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 projects aim was to point out the mechanisms of exclusion and to work in the opposite direction by inviting blind and visually impaired audiences into the gallery. It explicitly addressed these audiences, but was relevant for sighted people as well, because it pointed out the creative potential hiding in other ways of viewing things and the ability of invisibility to broaden the meaning. The overall goal was to bring awareness to this theme by using both 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 of developing 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):
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, 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.