Performance at CDS: Experimental Set-up No. 1 (May 2-4, 2018)

Daniel Aschwanden’s one-year cycle DOG_men

Performance with Daniel Aschwanden, Herwig Turk and Tanja Gesell: Experimental Set-up No. 1 on May 2-4, 2018

Within the framework of performer Daniel Aschwanden’s one-year cycle DOG_men he teams up with artist Herwig Turk and molecular biologist and artist Tanja Gesell. Together they interrogate various related narratives of the immune system and speculative differences between dogs and humans. What kind of structures become visible when an artistic perspective is brought to bear on scientific aspects of this context? What are the narratives that are behind these systems? To what extent is the communication of research findings about, and hence social relations to, the immune system informed by military concepts and logic? Would changing the terminology lead to changes in perception?

Is it at all possible to get to grips with the complexity of the molecular level using the means of performance? Can the findings of contemporary molecular biology research be embodied and represented in a way that is comprehensible? Might this result in ambiguous and dilettantish statements and portrayals? Or does the dilettante approach offer hidden approaches allowing for new perspectives on scientific terms and on questions of their interpretation? Or does a dilettantish approach possibly contain modes of access, which could give rise to a fresh view of concepts and questions regarding interpretations? Perhaps even produce a knowledge surplus, which too often remains disregarded? And doesn’t the same apply to the views of artistic approaches from a scientific perspective?

At the Institute of Cross-disciplinary Strategies (CDS), Aschwanden, Turk, and Gesell create an experimental set-up for their lecture–performance in which they approach concepts, narrative structures, and representational forms of the immune system through dialogue. They develop a dramaturgy by transforming existing architectural features — booths — into roughly sketched, “image cubicles”, and use them as theatrical “stations”. With the goal of making visible unexpected meanings and contexts in scientific methods and mythologies, the artists draw on a variety of artistic and media approaches.

With their respective artistic and scientific practices the artists produce transversal, poetic connections between everyday observations, scientific findings, and their own interventions. In this work of translation between systems, a lot of material arises between the markers of “lost” and “found” “in translation”.

Daniel Aschwanden, performer, choreographer, curator where art meets the social: performative interventions in urban contexts, hybrid formats of interventions in public spaces in Europe, Asia, Africa, stressing the angle of cultural exchange and communication using a variety of art practices articulating themselves in a wide range of movement/dance -based formats reaching from public spaces to installations and performances in blackboxes and white cubes, relating social to art agendas.

Daniel Aschwanden’s movement and dance biography includes a wide range of experience from movement-based theatre (methods based on Grotowsky) to Butoh dance (working with Min Tanaka’s Mai Juku) and contact improvisation (Mark Tompkins, Lisa Nelson, Nina Martin, and others). He was the founder and director of Vienna’s Bilderwerfer project for dancers with and without special needs creating work and workshops on the basis of danceability-related methods. He regularly practices Tai Chi, and is also influenced by bodywork like Feldenkrais, Reiki, and authentic movement. In recent years he has worked in transdisciplinary collaborations on interventions in urban public space, and in March 2017 he finished his 365 days solo performance project GOLDBERG 365.

Tanja Gesell is a postdoctoral scientist at the Department of Structural and Computational Biology, University of Vienna and a visual artist. She holds master’s degrees in biology and fine arts from the University and the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf, with a major in experimental sculpture and minors in aesthetics, philosophy, and art history. In 2003 Rosemarie Trockel selected her as a Meisterschüler. In 2009, she obtained her PhD in molecular biology at the University of Vienna with a dissertation titled A Phylogenetic Definition of Structure. Before her maternity leave, Tanja Gesell also did research at Harvard University and at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and earlier at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, UK. Her research approach is to use scientific and artistic practice to examine the structural concepts that underlie molecular research. She is cofounder of and lecturer at the new Connectivity Seminar at the University of Vienna. In this seminar connections between various natural science disciplines, the humanities, and the arts are established with regard to the aspect of structure. In addition, she teaches at the FH-Campus University of Applied Science in Bioinformatics, Structure Prediction, and Molecular Design and biomolecular strategies at the University of Applied Arts in the BA study programme Cross Disciplinary Strategies.

Herwig Turk lives and works in Vienna. His projects probe the interconnectivity of the fields of art, technology, and science. At the moment he is an invited artist at the international Immunology Research Project ENLIGHT-TEN. From 2010 to 2013, he was artist in residence at the Instituto da Medicina Molecular (IMM), Lisbon. From 2003 to 2009, Turk worked together with Paulo Pereira, head of the Department of Ophthalmology at IBILI (Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences) at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. In recent years, his work has been shown at venues such as the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Seoul Museum of Art, the Neues Museum Weserburg in Bremen, the Media Art Laboratory TESLA, the Galerie Georg Kargl in Vienna, and the Transmediale in Berlin, to mention just a few. Herwig Turk was featured in a solo show at the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art (MMKK) in 2016. Since 2014 he works as Senior Artist at the Department of Social Design and the Department of Cross Disciplinary Strategies at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Date and time: Wednesday till Friday, May 2-4, 2018, 7:00-9:00 pm
Venue: Department of Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Hintere Zollamtsstrasse 17
1030 Vienna
Seminar Room (4th floor)

The performance is produced in cooperation with brut.