Transformations: Forum on Artistic Practices and Theory

Transformations: Forum on Artistic Practices and Theory

Forum, Symposium / 15.06.2023

15.06.2023, 10:00-16:45 Forum
After >> Sound Installation by Maria Karpushina and Sunset Aperitif

Ship Dauerwelle, jetty Tiefer 2, 28195 Bremen

Our societies and cultures are encountering political, social, material, and epistemic complexities that we have never experienced before. In this all-encompassing transformation, formerly fixed categories and dynamics of power, such as bios and geos (life and nonlife) or the analogue and the digital, are at once defied and suddenly open onto their own beyond. Simultaneously, processes of economization are taking place in all areas of society –especially in academic and social fields – limiting our thoughts, imaginations, and actions. How can we engage, from our situated positions as art school members of the global north, with questions of power, cultural politics, and community, to matters of knowledge production and representation, the anthropogenic climate change, decolonialism and microsociology as well as subjects of antinormativity and sustainability?
What roles do visual narratives, constructions, and political imaginaries in art and design play in order to form and to rethink the relationships between society and the world we experience? How can artistic practices develop a dynamic not merely for the representation of the social but for its generation? What are its possibilities, limitations and traps? And how can we shape multiplicity and knowledge as agents of possible transformations? What kind of skills, critical mindsets, intuitions, practices, and speculations do we need to be active in this transformation?
This series of conversations, talks and responses aims to look beyond both singular explanations of causation and effect and the strict separation of theory and practice. Equally, it is not about solutionism but rather about the introduction of possible other avenues of progress. Against the backdrop of artistic research’s transdisciplinarity, it is structured as an open, inclusive dialogue between a diversity of disciplines, angles, approaches, and topics.
Speakers at the forum include international referents Jan van Boeckel (Hanze University of Groningen), Ashley Jane Booth (University of Bergen), Åsa Sonjasdotter (University of Gothenburg); HfK Bremen PhD candidates Nika Grigorian, Bianca Holtschke, Lina von Jaruntowski; among respondents are Julia C. Ahrend, Egemen Demirci, Annette Geiger, Kathrin Gollwitzer-Oh, Maria Karpushina, Shoey Nam, Asli Serbest.


10:00 - 10:30
Introduction by Annette Geiger, Kathrin Gollwitzer-Oh, Asli Serbest

10:30 - 12:00
Åsa Sonjasdotter (University of Gothenburg)
The Kale bed is so called because there is always kale in it.
The Kale bed is so called because there is always kale in it – a re-search enquiry mobilizing traditional crops for the reparation of lost peasant relationalities.
Nika Grigorian (HfK Bremen)
Learning from the cultivation practices of Eastern European women in rural spaces
The intention is to explore women's cultivation practices in the rural spaces of the former East Block, where the socialist collective work strategies were used and to apply them in a contemporary cultural context. What knowledge do the rural land-cultivation practices of Eastern European women carry? Moderation/Introduction: Maria Karpushina (HfK Bremen)

 Coffee break

12:30 - 14:00
Ashley Jane Booth (University of Bergen)
Pictogram talks
The focus of Booth’s artistic research has been on pictograms linked to what it means to be a human being with daily challenges. By using a pictogrammatic language as a visual tool, Booth wants to investigate the classification of values in a cultural, social, philosophical and political context.
Bianca Holtschke (HfK Bremen)
Moderation/Introduction: Julia C. Ahrend (HfK Bremen)

Lunch break

15:00 - 16:30
Jan van Boeckel (Hanze University of Groningen)
“Let us slow down - artistic research in times that are urgent.”
My presentation will thematize how artistic research may open up new spaces for artistic interventions and reflective modes that foreground a specific kind ofattentiveness: art-inspired states of full presence to emergent and unfolding processes in our current times of postnormal conditions, characterized by extreme flux and uncertainty.
Lina v. Jaruntowski (HfK Bremen)
Counter Readings of the Weather
An inquiry into weather forecasts as archives of geopolitics and gender. What readings of weather are necessary to tell shared planetary stories of human and non-human coexistence?
Moderation/Introduction: Egemen Demirci (HfK Bremen)
Coffee break

17:00 Publication Launch “Less is Enough. The cat is mine.”Temporary Spaces Class: Abdulla Galive, Fuad, Ankita Ankita, Yasmin Bianca Kobori Belck, Dario Catena, Eliza Boucke, Disha Mukre, Farjana Akter, Hatim Bin Ashraf, Hem Poudyal, Jisu Kim, Liudmila Savelyeva, Nicolas-Friedrich Hohlt, Omar Faruk, Ygor Anario, Yilei Sheng, Yuhe Lin

