PhD

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PhD at the HfG

Portrait about Pia Scharf

Film und Music: Daniel Herzog

​​​Why embark on a doctorate at an arts university?

In addition to university research on the arts, there is also a research program that develops in closer exchange with the arts. Here creative, artistic and design strategies, corresponding ideas and discoveries are not only interpreted, but within a meshwork of artistic-creative practice and scientific reflection they are themselves part of the research. Addressing both forms of knowledge has the potential to generate productive new insights.

This is why we offer HfG Offenbach graduates of art, design, media studies or related sciences the option to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in a model that merges science with art. There are two main subject areas:

Art and Media Studies
Design Studies

HfG Offenbach

As an arts and design university of the State of Hessen, HfG Offenbach teaches some 600 students in the two departments Visual Communication (VC) and Product Design (PD). Studying at HfG Offenbach allows students to combine different artistic and creative subjects. Moreover, a comparison of art universities reveals an unusually high proportion of theoretical study.

Combination of science/theory and art/design

The close interlinking of scientific-theoretical and artistic-creative spheres at HfG Offenbach is also reflected in the doctoral degree. The research projects doctoral students tackle consist of a scientific part (two-thirds) and an artistic-creative part. These two parts are not separate, but enter into a complementary relationship with each other. Consequently, the research-based structure of the artistic-creative part and the artistic-creative inspiration of the theoretical work become evident.

In keeping with two-thirds/one-third division, doctoral students are supervised by two professors from scientific/theoretical fields of teaching and one professor from the artistic-creative fields of teaching.

Departing from the 50/50 models, HfG Offenbach acts on the premise that a focus on science and research work is indispensable and adopts a two-thirds/one-third model​. This is the only way that students have good prospects of obtaining the skills needed for fields of work at universities, art universities, or in the curatorial or journalistic fields.

Doctoral studies at HfG Offenbach

  • Complementary studies for doctoral candidates: three years, from the spectrum of scientific/theoretical subjects, complementing the respective research projects
  • Doctoral colloquiums: on a regular basis​
  • Supervision for doctoral students: by a specially appointed mentor​
  • Studio and library study areas: at HfG Offenbach for all doctoral students

Study requirements

In order to be accepted as a doctoral student candidates must generally have completed studies and gained either a Diplom, Magister Artium, Master of Arts or first degree in a scientific or artistic-creative course of studies at a university or art university.
Selected candidates must present their doctoral project to the doctoral committee at HfG Offenbach.

Positions for doctoral students

The university has set up three (Art) and two (Design) part-time research assistant posts, each of which is to be filled for three years by doctoral students at HfG Offenbach.

Promotion

Application process for doctoral studies

If you are interested please send the following:

Application documents

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • if applicable, list of publications
  • indication of language skills
  • copies of all relevant qualifications
  • if applicable, artistic/creative portfolio

and an approx. ten-page research outline containing a

  • brief explanation why the Offenbach Ph.D. model is especially appropriate for your particular project
  • detailed project description (approx. 7 pages, common formatting)
  • study plan (approx. 0,5 page)
  • bibliography on the research topic (approx. 2 pages)

in digital form to

Hehn-Chu Ahn, promovieren@hfg-offenbach.de

Should you not be able to send us your portfolio in digital form then we would ask that you mark the package carefully with your name and details and send it by post to:

Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach

– Reference: Promovieren –

Schlossstrasse 31

63065 Offenbach/Main

We would ask you to understand that we can only accept application documents in a digital format.

The next application deadline is May 17, 2019.

Art and Media Studies

In keeping with the four theoretical subjects of the School of Art relevant to the doctoral degree

the term »Art and Media Studies« covers various options. For example, the scientific part of the dissertation can both concentrate on the subject areas and methods of just one of the subjects listed above (see the description of these subjects) and combine these subjects; ultimately it is possible to combine them with one of the two scientific/theoretical subjects of the School of Design.

However, in keeping both with the context of an art university and with the special fusion of science/theory and artistic-creative practice in line with the Offenbach Model, the focus is decidedly on the Modern Age through to the present day, and the spectrum of subjects involved would suggest systematic and interdisciplinary issues. Moreover, as students are required to combine them with one of the artistic-creative subjects from Visual Communication, research topics also tend to reflect the types of arts and media taught in Offenbach.

»Art and Media Studies« questions the reasons and motives of the more recent development of art and media production, their typologies, ways of dealing with them, social functions, dependencies and repercussions of more recent arts and media, and manners of perception in terms of both physiology/psychology and cultural theory/philosophy. Crossovers between free artistic work and applied design can be examined.

The specific meshing of theory and design after the Offenbach Model can also include transformations from the merely analytical recording of trends to initiating and helping shape developments with a promising future – say, in the framework of creative experimentation.

Design Studies

A doctoral degree in Design Studies aims at researching and expanding design theory and history, aesthetics and theory of perception, as well as cultural and technical theories. The focus of research is on the area of product language and product semantics. In particular, it encompasses research relevant to design in the field of aesthetics and semiotics (semantics and symbolism). In addition, how users handle products is proving to be an increasingly important field of research. Meaning develops both on a purely symbolic level and in everyday use. As such, interaction between people and objects represents a further field of research that is to be emphasized at HfG Offenbach.

Focusing on these research areas not only promises new insights into the constituent field of design studies, but also has repercussions on design education. This effectively links onto insights and previous research achieved at the university: In the 1980s an Offenbach approach to product language was developed, which has since attained great international renown and receives significant attention from the design research community.

While internationally the area of design research​ has already been institutionalized for some 20 years (university institutes, specialist congresses, expert associations), the process of establishing design research in Germany has only just begun. There is a growing need for a more scientific approach to design given that it has become ever more important in the context of more recent cultural, economic, social and technical developments. And this fact is being increasingly emphasized both by politicians and the business world, as well as by those training to become designers at universities and art academies.

Dissertations Themes

Fazil Akin

Products as a medium in a networked world

(School of Design)

The material world is an important area of research for product design. The way products influence our everyday lives or what forces are united in material entities are subjects that can open up new approaches for design practice. Objects can play an important role for us. They can influence how we act in certain situations. Dutch philosopher Peter Paul Verbeek (2005) cites the speed bump as an example: If a town would like cars to drive more slowly on a certain road the authorities could put up a sign, but a ‘physical’ object on the road is more effective. According to Verbeek this bump has a ‘material functionality’. In his actor-network theory Bruno Latour cites the Berlin key (1993) as another example of how objects influence our behaviour. Thanks to the design of this key it is impossible not to lock the door because the key remains in the lock if the door is not locked. The saying by Mark Twain that ‘if your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail,’ explains our relationship to objects (Haarmann, 2016).

With this view of objects, it is possible to see them as a ‘medium’. They can lead an existence between people and the world. Don Ihde’s (1990) theories about the connection between people and technologies also provide important information about what role products play in our everyday lives. If you consider products that are developed today you can see that technologies are increasingly combining to form new technologies. Luciano Floridi (2015) describes this phenomenon as ‘third-order technologies’. A world in which technologies communicate with one another is different from the earlier one in which people perceive the world through technologies.

In an environment in which products are networked with other objects and technologies, different criteria are needed as is a different attitude towards the design of such products. This project focuses above all on examining this network structure between products. It will also question the ‘in betweenness’ objects. Have objects always built up a network in which they merged with other objects or is this phenomenon a product of the digital age?

Floridi, L. (2015). Die 4. Revolution : Wie die Infosphäre unser Leben verändert. (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag).
Haarmann, A. (2016).
Zu einer kritischen Theorie des Social Design. In Julia-Constance Dissel (ed.), Design & Philosophie. (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag).
Ihde, D. (1990). Technology and The Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press).
Latour, B. (1991).
The Berlin Key or How to Do things with Words. In Paul Graves-Brown (ed.) Matter, Materiality and Modern Culture. (London: Routledge).
Verbeek, P. P. (2005). What things do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design. (Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press). 

