Throwing Gestures

  • The Entanglement between Gesture, Media, and the Political


Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig , Universität für Angewandte Kunst


  • 08 December 2018– 10:00–19:00 Berlin, Deutschland (Kunstquartier Bethanien)


Cultural Studies, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Art History, Arts, Media Theory, Performance, Political Science

Full Text

To display and displaying oneself gains greater significance within the context of the unrestricted and instantaneous global exchange of video material as well as in an everyday world increasingly defined by sensors and computers. Thus the meaning of presence and publicness changes, evolves and new forms appear. Over the course of two years a group of scientists and artists have collaborated in international workshops bringing together their various fields of research and artistic media, such as: Visual art, dance, sound and performance art, as well as media studies, history of technology, and social sciences. Against this background, the final exhibition presents our artistic-scientific results to a broader public. The symposium shall enable a further and in-depth discussion on our findings, methods and work processes. 10.00–10.20 h Introduction to the Symposium 10.30–12.30 h Im/Perceptible Gesture Speaker: Marie-Luise Angerer, Irina Kaldrack, Stefan Rieger, Konrad Strutz The main questions for this panel are: how does movement becomes gesture? And how are media technologies involved in this process? With media and technologies specific forms of representation of movement occur and thus configure how movement appears and gesture is perceived and shaped. At the same time, technologies as well as media demand and afford new gestures of use. The panel assembles different perspectives on this entanglement in order to discuss, what forms of gestural affections, expressions, practices and meaning emerge in different historical and technical constellations. Irina Kaldrack (Berlin): “Modeling the Gestural” Starting from the exhibition and the collective working processes of the research project, the input inquires signatures of the gestural in present digital cultures. Marie-Luise Angerer (Potsdam): “Moving Forces” Throughout a large part of the 20th century, the body was interpreted as a field of signs, the meaning of which pointed to an unconscious dimension. Starting in the early 1990s, however, a deep shift occured in the way the body was interpreted. A new movement cast tremendous doubt on the hegemony of language and instead advocated a performative, pictorial and affective approach—the so-called “material turn”—which encompassed all of these. In the words of Karen Barad, this turn inquired as to why meaning, history and truth are assigned to language only, whereas the movements of materiality are given less prominence. With this shift towards the material, bodies began to be seen in a different light and their materiality understood as something that follows its own laws and movements, which cannot be understood exclusively in terms of social-cultural codes. Instead, these laws and movements call into question the very long list of epistemological dichotomies. Konrad Strutz (Vienna): “Lost Motion” The human figure had been at the center of artistic practices for so long that it felt like a painful platitude when it appeared as a protagonist in my artwork. I pit it against the objects in its surrounding and let it compete with them for attention; I took it apart so that it might become an object… A talk about gestures from the vantage point of visual arts, about ideas that didn’t lead to anything and some that did. Stefan Rieger (Bochum): “Naïve Physics. Gestures of Intuition” The development of interfaces is closely related with a tremendous promise: the promise of media-participation which is free from the acquisition of explicit knowledge. Instead of explicit knowledge it relies on an entanglement of a certain concept of natural gesture, a certain concept of intuition, and the politics of participation. These concepts are deeply rooted in a notion of the body, whose mode of operation could be described with the little noticed and even less valued formula Naïve Physics. 14.00–16.00 h Gesture and the Political Speaker: Florian Bettel, Timo Herbst, Zoe Lefkofridi The panel approaches the political gesture by observing that the media-communicated protest gesture is/becomes prevalent in popular culture as well as in art. The re-enactment and the transmission of protest with and by gesture—beyond the spatial as well as temporal, even beyond the physical context—is the focus of the discussion. Florian Bettel (Vienna): “At the center of attention: Gestures of Protest in Art and Culture” Mounted policemen in uniform patrolling the space in Tate Modern, former miners re-enacting their battle with police seventeen years ago, and violent clashes between protesters and police in pop culture: Artists, as Tania Bruguera and Jeremy Deller, and directors of popular