After >> Sound Installation by Maria Karpushina and Sunset Aperitif

*Respondents: Julia C. Ahrend, Egemen Demirci, Annette Geiger, Kathrin Gollwitzer-Oh, Maria Karpushina, Shoey Nam, Asli Serbest



Julia C. Ahrend
Julia C. Ahrend is a researcher and designer. Currently she is working on her PhD in visual science communication as part of the KielSCN (Kiel Science Communication Network) and as a research fellow at the HfK Bremen. Her work focuses on aesthetic strategies, user experience and the crucial visual elements necessary for successful dissemination of scientific findings. She views design research as a combination of practical application and theoretical development, drawing from her educational background in communication design studies in Kiel and Paris.

Jan van Boeckel
Jan van Boeckel is Professor Art & Sustainability at Research Centre Art & Society of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, The Netherlands. He started his career as a cultural anthropologist. With the passing of time, Jan increasingly focused his attention on both his own developing artistic practice and on the teaching of art – two orientations that eventually converged into the quality of artist-educator. Jan also has ample experience in conducting research projects on the cutting edge of art and sustainability. Specializing himself in the new field of arts-based environmental education, he received his degree as Doctor of Arts in arts education at Aalto University, Helsinki, in 2013. In the past years he has worked in several Northern countries – among which Iceland, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Now, at Hanze UAS in Groningen, Jan’s primary research interest is in how art can help us face the great challenges of our time, of which the ecological crisis arguably is the most pressing.

Ashley Jane Booth
Ashley Booth is Professor of Visual Communication and has taught at the Department of Design since 2006. Booth is a British citizen, but has long experience as a graphic designer in Norway. She has worked as an art director for A-magasinet, a weekly magazine supplement to one of the major Norwegian dailies, and as head of graphic design for the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee (LOOC), which developed the visual profile for the Winter Olympics in 1994. From 1994 until 2010 she ran her own company, Ashley Booth Design (ABD).
Booth is involved in Pictogram-Me, a research project at KMD Bergen, Department of Design, funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. By using pictograms, the research aims to contribute to increased reflection on the complexity of life and to highlight the experiences of people with a challenging existence. Pictogram-Me is inspired by Isotype (International System Of TYpographic Picture Education), a symbol system developed by Otto Neurath to explain and illustrate social and economic issues to the general public.

Lina v. Jaruntowski
Lina v. Jaruntowski is a designer and researcher based in Hamburg and Eindhoven. She is a member of the feminist collectives POSSY from Hamburg and Radio Echo in The Hague. As a member of POSSY, she has been an important part of Hamburg’s feminist club culture and created a platform of support for diverse FLINTA* artists since 2017. Trained as a graphic designer and design researcher, Lina’s practice follows her strong interest in forms of feminist storytelling, collectivity, and experimental forms of publishing. Her practice contains graphic design, publications, workshops as well as textual and performative works to question human-nature relations and hetero-patriarchal power structures. Currently, Lina is researching embodied, linguistic, textual, and technological ecologies and infrastructures around weather forecasts.

Egemen Demirci
Egemen Demirci works with a range of media including text, installation, drawing, and video. In his work he investigates the conceptual boundaries of abstraction, space and exhibition making practices. His practice embodies a critical approach to the notion of reality in contemporary information and algorithm-centric world and employs theoretical analysis in order to form new relationships between subject, object and information.
Egemen Demirci received his MFA in “Public Art and New Artistic Strategies” program at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany (2009). He took part as a researcher / artist at the Jan Van Eyck Academie Residency program during 2014 – 2015, in Maastricht, Netherlands. Currently he is working on his Artistic PhD project “The Anonymous Text: Strategies Of Withdrawal And Negative Participation”. Demirci lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Annette Geiger
Annette Geiger is professor of Theory and History of Art and Design at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. After studying communication science and cultural studies in Berlin, Grenoble and Paris, she completed her doctorate thesis Urbild und fotografischer Blick (Munich, 2004) on aesthetics and image theory in the 18th century. Since 2009, she teaches and researches in Bremen and Berlin about art and design, visual culture and critical theories. Currently she works on “The necessity of Images - Visual Narratives in Global Exchange.” Recent publications: Andersmöglichsein. Zur Ästhetik des Designs. Bielefeld, 2018, Piktogrammatik. Grafisches Gestalten als Weltwissen und Bilderordnung. (mit B. Holtschke) Bielefeld, 2021.