Tutors

Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann

Prof. Peter Eckart

http://fazilakin.me

Unbenannt1

Unbenannt

Helge Aszmoneit

Design awards

A historical, critical study in a political, economic, societal and cultural context
(School of Design)

Today, bestowing awards on products and services for their good design is a standard instrument in the marketing mix. Design prizes, not to mention the form they take and the way they are organised, kindle strong emotions and are repeatedly the subject of controversy amongst the actors involved at their various levels. The emergence of design prizes coincided with the critical appraisal of them and you have to wonder what the criticism is based on: the awareness of corresponding historical models or romanticised expectations? This brings us to the fundamental question of this research project: What historical, cultural, economic and social conditions have influenced, shaped and altered the motivation, production, levels of meaning, evaluation criteria and functions of design prizes?

To date, nobody has conducted a thorough analysis that places design awards in this context. The only exception to this is the special show and prize “Die gute Form” (Good Design) from Switzerland (1949-1968), which has been the subject of intensive analysis.[1] In the case of other awards or design prizes efforts focus only on providing excerpts of their history. Arguably the best-known design awards (and some of them exist to this day) hark back to the 1950s. But the aim is also to examine the nature of product awards that date back further still and ultimately begin with industrialization, which is where the academic study of design history tends to start: How are we to evaluate the prizes awarded at the world exhibitions and the triennials in Milan? How did sample shows at trade fairs, museum sample exhibitions, public sample shows, product knowledge and sample books contribute to informing and providing guidance for trade, the consumer and industry prior to 1950?

Following an in-depth analysis of the artistic assessment of products light will be shed on the linkages, development and significance of selected design prizes. Jurors rely on certain evaluation criteria as a basis on which to select products for a prize. Having such criteria in place suggests the design achievement is subject to an objective appraisal. But how is such an evaluation process conducted, what are the underlying conditions? Which criteria were applied when and in what competition? And why are design prizes with their respective evaluation criteria always also a reflection of how design is conceived in a specific time?

[1] Erni, Peter: Die gute Form. Eine Aktion des Schweizerischen Werkbundes. Dokumentation und Interpretation. (Baden, 1983)

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Prof. Peter Eckart

Felix Bröcker

The imaginary restaurant

Visual presentation strategies in art and cuisine
(School of Art)

Food is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives. Political discussions are conducted on health, sustainability, consumer protection and styles of nutrition; simultaneously, food defines enjoyment-oriented leisure activities as evidenced by the variety of offering on the topic such as food weeks, food festivals, culinary fairs and new or revived market halls and farmers markets. In addition, magazines, TV shows and online media testify to the great interest in food and cooking.

This social relevance is also reflected in the scientific and artistic focus on the topic. Artists and exhibitions comment on the trend and are themselves part of the phenomenon: In 2015, Art Basel engaged Rirkrit Tiravanija to serve Thai curry to visitors. For the Expo in Milan that same year, which went by the title Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, Germano Celant curated the exhibition Arts + Foods: It addressed connections between cuisine, art and design.

While the use of food has established itself as part of artistic practice in Eat Art or in performative eating situations, an academic examination has not yet been conducted of the food served by cooks and artists or the complex significance of something located between art and everyday life. The focus of this doctoral project is to close this gap and grasp food as a creative medium with a logic of its own and situated between the twin poles of art and the everyday, cuisine and design. By judging food not just in terms of a purely culinary appraisal it becomes possible to discuss it on a creative and stylistic level. The visual dimension of food can then be comprehended as a medium of expression that can be analysed and placed within a historical context.

In addition, the overall conditions for how food is presented are analysed. This is complemented by gastronomic and art historical knowledge so as to understand special aspects of the serving situation. This applies in particular to the importance of the room and the eating situation, which through the interaction of the players involved resembles a performance.

​Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Christian Janecke

Prof. Heiner Blum

felix-broecker.de

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Sophiethurs1

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Helene Deutsch

On humour in contemporary art

(School of Art)

On repeated occasions, artistic works make us smile, laugh or grin. And though it may seem paradoxical at first sight it is often precisely those works that have a bitterly serious context. This mingling of elements of the serious and nonserious produces a specific mixture of emotions that can be described by the term humour.

Essentially, a humorous encounter can only develop from circumstances that trigger sensations such as embarrassment, hurt or sadness. Only humour is capable of defying the unfortunate situation, adding a portion of fun to the negative feelings and removing some of the heaviness from the suffering sustained. It is this protective element that distinguishes the phenomenon of humour from its associated manifestations of the funny such as the joke, wit, comedy, the various forms of irony, parody, cynicism or satire, which can also serve as an expression of aggression. Yet humour is intricately bound up with the various forms of the comic – on the one hand, it is only through harmless manifestation of the comic and wit that humour is able to express itself, on the other it is impressively capable of preparing the ground for the development of widely varying phenomena of the funny. So in order to grasp the specific humourist achievement in its method and impact it always needs to be considered embedded in the complex of the comic.

Since it requires a humourist achievement, in other words a preceding discomfort, the artistic positions to be examined as part of this project are those that respond to problematic situations triggering negative emotions. In the process those artistic products appear interesting that are not limited to the context of private concern, but rather reach out to the socio-political trends of their time and consequently are capable of claiming they are critical of the age. As such, though seldom recognisable at first sight the choice of positions to be examined will always focus on art that we would describe as operating within the field of social criticism. The fact that the selection is made up of contemporary art is due to the fact that what is considered funny always depends on its contemporaneity, in other words temporal proximity ensures it is easier to observe and appreciate.

On the one hand the intention will be, taking the example of the artistic works, to elaborate on the use of humour as an aesthetic strategy, on the other the focus will be on examining the humour-related form of attention generated by employing this strategic method. The aim is based on the resulting findings to develop a theory of humour in the domain of the aesthetic, while the focus lies on the question of a possible subversive potential of humour with regard to societal processes.

www.studios.basis-frankfurt.de/user/Hdeutsch

Tutors
​Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisc
​Prof. Susanne Winterling

Emojis

Deborah Enzmann

Colon, hyphen, bracket

A semiotic and cultural theory analysis
(School of Art)

They sob, laugh, wink, stick out their tongues or roll their eyes. Emojis, the colourful ideograms and smileys were created in the 1990s in Japan and are omnipresent. Meanwhile, they have become part of everyday communication and essential to millions of people who use symbols when communicating. 

The symbols from computer mediated communication (CMC) became socially acceptable with the emergence and spreading of “chats”. The desire for grapholistic instruments that would complement the standard system of characters and compensate for the lack of paralinguistic and non-verbal means of expression in the written language did not, however, coincide with the emergence of the CMC. Attempts to compensate for such shortcomings range from symbols for irony, indignation or to label a rhetorical question through to systems that enable authors to express emotions. 

Similarly, iconically motivated constellations of characters formed from punctuation marks were developed long before CMC. It was the emergence of digital communication systems and the use of ASCII symbols that helped emoticons achieve their breakthrough. A facial expression rotated by 90° that was intended to avoid misunderstandings soon produced a colourful, varied world of characters that is now much more than a substitute for the lack of paralinguistic and non-verbal means of expression in writing.

The project will juxtapose the functions of CMC characters and their use with the formal development of the symbols and analyse their historical development. What is planned is a multidimensional analysis of the development of CMC characters from a semiotic, graphic, historical and cultural perspective.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Marc Ries

Prof. Klaus Hesse

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Michaela Filla-Raquin

Gebert gestalt 1

Gestalt 1

Other-worldly things. Photography, New Objectivity and relationship to the world

Ulrich Gebert

Gebert gestalt 2

Gestalt 2

Other-worldly things. Photography, New Objectivity and relationship to the world

Ulrich Gebert

Ulrich Gebert

Other-worldly things. Photography, New Objectivity and relationship to the world

(School of Art)

Photography’s relationship to the world only seems simple as first glance. Photographic theory has followed many a trail, only to end – in most cases – with the metaphor of the vestige. And yet, after almost 200 years of photographic practice, evidence of a dilemma, an uneasiness, something inexplicable, eerie, sometimes even magical can be found in works and theoretical approaches equally: the perceived otherness of photography. 

Students explore the abstracting effect of photography by looking at the example of New Objectivity in photography. The objective and subjective aspects of the medium are critically examined in order for students to gain a contemporary understanding of photographic relations to the world. Here, classic texts on phenomenology as well as later philosophical interpretations of the medium (Francois Laruelle’s concept of non-photography in particular) will be called upon.