music videos, as Romain Gavras, use specific aesthetics of protest movements for their artistic work. Florian Bettel argues, that “Policing the Crisis” (Stuart Hall et al.) has entered the era of its commercial exploitation. The introduction to the panel “Gesture and the Political” will start from the exhibition’s artworks and shed light on a number of topics, the interdisciplinary research group was investigating in this context. Timo Herbst (Leipzig): “Play by rules” In relation to his 5 channel video work ‘Play by rules (Budapest, Istanbul, Hamburg)’ Timo Herbst will speak about act and gesture in public protestdynamics and their media representation. Zoe Lefkofridi (Salzburg): “Symbolic Gestures in Contemporary Protest Movements” How do protesters convey messages to political elites, the masses and the media without using words? What kind of symbolic gestures do they use to confer different political meanings? In pursuit of these questions, I discuss the use of symbolic gestures in contemporary protest events. To understand how protesters use their bodies as a means to express varied political meanings (e.g. subversion, defiance, deference, domination), I use examples from protests organized by movements located on both sides of the political spectrum (left and right) within and outside Europe. 16.30–18.30 h Staging the Entanglement between Arts and Humanities Speaker: Andreas Broeckmann and Daniela Silvestrin, Martina Leeker, Stefanie Kiwi Menrath, Laurie Young The panel reflects the work processes between artistic and scientific actors in interdisciplinary projects, including the example of cooperation in the project EGMP. The interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists, the (self-)organization or methodology of collaborative working as well as the presentation of such work processes in project results such as exhibitions are treated topics. Stefanie Kiwi Menrath (Berlin): “Collaboration? Transformation and complicity in arts/humanities practices” The panel introduction unfolds some aspects of the collaborative working processes within the interdisciplinary project. Andreas Broeckmann (Berlin) & Daniela Silvestrin (Berlin): “Interfaces of Artistic Research“ In their talk, Broeckmann and Silvestrin report about an interdisciplinary research project on the topic of “anonymity” in which researchers from the social sciences and media studies worked together with a number of artists. The artistic programme, jointly organised by the two researchers and curators, sought to elucidate how research on a contemporary, societal issue can be done through art, contrasting, catalysing, and reflecting on different methods, ontologies and epistemologies. The notion of the “interface” was selected as an operational concept that connects between different systems, that creates interoperability, and that defines a zone of communication, interaction and agency. The research project employs the notion of the interface with regard to three aspects of such artistic research projects: the research topic as interface; the methods of interdisciplinary communication as interface; and the role of the curator as an interface in such interdisciplinary encounters. Martina Leeker (Berlin): “Entanglement of Art and the Humanities for mediocrity” Digital cultures can be described by an excess of critique, which is profitable in order to seduce human agents to give a high amount of data, as well as to connect humans to technology on an existential level. In this situation a new kind of critical reflection and research is needed. Performative practices are especially helpful in this context, because within the process of staging they generate modes of distanciation, lacking in digital cultures, by e. g. repetition, alienation, concentration, or displacement. Furthermore performing practices are a mode of production of knowledge, which intermingle doing and reflection continuously. The entanglement of Art and Humanities offers in this background a training in mediocrity, which means on the one hand noticing the mediality of existence for a reflexive de- and re-connecting to digital cultures. On the other hand it is about the insight into the ordinariness of human thinking and acting, which could fight exclusion and elitist power play. Laurie Young (Berlin): “Moving Through Membranes” Speaking from a dance practitioners perspective, Laurie Young reflects how interdisciplinary processes across arts and humanities calls for mutual learning and unlearning of knowledge bases.


Angerer, Marie-Luise , Florian Bettel , Broeckmann, Andreas , Herbst, Timo , Kaldrack, Irina , Leeker, Martina , Zoe Lefkofridi , Marchart, Oliver , Menrath, Stefanie , Rieger, Stefan , Daniela Silvestrini , Konrad Strutz , Young, Laurie

Activity List



  • Berlin, Deutschland
  • Berlin
  • Deutschland

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Published By: Florian Bettel | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 09 May 2022, 11:47 | Edit Date: 05 July 2024, 10:20