Nika Grigorian
Nika Grigorian is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and researcher based in Berlin. Her artistic work centers on the method of field research, the collective approach and feminist practice. She spent her childhood between the urban space of St. Petersburg and the rural Komi region, which influenced her artistic visions. Over the last years she held a series of discussions, exhibitions and self-publications shaping questions between rural and urban. Her latest work is the collaborative zine "Potato", which is the beginning of a series of zines for her upcoming research "Learning from the cultivation practices of Eastern European women in rural spaces". >>>

Kathrin Gollwitzer-Oh
Before joining HfK Bremen as Head of Research Support and Coordination in 2019, Kathrin Gollwitzer-Oh held positions at the University of Zurich, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and, as a postdoc and visiting professor, at UC Berkeley. Her research interests center on historical semantics, narratology, the history of thought and knowledge and narrative imaginaries. She received her PhD in Literary Studies and Early Modern Literature from LMU and enjoys helping to build structural frameworks and strategies for artistic research and artistic practices.

Bianca Holtschke
Bianca Holtschke (graduate designer) studied Integrated Design at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague and works as a freelance graphic designer, typographer and book designer. She is currently doing her doctorate on the pragmatic dimension of graphic representation. Working title: “ Verbally complicated but visually transparent. – Design strategies for knowledge communication in the context of pragmatic realism. (Working title)

Her research focuses and interests are design theory, philosophy of science, knowledge visualisation, semiotics and logic. Recently, the essay „Können Bilder falsch sein?“ in: Annette Geiger und Bianca Holtschke (Hg.): Piktogrammatik: Grafisches Gestalten als Weltwissen und Bilderordnung, Bielefeld: transcript (2021).

Maria Karpushina
Maria Karpushina is a multimedia artist who navigates and tracks stories back within the abyss of doubt and poetry. In this journey, explores the connection between language, image, sound and its translations that are inherently part of their reading of the world. Karpushina's interest lies not only in different critical practices around the western nature of knowledge but in constant confrontation with their own relationship with expertise. Their artistic practice is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates collective and experimental interaction. Karpushina is a member of the collective and research initiative Research and Waves, which explores the area between curatorial practice and artistic methodology, including events, online formats and record releases.

Shoey NamShoey Nam’s research delves into the depth of the seemingly frivolous notion of laughter. Despite its amusing and ostensibly uncomplicated façade, when closely examined, the complexity from which laughter arises compels one to think about its paradoxically dark and solemn nature. Embodying such contradictory qualities, her visual practice often manifests in forms of printmaking, such as woodcut/linocut and screen printing. Despite their easily reproducible nature, such printing techniques require laborious and painstaking procedures, mirroring the dichotomy between a sense of levity found in low culture aesthetics and the solemnity of high theory.

Shoey Nam holds a BA (Hons) in Graphic and Media Design from the University of the Arts London and an MA in Integrated Design from the University of the Arts Bremen, throughout which she developed a keen interest in visual storytelling as well as theoretical aspects of visual culture and media studies.

Asli Serbest
Asli Serbest works in collaborations across space, image, sound, text, and pedagogical practices at the intersection of art and architecture. Her projects and processes are research-based and follow a feminist methodology. As such, they constitute less fixed spaces and objects than non-linear physical or digital versions and relations that share an interest in serial variation and possible distortions of form, scale, and power structures. Together with Mona Mahall they exhibit and publish internationally, including at the Biennale di Venezia, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien Berlin, Riverrun Istanbul, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Pinakothek der Moderne Munich, Storefront for Art and Architecture New York, HKW Berlin, Vancouver Art Gallery, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, New Museum New York; in e-flux journal, Volume Magazine, Perspecta, Istanbul Art News, etc. They are the editors of the independent magazine Junk Jet. In 2019, they curated the 7th International Sinop Biennial under the title of A Politics of Location.
Asli Serbest is a professor of Temporary Spaces at the University of the Arts Bremen.

Åsa Sonjasdotter
As an artist and doctoral student in Artistic Practice at HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Åsa Sonjasdotter engages in material-narrative processes for the unmaking of violent relations related to food and land. Her recent work, the 2022 film Cultivating Abundance is made in dialogue with the seed association Allkorn (Common Grains) and breeder of peasant seeds Hans Larsson. For info about where Sonjasdotter's work is exhibited, published, and screened, see

Transformations: Forum on Artistic Practices and Theory

Schiff Dauerwelle, Anleger Tiefer 2, 28195 Bremen

15. Juni 2023, 10:00