"Future enabling methods in times of Digital Reality" Conference Cologne

by loekenhoff (comments: 1)

Introducing myself as an artist I shared my vision with the participants:

"The vision of finding inner peace in times of an overwhelming presence of multimedia. For this I would like to present you my artistic research project CROSSING, which is dedicated to find new and sustainable life strategies by crossing borders. In an exchange with other artists I am searching for possibilities to deal with the digital world without being manipulated.  Travelling in different countries I interview other artists to share their new ideas and experiences with you. On the foundation that it is not the artists duty to give answers but to ask questions, this includes documentary- interviews with international artists in very different places, like Iceland, South Africa, Finland, Egypt and Argentina."

In this session we had an exchange about the methods we can develop to deal with Digital Reality. I showed some answers from different artists in a short movie and at the end I encouraged the participants to come in an own artistic process to realize the difference between special kinds of images. Thus, this Sassion became a part of my artistic research project “Crossing”.

I further explained, that "I try to explore in my interviews how other human beings react to the experience of uncertainty creating their own strategies in their art practice. The social changes, in my opinion, require a reflection on dealing with the issue of fear. The starting point of my work is the experience, that many problems caused by "globalization" can be dued to an experience of separation. I guess not feeling the connection to others or the world causes fear, the main reason (and not only the effect) of most catastrophes that are happening in the world right now. The basic question of my artistic research will proceed from this Archimedean point, therefore: How can we develop the intense experience where we are not separate from our so-called ‘environment’? How can we achieve to reflect the specific kind of analogy between the human being and his/her living space at the level of a fundamental connection – as expressed, for example, in the view of the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm.

It was always the goal of art to make this connection visible and to strengthen it. The Egyptian statue of Chefren is an example of showing an human body in his connection to the cosmological structur. And also Joseph Beuys´s work, for example the “Honigpumpe am Arbeitsplatz” from 1977 is related to this intention."

After this introduction we had an exchange about this questions:

  1. If you try to comprehend this natural connection between you and your environment  as a kind of an inner analogy between microcosm and macrocosm:  What kind of relation exists between the inner human structure and the so-called virtual or digital world? 
  2. If the “Virtual Reality” for example in Video Games/ cyber space IS the REALITY for the user, how can we avoid loosing the main qualities of the human being and human society?

Before I showed the 10 min video I emphasized that in my project art is the main source looking for transformation of the society in a sustainable way.  "The interpersonal exchange on the foundation of an artistic process is the specific transformative potential of “Crossing”.  As an international language, art is a possibility of crossing the thresholds between cultures and individuals in an exchange with surprising innovative answers. The results of the exchanges will be presented in an exhibition, a blog and a catalog."

After showing the movie we deepened our exchange about this statements:

        1.What is a “threshold” in connection to our relation to the Digital world to you?

        2. What do you think about the relation between the inner human structure and the digital world? 

        3. How can we avoid loosing the main qualities of the human being and human society in this challenging situation?

On the foundation of my own artistic process for me Art is a way to try this approach. So I made a Transfer to practical work:

"In connection to the topic of crossing borders I´m working with the material of a waxed skin, silk material dipped in beeswax. Its haptic and visual appearance mirrors the theme of crossing borders in the phenomenon of the skin as a membrane. Searching for special human energies I try to develop new large coloured pictorial fabrics as a relation between body and soul."

After showing some examples of my own art works I encouraged the participants to develop their own approach to a creating-process:

It was about the experience of the difference between a digital picture and a picture made of a an physical material. As a first step they took a photograph of their neighbour with their mobile phone and had to describe the informations they got from this pictures in a few sentences. Then they took a part of wax-skin- and explored the material. How does it feel? The experience was to  find an image for the person sitting next to them using the colours on the wax-skin- material. They could even study his/her face by hanging up the material on the face and work with the colour on it. What is the difference between both approaches ? What characterizes the process of taking pictures with a digital camera in contrast to the painting process on the wax-skin??

From the previous processes and out of the interview-answers the following consequences arise:

As future enabling methods in times of Digital Reality

  1. We can strengthen our connection to nature.  Only if we are connected to our own body and the natural environment we can use digital media as a tool, without being manipulated.
  2. We can and should enjoy playing like a child,
  3. We can realise, that life is worth investigating, 
  4. We can recognise, that cultural life/ - survive can be redefined and made possible through exchange rather than demarcation.
  5. This skills can give us some peace in times of Digital reality.


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Comment by Max P. |

I read this paper of yours with an unbroken interest and a broken cup which I just mended after reading your lines ( it may not be useful to carry water anymore, but as a container will be useful to inspire a poem ) became something else. I think traditions can become something else and stay the same at the same time and this text here although not written with a goose feather and ink does still transport its content.