The programmatic failure of New Objectivity in photography, which sought its media specifics in the emphasis on objectivity, can be given a productive aspect with a view to the abstracting qualities of photography. It is precisely through its (unintended) ability to present things as being not closer to us, but strangely distant, that a fundamental virtue of photography is revealed, whose allusions reach beyond notions of world, subject and object.

www.klemms-berlin.com/de/ulrichgebert

Tutor:

Prof. Juliane Rebentisch

  • Konferenz

    Conference »Differenzen bezeichnen – Zur Gesellschaft des Designs«

    Offenbach, 2013

    San­dra Groll

  • Konferenzdiskus

  • Konferenzred

Conference »Differenzen bezeichnen – Zur Gesellschaft des Designs«

Offenbach, 2013

San­dra Groll

Sandra Groll

Serial Aesthetics. A design theoretical study on the social function of design

(School of Design)

Design is always also the design of society. It models the objects in our environment by giving them their shape, and shapes the visual self-conception of society as a perceived phenomenon – and in all this, it remains entirely founded in the structures of the society in question. It is precisely this fascinating relationship that needs to be adequately described.

The culturally relevant aspect of design is to be conceived not just in a continuous improvement of individual artefacts for the benefit of the consumer or producer, but equally in its function of making communication within a society possible. Thinking about design then has to mean not merely understanding it in terms of shaping, production, consumers’ desires or market requirements, but rather understanding it in terms of the evolution of the society determining it.

Design theory should be able to place both fundamental social conditions as well as individual phenomena specific to the discipline in a coherent correlation and provide explanatory models. As a social phenomenon among others, design as a discipline, job description and promise did not emerge from a culturally void context, but is rather contingent upon social developments through which its specific cultural function is differentiated.
According to the hypothesis, this function is not to be seen merely in the specific shape of objects or the provision in the discursive context of various design principles or aesthetic seduction motifs, but starts by grounding this cultural function in its topical, temporal and practical orientation in light of the demands made by all kinds of inter-penetrative relationships in social systems.

These reflections are in no way meant to lead to the conclusion that the classic questions and topics of design become irrelevant in theoretical examination, rather, they have to be reclaimed against the backdrop of a theory of social systems.

The underlying hypothesis assumes that design can be described, on the one hand, as a system of social functions with specific processes, discourses and modes of operation, and on the other as a symbolically generalized communication medium. The evolution and future of this system can thus only be comprehended against the backdrop of the evolution of the social system it is dependent upon. Consequently, the theoretical frame of reference will be provided by social systems theory.

The complex manifestations of design point to an object whose fuzzy edges make it hard to grasp. It will be necessary to differentiate between those phenomena that can be counted among the subsystem of design and those which must be counted as phenomena of design as a symbolically generalized communication medium.

www.sgroll.de

Tutors:

Prof. Hans Zitko

Prof. Bernhard E. Bürdek

Prof. Frank Georg Zebner

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Dominik Gussmann

The poetry of translation

A theory of contemporary prints from the viewpoint of image tranmission
(School of Art)

From about the 1960s onwards the concept of what was described as an original or fine art print was considerably expanded and the process continues to this day. It was the era when in addition to the classic printing techniques, artists began to employ industrial methods such as silk-screening and offset printing. They resorted to them not only as a means of reproduction under the influence of the art print, but because of the specific characteristics of these printing methods such as the normative quality of the print raster. How does this situation compare to today’s practice? As these industrial methods became outdated their use in and significance for the field of conceptual fine art prints has declined.

However, aside from these techniques a form of print developed that subverts the claim of so-called artist or original prints. Such prints were promoted above all in the 20th century by art historian Walter Koschatzky; they are characterized by the fact that the artist not only produces the printing block but also its design, and then has to engrave the copper plate, cut the wooden block, etch the grid plate, and ideally even carry out the actual process of printing. However, this orthodox view also excludes the expansion of printing processes say through the creation of digital images and photochemical image transmission. My research focuses precisely on these forms of printing that fall within this expanded concept and are no longer included in the classic concept of fine prints.

The common element shared by the relevant printing positions is what I shall describe as the poetry of translation. In this context poetry in the proper sense means the creatve element that only comes about through the process of translation and is applied here to visual forms of image transmission. An analysis of these varying forms of translation will be conducted using different positions in contemporary fine printing, which are to be compared with regard to the language inherent to the respective printing medium. Current examples are the woodcuts by Christiane Baumgartner, which are informed both by photographs from newspapers, but also stills from her video works. Baumgartner uses a computer to cut up these source images into a horizontal grid of lines that she subsequently transfers to a wooden block, before in a process taking several months cutting out the non-printing sections by hand. This produces the actual printing block from which in a final stage Baumgartner’s woodcuts are printed. (800) Parallel to the analysis of exemplary works by contemporary artists another focus of my research is directed at historical pieces by so-called reproduction artists like Marcantonio Raimondi and Cornelis Cort. By examining the copperplate prints I shall highlight an historical position that is not restricted to the slavish reproduction of a previous design and is instead characterized above all by a particularly intelligent translation. From a current perspective the works by Marcantonio and Claude Mellans cast an anticipatory and informative light on contemporary forms of printing, which in a very similar manner create autonomous works through a wide variety of strategies.

www.dominikgussmann.de

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Susanne Winterling

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Falk Haberkorn

An experiment on the gesture of photographing

(School of Art)

The old question “What is photography?” must constantly be repeated. In the 180-year history of photographic theory answers were found whose validity was determined by the respective historical state of the techniques, processes and uses but above all by the social conditions under which the photographs had a function and impact.

That is no different today. As such, the history of the reception of photography is only one of the many chapters of Modernity. The question about the (ontological, social, media etc.) position of photography becomes ever more compelling, something that is doubtless due to the medium’s exponential expansion in the digital age and its penetration into all areas of our lives; this not only alters our concept of images, but perhaps even fundamentally changes how we perceive things (or so the pessimistic strand of cultural critique claims) so that seemingly only the aesthetic experience addresses the pertinent epistemological and moral issues.

Not only are we hardly able to gauge what long-term repercussions digitisation will have for our society, we are equally not in a position to understand the impact of something that seems like the most natural thing in the world to us today (but which we could not have conceived of even in our wildest dreams 200 years ago): We succumb to the impact of technical images at every turn without seeing the reason. The fact that on Facebook alone (currently) around 250 million images are uploaded every day is a clear indication that we have a strong need for these images (be it their production or their consumption). But why is that the case – where does this need for technical images and our identification with its technology stem from: That is the basic question that still requires clarification, and also the zero point or starting point for a contemporary criticism of the technological image. As the first historical image, the photograph is as it were the archetype of the digital image and to quote Roland Barthes, a “completely new, anthropologically new” image. If you now accept image representation (mimesis) as one of the anthropological constants per se then an “anthropologically new”, in other words, non-mimetic image produces a deep fissure whose darkness conceals what photography brings about. It will not be possible to throw sufficient light on this darkness within the framework of his dissertation. However, an effort at least needs to be made; otherwise even the right question would not be properly formulated.

Consequently, the project will approach the problem from two diametrically opposite points, which are present in the title (borrowed from Vilém Flusser) and whose alleged dichotomy needs to be established: from the “photographic” and the “gestural”. The latter will be interpreted as the matrix of imagery per se – as the physical residuum of mimesis. Sharing Roland Barthes’ view this will be juxtaposed, with the technical image (notwithstanding its many varieties) as a totally “new” image, i.e., as an image form sui generis. This poses the question as to whether the “anthropologically new” image can still be considered an image and what consequences this would have – or already has. In search of an answer there will be no avoiding venturing a little into the aforementioned darkness, beginning with a short passage of Walter Benjamin, before continuing on a path already prepared in psychoanalytical terms by Christoph Türcke, carefully feeling our way towards the phylogenesis of the “anthropologically old” image, which would then allow an ex negativo outline of several aspects of the ontology of photography that is so often debated and yet equally frequently its validity questioned. That would not be productive if the sociological component were not taken into account. And yet for all the diversity of intentions and usage, the images and their purposes it is possible to find a common denominator for all photographic acts and all photographs: namely the recording. It is hoped that via the ambiguous term of “recording”, (of “being recorded” and of “having been recorded” it will be possible to provide social psychological arguments to substantiate what would otherwise remain ontological speculation.

