation of a project.

Karin Michalski works as an artist, film and video art curator and lecturer in Berlin. She studied film directing and production at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb) as well as journalism, political science and education at the universities of Mainz and Berlin. She has been invited to numerous festivals and exhibitions with her film and video works including The Alphabet of Feeling Bad (2014 & 2012) and working on it (2008). In 2016 she edited the artist edition An Unhappy Archive (inspired by Sara Ahmed and in collaboration with Sabian Baumann) and in 2015 the collaborative book I is for Impasse - Affective Queer Connections in Theory_Activism_Art at bbooks, Berlin and in 2011 the fanzine FEELING BAD - queer pleasures, art & politics. Curatorial projects include An Unhappy Archive Part II at Kunsthaus Aargau 2021. She works as a lecturer at various film and art schools and universities. From 2015 to 2018 she was a interim professor for art and media at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). More information on www.karinmichalski.de.