Exhibition Opening: CONTACT ZONES — Murat Adash, Céline Berger, Syowia Kyambi
CONTACT ZONES – Murat Adash, Céline Berger, Syowia Kyambi is the first collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics and the Museum Angewandte Kunst. The initiative for this joint exhibition was provided by INHABIT, the Institute’s artist in residence program, which every year invites three guest artists from different artistic disciplines to spend three months each pursuing their work in dialogue and exchange with researchers. This exhibition for the second iteration of INHABIT presents the works Adash, Berger, and Kyambi created during their residencies, in the context of our scientific research institute.
The opening will take place on Friday, October 7 from 7 pm. Admission is free, registration is not required. Afterwards, the exhibition will be on view at the Museum Angewandte Kunst until January 15, 2023.
The title CONTACT ZONES alludes to the interaction between different knowledge cultures and the challenge not only of fostering a conversation between the arts and natural sciences, but of creating a common language and opportunities for dialogue. While in cultural studies, the term contact zone describes a social space in which cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, in the context of this residency program it refers to the space of interaction between the artistic and scientific fields.
With no requirements as to content, concept, or medium, nor restrictions to a specific theme, each iteration of INHABIT is entirely defined by the respective guest artists themselves in terms of the questions posed and media employed. The works by Murat Adash, Céline Berger, and Syowia Kyambi on display at the Museum Angewandte Kunst can be understood in multiple ways in light of the title Contact Zones: be it in the performance work of Murat Adash, which explores the location of bodies in space; in Céline Berger's experimental film, which examines the aesthetics of measurement and quantification at the intersection of bodies and devices; or in the multimedia installation by Syowia Kyambi, which, inspired by the ecosystem and morphology of mangroves, itself elicits rhizomatic thinking. These projects are likewise expressions of the artists’ diverse approaches to the world of science and are equally informed by their encounters, dialogues, and collaborations.
About the artists
In his artistic practice, Murat Adash produces performative and choreographic works that investigate the relationship and interplay between physicality and spatiality using an expanded range of media (performance, video, text, sound, and installation). Through his movement-based practice, he creates choreographies that attempt to explore the ephemeral nature of physical boundaries—particularly in relation to the dynamic contours between bodies and the spaces in which they come together. The current work Correspondance (Surface), the fifth chapter in the series, calls into question notions of boundaries and thresholds, particularly as they pertain to the edges between bodies and spaces, as a scenographic, choreographic, and cinematic experiment. Both the live performances and the installation explore the idea of camouflage as a dynamic process between bodies and spaces, taking a new approach that challenges the notion of the subject as self-contained.
Céline Berger was born in Saint-Martin-d'Hères (France) in 1973. She first studied physics and materials science and completed her postgraduate degree at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in 2012.
In her artistic practice, Céline Berger examines the linguistic and visual worlds of everyday professional life in a variety of work contexts. Her work revolves around the investigation of the specific processes, gestures, and behavioral patterns that characterize everyday working life in corporate structures. Her films and installations cast a critical eye on the spaces and architectures in which work processes take place. Her current work And I measure deals with the scientific desire of measuring and the transformation of data into numbers and graphs. It is a critical interrogation of the situation of the experiment - the devices and interfaces as sites where experiences and bodily processes are transformed into measurements and data.
Syowia Kyambi was born in 1979 in Nairobi, Kenya. Syowia Kyambi obtained her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Transart Institute (accredited by the University of Plymouth, UK).
In her artistic practice, Syowia Kyambi explores issues of gender, memory, and identity in the context of colonial history and cultural power structures. Her work investigates the ways in which the present is influenced by historical constructs and how the past shapes notions and ideas of the future. Questions as to what is remembered and archived, and which narratives about objects, bodies, and histories predominate are the starting point for both her artistic practice and her approach to countering normative accounts of history with alternative narratives. Her current work Origins is part of a series of works dealing with the fictional socially critical character Kaspale which Kyambi created in 2018 as an artistic tool to intervene in political and cultural contexts, architectures and activities. In this new work, Kyambi continues to explore the many lives of Kaspale, only now directed inwards, towards the origin of the character and persona with whom she has been building a make-believe world of past futures and intricate (im)possibilities. Kyambi invites her audiences into a metaphoric world, where mangroves offer themselves to both Kaspale and the audience by way of pointing to the multi-dimensional nature of both time and space. Mangroves, at once boundaries and extra-territorial map-nodes, are an exemplary index of the move away from a singular root-identity, exhorting us to instead follow the multiplicities, interconnections, and assemblages that rhizomatous root systems offer.