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Eleonora Herder

IN SITU] - Situative Artistic Action as Resistant Practice

(School of Art)

The dissertation project comprises an interdisciplinary investigation at the interface of performance studies and spatial sociology. It examines artistic processes in public space that oscillate between scenic assembly and urban intervention.

Since the 1990s, a social, situational and above all scenic art form has developed in both the visual arts and the free theatre scene, the spatial terminology of which this dissertation seeks to differentiate. It is questioned with which social space categories the contemporary performance works operate and how these determine the aesthetic character of the works on an infrastructural production level. When does an artistic work in public space overcome more than just the physical space of the institution? When is it not only site-specific, but also situational? Which institutional conditions of production and which cultural-political demands result from such working methods? And what does the urban localization of artistic production mean for the transnational space of globally active contemporary art? Does this create a friction surface?

So far, the connection between production aesthetic theory formation and spatial sociological theory has not been very pronounced. In fact, however, site-specific performance works are particularly suitable as a focal point for a socio-spatial analysis of the production conditions of contemporary art, since in them the topographical, social and atmospheric space overlap and interact with one another. 

The artistic research project focuses on their own curatorial practice: the site-specific performance festival IMPLANTIEREN.

www.andpartnersincrime.org

Tutor:
​Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

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    © Christian Schuller

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Tourette

Aprés une Architecture

From the serie »Aprés une Architecture«, 2012 - 2014, C-Prints

Margret Hoppe

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Aprés une Architecture

From the serie »Aprés une Architecture«, 2012 - 2014, C-Prints

Margret Hoppe

  • Expo essen 1

    Was war und was ist

    Installation view »Was war und was ist«, Museum Folkwang Essen, 2014

    Mar­g­ret Hop­pe

  • Expo essen 2

Was war und was ist

Installation view »Was war und was ist«, Museum Folkwang Essen, 2014

Mar­g­ret Hop­pe

Margret Hoppe

The photographer’s architect – on the relationship between the photographs of Lucien Hervé and the architecture of Le Corbusier

(School of Art)

The collaboration between photographer Lucien Hervé and architect Le Corbusier lasted for almost 20 years. Hervé was Hungarian and emigrated to Paris in 1929. Le Corbusier, real name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, was born in Switzerland in 1887 and moved to Paris in 1917. Lucien Hervé worked with the Swiss architect from 1949 until Le Corbusier’s death in 1965.

I want to explore the reciprocal relationship between architecture and photography in the theoretical part of my doctoral studies entitled »The photographer’s architect – on the relationship between the photographs of Lucien Hervé and the architecture of Le Corbusier«. By looking at the relationship between photographer Lucien Hervé and architect Le Corbusier, I aim to investigate to what extent photography influences architecture and vice versa. As Le Corbusier’s work has already been extensively analyzed in an art-historical context, the focus of my thesis will be on the photographs by Lucien Hervé. Despite architecture being internationally disseminated and received via the depiction and reproduction made possible by the medium of photography, the photographer is often overshadowed by the architect. And so, the work of Le Corbusier is internationally acclaimed while Lucien Hervé’s photographs have primarily been acknowledged in France, where the Lucien Hervé Foundation is based. Hervé was awarded the Grand Prix de la Photographie de la Ville de Paris there in 2000.

Looking at short biographies and publications, we can imagine just how intense the relationship between Hervé and Le Corbusier must have been. The first time Hervé worked for Le Corbusier in 1949, photographing the Unité d’habitation in Marseille, he took 650 photographs in one day. After Le Corbusier had inspected the photos, he wrote to Hervé: »You have the soul of an architect and know how to look at architecture. Be my photographer«.

In the last two years I have developed the series »Aprés une Architecture« as the practical part of my doctorate. It can be read as an homage to Lucien Hervé and Le Corbusier, or to the special relationship between architecture and photography. The series shows photographic perspectives on Le Corbusier’s architecture that demonstrate his idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Its title references Le Corbusier’s »Vers une Architecture«, published in 1923, in which he poses fundamental questions on the modernity of construction, challenging the traditional views on architecture held at the time. The question of what remains of the visions for modern building today is pertinent in this context, as this kind of architecture is now seen as monumental rather than functional. Here, photography is not merely architectural documentation, but transforms the structures on the surface of the photograph into a sign that exhibits painterly and sculptural elements in its aesthetic – showing us the many perspectives in reading Le Corbusier’s work today.

www.margrethoppe.com

Tutors:

Prof. Marc Ries

Prof. Martin Liebscher

Kersten kunst landwirtschaft kultivator ausstellungsansicht hungry city foto thomas bruns

Hungry City

Exhibition view, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2012

Foto: Thomas Bruns

Kersten kunst landwirtschaft ausstellungsansicht hungry city  foto thomas bruns

Hungry City

Exhibition view, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2012

Foto: Thomas Bruns

Kersten kunst landwirtschaft asa sonjasdotter ausstellungsansicht hungry city foto thomas bruns

Hungry City

Exhibition view, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2012

Foto: Thomas Bruns

Anne Kersten

Sowing and harvesting – strategies, intentions and effects of contemporary art in the agricultural sector

(School of Art)

Since the mid-2000s, artistic and curatorial practices have increasingly been engaging with the rural sphere and agricultural practices. Artists are addressing the sociocultural context of rural living environments, the culture of farming and its economic conditions today and in the past as well as new forms of agriculture and rural life. From an art-historical perspective, references can be made to almost all subject areas of contemporary art focusing on the relationship between man and nature, for example art & ecology, environmental art and landscape painting. These creative projects are gaining attention as politically driven art through their close connection to pressing sociopolitical questions concerning food production and consumption and global food supply. Many of these works are made with the participation of members of the rural community and can be categorized as socially engaged art, some document existing circumstances, and in yet others artists turn farmers themselves. The research project »Sowing and harvesting« aims to investigate these different artistic strategies in view of their sociopolitical concerns and their effects by looking at selected international art projects with a focus on agricultural topics in the city and countryside. This categorization is to include various questions on participation, reception or results with regard to producers, organizers, participants and viewers. Further, larger curatorial projects are to be examined in terms of their intentions in promoting art projects in rural contexts as well as their promotion of this context as a starting point for artistic work. It is precisely the distance of the subject of agriculture to art that opens up a suitable exemplary space for investigating artistic work at the point of intersection between art and society. As well as defining the subject area, it is to be expected that the comparative analysis will be able to contribute to the debate on politically motivated art by citing specific examples in its examination of the relationship between art and agriculture. Parallel to the research being carried out, the exhibition »Hungry City« (Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin) was held in 2012 as the practical part of the doctorate.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Wolfgang Luy

Eidenbenzschriften 5134

Sarah Klein

Fundamentals of design

Graphic design education in Switzerland
(School of Art)

From the classic poster or the design of a ballot paper to the creation of a complex interface or an airport’s orientation system – visual design draws our attention, guides, informs, seduces or irritates us. It shapes our everyday lives and influences our behaviour. The disciplines of graphic design, communications design or visual communications critically address image and text-based communication, and develop or advance it. Straddling artistic expression and expert service provision, manipulation and social responsibility, science and the trade, models of education/training in these subjects tend to adopt different positions.

Ever since the institutionalisation of graphic design education in the early 20th century various designers have attempted (following the model of a written language) to compose a theory, binding rules and indeed even a grammar for visual communications. However, to date none of these attempts have succeeded in achieving unconditional validity. Retrospectively, these approaches were assigned to certain styles or epochs that the theorists sought to overcome.

Nonetheless, so the theory, in many cases comparable methods for teaching visual design were established. If you consider the basic courses during the first semesters down through the decades and institutions, certain exercises crop up again and again. In a series of exercises involving the elements dot, line and surface students practiced the fundamentals of design. Considered superficially all these exercises seem identical. But a closer examination reveals that the aims, methods and what the instructors deemed to be 'fundamental' did differ considerably.

