Monday, 28 January 2008

Incorrect Maps and Imaginary Snapshots

started in November 2003 as part of my research dealing with transdisciplinary projects in the area of arts, politics and public space in Europe. While traveling through different areas of Europe, capital cities as well as “peripheries”, visiting projects, spaces, interviewing artists and producers, the research got focused on dynamics in developing projects and communicating between different artistic and cultural fields in an informal network, that surpasses national and institutional borders.

This network does not exist as static structure but rather as a way of interaction and communication between different agents in cultural field, which is marked by flexible exchange, alliance and support in (co)production. In a combination of face-to-face encounter and communication via internet shifting “points communes” on a map of culturescape are created, mingling positions and processes that were formerly divided (like artist/publisher/sociologist, actor/choreograph/researcher).

Not only in geographical respect but also in terms of roles and positions Europe’s map is reshaped, borders between areas are blurred and new systems of inclusion and exclusion come into being, depending on the radius of background, experience and facility.

The facts that more and more artists/agents are getting access to, participating in and navigating through Europe’s network-based culturescape has a strong impact on the role and fields of activities of artists as well as on structure and aesthetics of projects that are reflecting a transnational and transdisciplinar way of working and living in Europe. “Artists-in-residency”, co-productions in festivals and organizations, virtual offices that offer supporting structure for projects in different countries, the fusion of virtual and public space in architecture and urban movements are pointing towards a tendency of translocality. On the other hand a strong focus on community and local situation leads into a “grounded” vision of arts and culture.

Different from former movements towards “neighborhoods and streets” or (perfomative and other) experiments of the 60s and 70s this vision has its sources not in a (political) countermovement, not (only) in critic of institutions, but in an reflective process of questioning situations of work and living in different (artistic, urban, political) circuits and creating answers within these circuits.

My answer is also navigating between different circuits, the academic, artistic, sociological and geographical one, as I am using different formats to deal with the subject (the thesis, texts for magazines and presentations, lecture performances, hand drawn maps as visualization and informal guides), following the dynamics of encounters and spontaneous collaborations in the networks I am doing research about.

Rather than objectifying results I try to work with intuitive yet reflective answers to the situations I find during my stay in different countries. In this respect I am part of the research itself - and of the map that has to be incorrect, because it may change its focus and range with every interaction and distribution; of snapshots that have to be imaginary as they consists of “points specials” and “points communes” which have too many layers for being put into a two-dimensional format; of encyclopedias that have to be incomplete because they are dealing with an endless amount of ways how to enter cultural regions and use the dynamics of “grounded” projects within a translocal frame of action.

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