Tag Archives: previous projects

Common Bond

Common Bond was an international collaboration project between myself, and photographers Rosita McKenzie (Edinburgh) and Jan Bölsche (Berlin). Common Bond followed on from the success of CAE’s previous project Through the Looking Glass, Dimly developed by myself, Rosita and Australian based photographer Andrew Follows, which saw Rosita McKenzie develop a body of work in response to Andrew’s work and encouraged a peer-mentoring relationship between the two artists during Andrew Follows Edinburgh residency. Where Through the Looking Glass saw Rosita take on the role of “host artist”, the Common Bond residency allowed Rosita to become the “visiting artist” and pursue a new peer-mentoring relationship with Berlin based photographer Jan Bölsche.

The initial project was developed in partnership over a year featuring a 2-week artist residency programme, a series of photo-shoot sessions in selected locations around the city; meetings and studio visits with Berlin based artists and photographers; a practical photography workshop led by Rosita and Jan for both sighted and non-sighted participants; and a public discussion group on the theme of normality, ableism and genetic engineering in September 2013.

Central to the residency was Rosita’s development of a new body of work in response to the concept of the “common bonds” between Britain and Germany. Rosita’s investigation of the city from an historical and cultural heritage perspective, interprets this visually rich city from her perspective as a blind person.

The residency enabled Rosita to forge new international connections with other artists and audiences and gave her an opportunity to help  people with disabilities participate within contemporary art despite geographic and language barriers. Building on from her previous projects such as the Sight Unseen group exhibition in California, the residency has strengthened links between blind photographers Berlin and in Scotland.

The project continued with Jan, Rosita and myself developing and delivering further Blind Photography Workshops in other cities, exhibitions and the establishment of an international network of blind photographers.

Photos and further information can be found here.

A Collaboration

Kirstin Broussard's work with The Museum of Modern Art’s Community and Access education team and their collaboration with PS77, a public school in Brooklyn NY for middle and high school aged students diagnosed on the autism spectrum.For over ten years I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with Amie Robinson, the art teacher at PS77 in Brooklyn New York and her students as part of The Museum of Modern Art’s Community and Access education team. (PS77 is a public school in Brooklyn NY for middle and high school aged students diagnosed on the autism spectrum.)

Though every single year we have partnered has been a revelation, I’d like to highlight 2015:

For this seven week program we focused on two exhibitions about artists who use their studio space as an integral part of their art-making practice- their studios become the ground for a kind of “world” they create and inhabit. In particular we focused on Matisse’s cut-paper collages which filled the walls of his home in Nice, and the work of a contemporary artist Daniel Gordon, who makes life size, three dimensional collages out of found images.

A number of things happened as a result of our encounters at MoMA: the students were now familiar with the idea of a kind of “manipulated” reality- they had explored images that transform everyday objects into something surreal and expressive, there was a spirit of play and experimentation in the air rooted in something familiar, personal and communal. Back at the school we collectively decided to build a life size, three dimensional kitchen still life from found images:

  • Three classes participated in the construction of the final art piece; every student participated in both the conception and creation of the project individually and at times communally, it spread across their school day and involved their classroom teacher, their computer teacher and their art teacher.
  • Every one of our sessions built upon previous investigations as we moved from the concrete to the abstract.
  • When the kitchen still life was complete, we lit it with studio lights, set up a camera and a tripod, and invited the students to take turns interacting with the set by both directing the scenarios within the set, and being the performers- they were both behind and in front of the lens if they wished. The final series of images blur the boundary between fiction and reality.

For more information, check out the PS77 Brooklyn Art News Blog.

Non-Sight Seeing Tour

Parcours der Nichtsehenswürdigkeiten (Non-Sight Seeing Tour), workshop and guided tour by Jovana Komnenić and Dirk Sorge, part of Die Auflösung des Sehens (The Resolution of Sight), Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst, 2014

The project Die Auflösung des Sehens” was a creative reflection about the dominance of sight in art and everyday life. The project wants to point out the mechanisms of exclusion and to work in the opposite direction by inviting blind and visually impaired audience in the gallery. It explicitly addresses these audiences, but it is relevant for sighted people as well, because it points out the creative potential hiding in other ways of viewing things, the ability of invisibility to broaden the meaning. The overall goal was to bring awareness for this theme by using irritation and reflection.

The exhibition venue was the building of a former monastery situated in a large park area in the west of Germany. The whole project consisted of three parts and lasted one year (January to December 2014) with the project grant KunstKommunikation which supports a participatory approach in the arts. One part was a series of workshops with blind and visually impaired participants with the goal to develop a tour through the park, the second part was the production of a tactile map with audio output to guide visitors to the stops of the tour. The third part was the artistic intervention inside the historic building with site-specific installations.

For  further photos and a video of the installations please visit http://dirksorge.de/aufloesung.htm and http://www.jovanakomnenic.com/file/work/Pages/die_auflosung_des_sehens.html.

Further information on the project and Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst (German only):

http://www.da-kunsthaus.de/dirk_sorge.html

Werkzeug Wahrnehmung (Perception as a Tool)

Werkzeug Wahrnehmung (Perception as a Tool), experimental art mediation walk at 6th Berlin Biennale by Birgit auf der Lauer, Jovana Komnenić, Silja Korn, Anja Winter and Dirk Sorge, 2010

Perception as a Tool was a moderated walk through the 6th Berlin Biennial exhibition of contemporary art. It took visitors through the exhibition and its surrounding in the public space. The concept of the walk made reference to the curatorial idea of the exhibition, but reacted to it in a participatory and playful way. The curator Kathrin Rhomberg posed questions about reality. She asked the audience: “Do you believe in reality?”

Our idea was to test the senses of the participants on the walk. To examine together how different perceptions convey different information, how they consciously and unconsciously connect with diverse memories and produce meaning in that way. In that sense, our focus was on the individuality of perception, on acceptance of diversity, and on the exchange within the group.

Another potential we saw was the possibility to focus on hidden or invisible stories in the surrounding of the exhibition.

BODY BILDER

BODY ↔ BILDER, workshop and exhibition between seeing and touching by Jovana Komnenić and Dirk Sorge, Schillerpalais, Berlin, 2013

In this workshop the participants built tactile pictures that are not flat, but have a relief surface and are supposed to be touched – not seen. The pictures were exhibited in a completely dark room and thus became invisible for the entire audience. It may seem strange to call them “pictures”, since they are not to be seen at all, but they are not sculptures either, they exist between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional realms.

In the exhibition we learned a lot about the mechanisms of the visual art system and the conventions that rule it. For touching a picture and following a line with your finger, you usually need much more time than you need when looking at it. When touching a picture, it is most suitable to only have one person standing in front of it. These two differences forced the audience of the exhibition to slow down in the dark room.

Not every picture could be recognized in the sense that it displayed concrete objects. Many were abstract and the process of touching itself was the subject of the art work.

For the sighted visitors it was an important experience to use their sense of touch. This sense is used a lot in everyday situations, but most of the time it happens without paying attention to it.