In this project I address the development of graphic design education at the applied arts colleges in Switzerland and their international setting. My focus is on the design fundamentals. I examine and compare the technical, formal design and didactic aspects of the materials, tasks and projects the students had. By appraising the estates of instructors (that have not been previously studied) such as that of Hermann Eidenbenz I will access the very documents that the students used. The main focus is on the peripheral or even incomplete but widespread exercises and projects of students. Rather than concentrating on the great successes of a few individuals this approach permits a view of the development of graphic designs and its didactics, that challenges customary narratives.>

www.sarahklein.ch

www.sgdtr.ch

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Eidenbenzschriften 5131

Felix Kosok

Design, difference, democracy

A survey of the political in design with a critical view of its limitations
(School of Art)

In considering the political nature of design an approach that does not take design’s role as shaping the world we live in seriously leads to two possible positions. In the first case, design is something too superficial and fashionable to be understood as political. It has always been caught up in the market, helps boost sales and enhance a company’s identity. The second position shares this view but comes to a different conclusion. Those that hold this view namely see a radicalisation of design, a liberation from economic constraints as the only way that design as a discipline could become political. And they therefore call for a polarisation of aesthetics or design, and justify this with similar arguments used elsewhere to warn again an aestheticisation of politics. Both positions overlook the potential that is actually inherent to the shaping of our everyday lifeworlds. After all, in a democratic society it is the things themselves – and especially designed objects – that by revealing how they have been designed point to how they can always potentially be shaped. By being realized as a certain difference from a number of options that is not finite but hard to define, design succeeds in inscribing our everyday lives with an awareness for contingency.

The aim of this research project is to describe this potential more precisely. Naturally, the realisation that things need not necessarily be designed as they are currently is not sufficient to develop the democratising potential of design. It requires a comprehensive understanding of design, which can be perceived as an alternative to its historical predecessors. In solving the problems of social inequality, the total design of Modernism opted for a functional design language that sought to visualise the essence of things in their design and consequently also to shape the fundamental essence of society. In the process functionalism, with its insistence on being universally valid, homogenised and limited the scope or design and society. By contrast, an open concept of design in the context of an understanding of democracy that is represented by a younger political philosophy has the potential to be more inclusive. A key aspect to this understanding of democracy is the difference between the political and politics.

The political battle for recognition and being included compels the institutions of politics to make repeated revisions and ever new justifications. By demonstrating this battle in everyday objects, design can ensure it remains in the public consciousness. However, this potential of design must be articulated in the various design disciplines. Moreover, the reservations towards this put forward by those who were mentioned initially as supporting the opposing position are unfounded. After all, if making things different is seen as an end in itself the potential is lost. If it does not matter what things look like as long as they are different then a certain difference is dialectically reversed to become a post-democratic indifference. This is the afore-mentioned limit that need to be critically considered in describing the potential.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Klaus Hesse

Felixkosok designdifferenzdemokratie
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Fabian Kragenings

Parameters of design

(School of Design)

A design is never finished. A product, on the other hand, has to be. A designer’s work consists of blending influencing factors in iteratively staggered versions and making creative decisions according to his or her individual judgement. To a large extent, decisions are then based on various factors relating, for example, to production, technology, politics or culture, and these are decisive for the shaping of a product in the context of its temporal production conditions. On the one hand, these parameters (Greek: para = Eng.: »side«, metron = Eng. »measurement«) provide the creative space and framework in which design takes place; on the other, and this is the guiding proposition of this doctoral project, they influence the act of designing itself. Design, as well as the thinking in and about design, has changed since the mid-20th century through the advent of computer-based, parametric programs. The possibility of entrusting a digital (calculation) medium with relevant design process components ultimately constitutes a gain in efficiency. However, within this development the influence of design activities must also be reinterpreted, as decisions are now being planned, provoked and evoked abstractly. Work being delegated in this way is leading to a meta-level of design evolving – the effects of which must also be considered. This paper stipulates that within such a framework of meta-effects, the designer must not lose sovereignty over the medium/the program. What is needed instead is a configuration of design that not only sets parameters and stipulates default values but also supplies a body of rules or guidelines connecting these – a body of rules in which relevant factors are coordinated in complex ways.

On which levels and to which degrees of effectiveness the parametric can be experienced is to be investigated further. An analysis of select historical examples will provide the necessary foundation for clarifying the characteristic aspects of the parametric and to finally apply these to product design. It can be assumed that parameters remain constant in each individual case only, but that they can be modified and re-evaluated in each new application. Parameters can be affiliated on the one hand with a certain dynamism and the fast-moving nature of designs and their diversification, on the other hand with a kind of consistency that is characterized by an evolutionary expansion in design activities.  

Parametrization processes can be found most notably in cases where seemingly mundane processes and behavioural patterns are understood in terms of information – finally also being mathematized. What is required here is a consistency, a basic form or a fundamentally secure platform, so that variance can even arise in the first place and lead to new results – which in turn may be rejected or followed up on. The parametric then does not distinguish itself merely through the erratic or seemingly arbitrary selection of new values and contents, but also through its evolutionary character while creating an impression of substantiality. The intricate interrelationships, in which these metric fields of tension exist, as well as the role of the designer subjected to these metrics, will be determined extensively in this doctoral project. Ultimately, the aim is to record new insights and forms of use for product design.

www.kragenings.com

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann

Prof. Frank Zebner

Thamesmead muehl hgb leipzig 1

Living at Thamesmead

Exhibition view, HGB Leipzig, 2015

Sebastian Mühl

Thamesmead muehl hgb leipzig 2

Living at Thamesmead

Exhibition view, HGB Leipzig, 2015

Sebastian Mühl

Sebastian Mühl

Concepts of utopia in contemporary art

(School of Art)

Utopia is today still a major topic of reflection in art. Concepts of utopia are points of reference for artistic practices which articulate a political self-image and they offer alignment as regards formulating political and aesthetic convictions in the relationship between art and society. Whereas an optimistic view of progress and presenting perspectives of emancipation were still essential for the cultural self-image of Modernism, in late-modern society there is often evidence of the disappearance or loss of an awareness of utopia. With the end of major narratives, the very legitimacy of utopian thought seems to be being questioned. Is art’s on-going interest in utopian designs a matter of compensatory reaction? A reflection on political content in an aesthetic medium? A strategic link between art and politics? The migration of utopia to aesthetic discourse and experience can neither be seen as totally new, nor as a phenomenon that is foreign to the terms art, aesthetics, and politics. It needs to be explored with regard to the relationship of each of the concepts to one another, and to the entanglement of different problems and objectives in the individual fields.

The dissertation aims to pursue the question of how utopia functions as a fundamental theme in how some forms of contemporary artistic practice see themselves. The perspectives adopted are extremely contradictory: from analytic references to the utopias of the historical avant-garde to empathic new formulations of political utopias in art activism, from the microtopias of “Relational Aesthetics” to critical art practices that insist on negativity of the aesthetic. In view of such competing approaches the utopia problem remains a slide, which must not only investigate the possibility at all, but also the systematic location of utopia between aesthetic and political deliberations.

Alongside a discussion of political and aesthetic concepts of utopia in the work of, among others Debord, Adorno, Badiou and Habermas, forms of artistic practice and the discourse accompanying them will be explored: the focus will be on the debates about participation and “Relational Aesthetics”, contemporary reception of Modernism, the paradigm of critical art and recent forms of politically committed, interventionist artistic practice. The analysis will clearly establish the relevant alternatives and subject the relationship between art, utopia, and politics to a reappraisal.

www.​sebastianmuehl.​org

Supervisors:

Prof. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Rotraut Pape

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    Memory (7 pairs)

    Long-term project

    Tanja Ost

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Memory (7 pairs)

Long-term project

Tanja Ost

  • Symposium 1936

    Halt. Lang­zeit­pro­jek­te in der Por­trät­fo­to­gra­fie

    Symposium 1936, Offenbach am Main, 2014

    Tania Ost

  • Symposium 1964

    Halt. Lang­zeit­pro­jek­te in der Por­trät­fo­to­gra­fie

    Sym­po­si­um 1964, Of­fen­bach am Main, 2014

    Ta­nia Ost

  • Symposium 1991

    Halt. Lang­zeit­pro­jek­te in der Por­trät­fo­to­gra­fie

    Sym­po­si­um 1991, Of­fen­bach am Main, 2014

    Ta­nia Ost

Halt. Lang­zeit­pro­jek­te in der Por­trät­fo­to­gra­fie

Symposium 1936, Offenbach am Main, 2014

Tania Ost

Tania Ost

Long-term projects in portrait photography

(School of Art)

Long-term projects accompany a subject for a prolonged period of time, though its length must be defined in relation to the motif depicted. In comparison with other projects, which likewise take a long time, the passing time itself becomes a topic. My particular interest is in portrait photography.

Long-term projects in portrait photography range from authenticity to orchestration: Depending on the intention, the photographer initially chooses a rigid concept, or allows an open outcome. As such, some long-term projects come close to a strict academic study. Whether or not, over time, the photographer becomes closer to the person or the latter grows in confidence with regard to media – the facial expression always ranges from natural to posed.

Only the collected works, not individual photographs, represent the actual oeuvre: Whereas with works comprising a single piece the question of arrangement can arise, with series in general and long-term projects in particular it must be addressed. The volume often exceeds the scope of or space available for an exhibition, thus presenting the curator with the task of making a selection. For this reason the catalog, which otherwise appears as a side product of an exhibition and serves as documentation, enjoys a special position in long-term portrait photography projects. While catalogs for the most part only reproduce parts of exhibitions, vice versa exhibitions only reproduce sections of a long-term project. An illustrated book is the only appropriate place for the complete series. In some cases, books such as these often precede public display in an exhibition context. Though, in comparison with the time it took to compile the collection, leafing through the book takes just a moment, it gives the subject a befitting intimacy, especially as the series of photos corresponds with the subject’s chronological development – the aging of the person portrayed. Photographers are increasingly also portraying family and friends – as family members are mostly always available, whereas other models always need a fixed appointment. This also raises the question of the extent to which these illustrated books differ from family albums.

The observer has no memories of the person portrayed: Within the series he looks for changes, or the constant in change and, on the basis of the individual snapshots, the implied time, and his own experience of life, creates an in-between narrative.

www.taniaost.com

Supervisors:

Prof. Hei­ner Blum

Prof. Dr. Chris­ti­an Ja­n­ecke

Prof. Klaus Hes­se Hes­se

Steffen Reiter

Material Computation

Material as medium
(School of Design)

Beginning with today’s technological options a move can be detected in the design process away from the traditional route of simply choosing the material and towards the design-initiated generation and manipulation of material. In other words, design methods already come into play in the development of the materials. This opens up diverse approaches on the macro, meso and micro-levels and in their overlap; these result from the properties specific to the respective materials and how they are processed especially by including the properties in the programming. After all, given the options provided by digital, parametric generative design tools and new computer-driven manufacturing technologies such as additive production methods it is conceivable to consider programmable, physical dynamic material (see 4D-printing, Voxel).

The divide between materials and the digital is becoming increasingly more porous – terms like (post-)digital materiality, physical computing or computational composites are the result of this new linkage of code and material. Consequently, materials act partly as software and can realise different functions depending on the programming code. Artefacts come about as the emergent agglomerations of specifically employed multi-dimensional “material pixels”.

One aspect of the project is to explore the question of how material systems can be programmed so that functions (actuator and sensor technology) can be specifically and precisely controlled and implemented. The role models here are not least of all structures and processes of self-organising biological systems. By controlling the embedding of information in a material structure self-active, adaptive properties can be produced in it effectively blurring the divide between artefact and organism. I will first examine the potential of this approach and then summarize the insights as regards theory formation. I shall then analyse selected examples from design history so as to highlight the nucleus of programmable materials. The results will be placed in relation to existing theories of human-object interaction with an emphasis on the material itself and its articulation.

Moreover, it is necessary to consider the design process within the aforementioned contexts; after all, how can designers, for example, represent dynamic and time-dependent material behaviour in static design drawings? The practical part of the project will involve generating designs and prototypes that serve as a basis and enable a reflection on human-object interaction using empirical methods with regard to current technologies and design processes but also the practical applications of mingling the digital and analogue. Based on this analysis I shall explore possible expansions and updates that do justice to the altered conditions with a view to modifying the theoretical models and complementing them with regard to materials.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Markus Holzbach

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Julia Rommel

Ubiquity – constituting space in the context of information and communications technologies

(School of Art)

Ubiquity is a kind of vision in practice, at once a concept and something which we live by in everyday life. A capacity for being in several places at the same time has positive connotations in our society, corresponding as it does to the ideal of a mobile, flexible and globally networked individual.

In the context of Euclidean space, so firmly anchored in the culture of our society, ubiquity appears an unattainable utopia as it presupposes a corresponding distribution of our bodies over several locations. To us humans, ubiquity would appear, in line with the theological origin of the term, an exclusively divine attribute. Nevertheless, presence, which cannot solely be defined by location, is practiced in everyday actions by transcending Euclidean space through our use of information and communications technologies, for example, when we see or hear another person located beyond the kind of distance covered by direct sensory perception.

When we contrast these two positions the question that arises is one of arrangement: What is it that is moving – the individual in space or the space around the individual? In order to allow for a discussion of this nature, a shift is required from the idea of absolute space to one of a relational kind. This makes it possible to focus on the presence of the individual who informs the description of a space. When we use technologies the result is different, often ambiguous qualities of presence. My objective is to investigate this nascent potential presence on the basis of Merleau-Ponty’s notion of body and his idea of differentiating between the body as a thing and the body as a functioning organism. Moreover, analyzing various forms of presence requires a precise investigation of the relationship between the individual and technology.

Within the framework of the tension between the logic of power and that of desire displayed by the media, ubiquity assumes the dimensions of a kind of vision in practice of concepts initiated by technology itself and those ways of acting by which the individual lives. Ambiguous presence is the result of using technology in a manner that has become routine, whereby we integrate technology into our self-perception without any concrete reflections on the subject.

On the basis of technology protocols (the documentation of personal experience of situations using different technologies), the principal aim of this dissertation is to analyze the transformation of this changed self-perception with a reference to space and the way that people communicating perceive one another. I also wish to highlight the consequences of this as the development of a cultural technology, a notion of space derived from self-perception and forms of social behavior that are established within this kind of space.

www.juliarommel.com

Tutor:

Prof. Marc Ries

Julia rommel

Documentation communication

Julia Rommel

Pia Scharf

Learning systems and the user interface

(School of Design)

The user interface is undergoing a dramatic change. Thanks to Industry 4.0 and owing to a universal networking of digital equipment designers are influencing the control of technical functions in technoid devices.

The classical interface that Peter Sloterdijk more recently understood as the “make-up” of machines – make-up because overly complex functions are reduced until the user has the feeling of being in charge (Peter Sloterdijk, “Der Welt über die Straße helfen”) is now a matter of debate. After all, technological developments have advanced far beyond the point where user input is necessary at all, even though this is down to a sophisticated simplification. From this point interfaces no longer function as an input box into which you make your entries line by line, gesture by gesture. Classic interfaces are giving way to technoid counterparts with new abilities to anticipate entries, set in motion automatic interaction chains and anticipate users’ decisions. Using artificial intelligent learning behaviours (or deep learning) (decision) structures will be formed that entail fundamental changes for interface design.

The new design task given the autonomously operating counterpart lies not so much in designing the interface as some ping-pong game played by the user making his entries, the processing of the device or subsequent display on its surface. Rather it is a matter of designing characteristics through which the technoid counterpart – in interplay with the user – reveals itself. After all, if the learning system processes on a continuous basis, then the interface can no longer be sequentially conceived. Where now in classic interface design a differentiation between display and control results from interplay with the user, in the future users and technoid counterpart will in principle operate simultaneously, in the final version even synchronously; in other words they will operate autonomously yet be perfectly attuned to one another –  providing we consider a best version of ‘deeper learning’ as possible in the foreseeable future. The consequence for the interface: it is no longer a needle’s eye through which communication from the bits & bytes-world is translated into the carbon world (and back). As the processes in the technoid counterpart run continuously and the user experiences his world continuously the interfaces will in future be assigned a completely new role. They will then serve less for the exchange of information and rather offer a means of sensitively comparing process chains. What is conceivable would be something similar to the ‘prestabilised harmony’ of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, in which “the soul [follows] its own laws, as does the body;” (Gottfried W. Leibniz, “Monadologie”), namely two fundamentally different entities that are attuned to one another so that they intermesh like the metaphorical clock movement. User and technoid counterpart do not pervade each other but are rather in a situation in which they stand next to each other as equals: It is not for nothing that “side by side” is the maxim for an industrial culture 4.0.

www.pia-scharf.de

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Prof. Frank G. Zebner

Benjamin Vogt

The line in design

(School of Design)

Forms of presentation in design are undergoing rapid change. This applies to the entire design process from the first sketch through to the model; everything is becoming more or less digital. Admittedly, when it comes to the basic procedures it is still the designer providing the necessary mental and physical powers, especially when it comes to the first dealings with a design. However, here the new media are already impacting on these first steps as well.

Tablets and touchscreens now compete with paper as mediums for drawing on. The divides between the physical and digital world are becoming increasingly blurred. This is especially evident in CAD programs or design procedures in virtual reality. Although VR goggles rely on two-dimensional displays for displaying a design, the user is given the impression of three-dimensionality and can even interact on this level. One result of such interaction will be to make it increasingly difficult to conclusively separate the input by the human and that by the machine. This makes it all the more important to consider how a digital model is generated from that initial idea and the classic quick sketch. How will the leap into the new medium be possible? What transformations are necessary? And how will the nature of design alter at the interface of such a transition? The project will explore this issue using the topic of the line as an example, because it is the classic starting point for realising any idea. By examining how the line is transferred from the drawing to a new digital model it must be possible to clarify fundamental questions. And it can be assumed that it is too simplistic to assume simple correlations ­ and that you have to ask what form of configuration and calculation can be made responsible for the development of three-dimensionality.

In methodological terms the project will draw on the academic knowledge about line in art and architecture. The aim is to relate this to the specific requirements of design. Classic methods and techniques will encounter the prerequisites for cutting-edge digital drawing programs. So ultimately the key question for the dissertation project is: What happens to the line when it is translated from the drawing into a model? What set of rules is necessary, and how can we better reappraise the nature of the line and perhaps even understand it better in light of its new mathematical spin?

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Prof. Frank Georg Zebner

Adrian Williams

The Horse’s Mouth: Unmasking the Vocal Surrogate

(School of Art)

“Don’t punish the messenger!” is a call to consider that the bearer of bad tidings and its author need not be one and the same person. The messenger is effectively a vocal surrogate. Using a relationship analysis of content and source of a piece of language information my research will provide a definition of the vocal surrogate and its characteristics and functions in contemporary artworks. 

From Sharon Hayes’ hour-long performances of all the speeches of Ronald Reagan “Addresses to the Nation” (vocal repossession) through to Mark Wallinger’s racehorse “A Real Work of Art” (vocal squatting) my aim is explore the difference between what is said and what is ultimately perceived. In the same way that voice is an expression of our human will the vocal surrogate enables us to discover who or possibly what is behind the message transferred by the voice.

This research does not represent a complete catalogue of contemporary artists whose work focuses on the human voice, nor do I attempt to develop an encyclopaedia that unites all ideas and theories on vocal surrogacy. Rather my intention is for “the tooling of the tool itself” be perceived as an independent research topic.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

Maria Fusco

Windelberg kabinette 1screeningreihe

Das Zeigen zeigen (Showing the showing)

Series of screenings I of IV: Temporal transformations

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Hanging Cronus

Windelberg kabinette 3screeningreihe

Das Zeigen zeigen (Showing the showing)

Series of screenings II of IV: Power/knowledge

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Universal museum

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Museum café

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Das Zeigen zeigen (Showing the showing)

Series of screenings III of IV: Criticism of elitist institutions

Windelberg kabinette 7label

Excerpt from a critical text at the entrance to the room

Mathias Windelberg

Cabinets of showing

Institutional critique in expanded cinema
Expanded cinema in institutional critique

Faculty Visual Communication

My art dissertation will deal with the relationship between exhibiting in the museum context and contemporary video art that takes a critical stance on the practices of exhibiting. A particular focus will be on necessary transformations of museums into artists’ films and on media differences and the resulting possibilities for exhibition films.

To this end, in a first historical thread reference is made to expanded cinema – by this term art theorists normally mean those forms of cinema and film which were appropriated by artists as of around 1960 and which, after undergoing transformations, subsequently found their way into exhibition halls. It was now not only the case that black boxes with projection screen(s) achieved the status of new media, locations or conventions in showing. Indeed, the cinematographic installation itself quickly became established as an autonomous work of art in the perception of the critics.

For my investigations I will also refer to a second discourse pertaining to the historical theory of art, one which has to date been seen as independent of that on expanded cinema: likewise as of the 1960s artists also enabled galleries and museums to rediscover their roots within artworks. Convinced that the context of an artwork always influences its reception, they started by questioning the conditions in exhibition halls. They rapidly turned their attention to reflections on the way that the different art institutions function. Strategies, presuppositions and mechanisms of inclusion or exclusion, in short, the practices of exhibiting also became the subject of the works they produced, works that were often conceptual in nature. In these, the artists displayed an emancipatory potential, distorting and expanding the mechanisms of display and questioning existing boundaries. This critical discourse on methods of artistic procedure in the public eye is subsumed in the expression institutional critique.

However, nowadays something remarkable appears to be happening. For around a decade now, the term institutional critique has been extended to include expanded cinema; in other words, those works of art that are only transformed into moving pictures through the power of the imagination and the sluggishness of our retinas in what is in fact a particularly intimate relationship between recipient and screen(s) in a darkened room. This does not at all negate or even represent the end of the expansion of the cinematographic into art and its appropriation by it. New and interesting works of video art are repeatedly being presented and nowadays even being shown in cinemas. Alongside this there are countless useful kinds of film also relating to museums – trailers, documentaries, feature films and educational films. Not all of these by any means question the locations, conditions and conventions of the way that they themselves are exhibited following in the tradition of institutional critique. For my part, I do not wish to make any demands of the kind on any work. Here however, the focus will be exclusively on that glittering fragment from the great treasure trove of cinematographic art that links both narratives, namely institutional critique and expanded cinema. Released from the original function of film (conveying advertising messages, representing an entertainment medium or teaching material) in exhibitions, works of cinematographic art had become a medium of self-reflection at exhibitions. Accordingly, the subject of my investigations at the point of intersection between the museum, art and film presents itself as expanded cinema in/as a form of institutional critique. With this in mind, I am conducting my investigations on the basis of five contemporary case studies. I will be looking at the following exhibition halls: MMK Frankfurt, Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, Wilberforce House Hull, the Archaeological Museum of Lavrion and the Numismatic Museum of Athens. The corresponding artists’ films are by Danica Dakic, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Isaac Julien, Anja Kirschner and David Panos.

I will be conducting a comparative analysis of these cinematographic artworks with the aim of examining whether shifts or transformations have occurred at the museums, whether there have been any noticeable mutual effects or influences. Findings will be interpreted in terms of consequences with regard to museum policies. However, it is definitely not my intention to land a crushing blow to the institution of museums as such at the end of this institutional critique of the kind sometimes to be observed in pessimistic readings as the »assimilation of critical work or institutionalization of criticism«. On the contrary, usually the museums themselves, in what is very much an open and often supportive gesture, are both the sponsors of and the projection locations for the works investigated. The institutions’ attentiveness to the kind of critical comments expressed in the works of art to be discussed can thus be seen as a sign of progress. The museums deserve credit for the fact that they collect and sort even criticism of their function and make this available to the public in the form of exhibits without displaying any commercial interest.

www.mwindelberg.com

Tutors:

Prof. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Rotraut Pape

Tai Zheng

Made in China

Mimicry as a design strategy in the post-colonial modern age – cultural & aesthetic hybridisation in China

German engineering art was not always the best in the world. In fact, before the 20th century German manufacturing was described as lacking in substance and taste, cheap and an unworthy copy of the original British art of engineering. And indeed, the designation Made in Germany was originally introduced in England to mark German products as cheap ones. This motivated the formation of a design consortium known as Deutsche Werksbund (DWB), a lobby group that took on the task of improving the poor image of German design. The results were astounding: Design standards were introduced across industries and within the space of around 20 years objects such as stairs, ball bearings, windows or handrails were standardised and intelligently designed. This collaboration between art, industry and craftsmanship led to a reform of German design, and not only did the image of German products improve drastically, but also the image of Germany as a whole! Today, the designation “Made in Germany” continues to be the epitome of good quality and design.

Is the term Made in China possibly undergoing a similar development? This question forms the basis of his project. This requires a macroscopic analysis from both a design and a cultural perspective but also a cultural one. Philosophic, art-specific and historical research about China’s imitation behaviour, the parallels to the west and a comparison of both perspectives will form the core of this dissertation project. The aim is to examine the cultural and aesthetic development of China as a response to (post-)colonialism with the help of the cultural science term “mimicry”. Specifically, I will examine to what extent this imitation behaviour can be attributed to a post-colonial adaptive reaction. Apart from the western colonialist interventions you must naturally also consider China’s own dynamic development such as the cultural revolution, in order to understand the various influences on Chinese designers.

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PhDs

Florian Arnold

Florian Arnold

Logic of design

(School of Design)

The current concept of the design process is dominated by two myths. On the one hand, the designer as a genius, who relies simply on inspiration, rather like an artist, and on the other the designer as an engineer of a communicative automatism. Both concepts are extremes because they distort our view of the actual design procedure by either romanticising it or overemphasizing its cybernetic nature while the actor or designer appears in the one case to be a black box and in the other a glass box of research – and is accordingly simply dehumanised in a contrary manner to a design medium. To counteract these common views what is needed today are methodological ideas that understand designing as an independent and specific creative shaping of items and do so against the background of a special understanding of the world that is simultaneously universal. Design is consequently embedded in an environment of designs as are already conceived or realised in the social framework disciplines of technology/ethics/politics and not least of all culture. This internal relationship between object design and world views can be methodically pursued and formulated. Consequently, a design logic is to be evolved in which the practical execution of human environmental design is part of critical imagination that drives it as a whole. This design logic is less concerned with individual ideas and items and more with the manner in which objects in the world we live in only become suitable for human use thanks to the designer.

Tutors:

Prof. Dr. Martin Gessmann

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp​

Prof. Frank Georg Zebner

Improvisation machine annika frye

Machine to improvise

Annika Frye

Claude rotomolded light by annika frye

CLAUDE

Rotomolded light

Annika Frye

Premold lamp annika frye

Premold Lamp

Annika Frye

Prof. Dr. Annika Frye

Improvisation in Design Processes

(School of Design)

For designers, improvisation is part of their everyday work. Improvisation comes into play again and again in the design process, sometimes even in subconscious ways. For example, a typical improvisatory strategy would be to temporarily fix individual parts of a model with a screw clamp. Beyond its practical use in everyday work, improvisation can be seen as a skill in design. Here the concept of skill is not meant in terms of an artisanal, reproducible action, rather, it is a creative competence that gives rise to something new – based on the repertoire of the designer (virtuoso). In the everyday work of designers, this form of improvisation is mostly overlooked. Yet improvisation has always been used as a strategy for generating ideas and works, especially in a number of artistic fields.

The doctoral research project aims to address the concept of improvisation and its significance for design. Here the focus is on the creative, productive aspect of improvisation, as opposed to emergency or makeshift solutions as often come about in everyday life. Models and drawings as well as conversations in the studios suggest that designers have an implicit knowledge that influences improvisation. This is to be documented and examined with a view to improvisation and its implicit knowledge. The objective of the project is to demystify the phenomenon of improvisation and possibly even find sub-strategies that can be used methodically.

www.annikafrye.de

www.designimprovisation.com

Tutors:

Prof. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Bernhard E. Bürdek

Prof. Peter Eckart

Craig Leonard

Aesthetics After Marcuse: What's Left of Anti-Art?

(Fachbereich Kunst)

In seinem kurzen Buch über Arnold Schoenberg stellt Charles Rosen fest »das vorrangige Mittel musikalischen Ausdrucks ist die Dissonanz.« In musikalischer Form kann Dissonanz vertikal (d. h. durch das gleichzeitige Abspielen von Tönen) oder horizontal (d. h. durch Tonabfolgen) erfolgen. In beiden Fällen ist eine Dissonanz ein musikalisches Geräusch das eine Auflösung hinausschiebt, wobei die Auflösung durch eine Harmonie bestimmt wird, also als ein musikalisches Geräusch das als letzte Note dienen kann. Wie Rosen hervorhebt: »Welche Geräusche Konsonanzen sein sollen, wird zu jedem Moment in der Geschichte durch den vorherrschenden Musikstil festgelegt, und Konsonanzen waren, je nach musikalischem System der jeweiligen Kultur, radikal unterschiedlich.« Die außer-musikalischen Konsequenzen dieser Feststellung sehen eine tiefgreifende Verflechtung von Ästhetik – der Feststellung von Dissonanz und Konsonanz, ehemals abgeleitet von einer »musikalischen Sachlichkeit« – mit sozialen und geschichtlichen Kräften, obwohl diese noch eigenständig sind. »Die Auseinandersetzung des Komponisten mit dem Material ist zugleich eine Auseinandersetzung mit der Gesellschaft, gerade soweit diese ins Werk eingewandert ist« (Theodor W. Adorno, Philosophie der Neuen Musik). Was bleibt sind materielle und extra-materielle Dissonanzen, und damit der »Ausdruck« entlang der Tonleiter vom dialektischen (Adorno) zum dialogischen (Bakhtin) Verhältnis zur Konsonanz – in beiden Fällen im Begriff historisch neu bewertet und bewegt zu werden. Der Begriff der Dissonanz soll in seiner relativen Verwendung bei Adorno und Bakhtin beleuchtet werden um Dissonanz im zeitgenössischen Kontext neu zu verorten.

craigleonard.net

Betreuende

Prof. Dr. Juliane Rebentisch

Prof. Heiner Blum

Ellen Wagner

»… subject to change…« 
On non-final works of contemporary art

(School of Art)

One increasingly comes across artists who are the orchestrators of their own work for which they appear to have come to the visible conclusion that this is part of a comprehensive system. The more these systems of artistic work are perceived as self-evidently in a state of permanent flux, the more their constituent parts are, in turn, seen as non-fixed. If a work is never complete in itself, but can also, at any given moment, become a »replacement part« for use in other works, what is important in its genesis is not to lose sight of the possibility of its substantive or rather formal »suitability for connection to itself«. For instance, although in traditional sculpture ordinary plaster casts have always provided us with insights into intermediate stages in their creative process, because of the associations they evoke with the kind of collections of antiquities considered timeless, they have seldom renounced the idea of durability. On the other hand, the use of flexible materials in contemporary art does tend to include a notion of reversibility, one that is at least suggested. What exactly the artwork is supposed to be acting as a substitute for and whether it is able to do this convincingly is something that needs to be decided on individual merits. We should also ask whether a work that never reaches the end of its artistic transformations can be documented as an infinite sequence of transitional phases, or whether this could possibly also be considered as no more than a continuation of the work in question using another medium.

I would like to investigate works that operate using ephemeral materials and methods of working and presentation, looking at the extent to which a practice of continual adaptation and reformulation allows us to comprehend the artist’s search for criteria pertaining to his/her own work and how prefabricated or recycled items can cast light on the relationships between existing works or – perhaps intentionally? – retrospectively obfuscate them.

Tutors:

Prof. Christian Janecke

Prof. Gunter Reski

Wagner nicht endgueltiges der morgen

Wagner nicht endgueltiges herbst bei den sukkulenten detail

Calendar

20 May 2015
20 May 2015 Wednesday

Uneindeutige Präsenz / Delokalisierter Leib

until 21 May Isenburger Schloss, linke Kapelle
Tagung uneindeutige praesenz 1
2014 11 nachwuchkonferenz plakat
4 years ago

Borders of Orders

On 28 and 29.November, 2014 the young artist conference "Borders of Orders - Drawing Borders, Conflicts and Social Orders", organized by the excellence cluster "Normative Orders" takes place at Goethe University in cooperation with HfG Offenbach. On Ssturday afternoon and...

Einladung kunstpreis mhoppe fin rz
4 years ago

Schsen Bank Art Prize 2014 - goes to Margret Hoppe

Margret Hoppe who graduated from HfG with a doctorate will receive the Sachsenbank Art Award 2014. In connection with this her solo show in the Museum der bildende Künste Leipzig opens on 5 December.