Conference: Politics of Aura. El Lissitzky’s ‘Abstract Cabinet’ between Musealisation and Participation (Berlin; December 2, 2015)

Conference on the project „Demonstrationsraum“ (Demonstration Room) at the Representation of Lower Saxony at the Federal Government in Berlin as part of its annual program “inspections // participation” in cooperation with the DFG Post-Graduate Program 1843 “The Photographic Dispositif” at the Braunschweig University of Art

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, noon – 5.30 pm, followed by an evening lecture at 7 pm
Location: Vertretung des Landes Niedersachsen beim Bund, Ministergärten 10, 10117 Berlin

“Demonstrationsraum” is an exhibition on the “Abstract Cabinet” by El Lissitzky (1890-1941) conceived as an Augmented Reality app. The project is based on Lissitzky’s artistic and social vision of the combination of art and technology which is transferred into an interactive application consisting of historical and contemporary photographs. By employing this media technology, the complex history of the “Demonstrationsraum” is rendered visible with the help of its archival material. At the same time, the application opens a virtual space in which users can inscribe themselves into the historiography of this museum object by taking a selfie. The active participation of the viewer as an constitutive part of the museum presentation of the “Abstract Cabinet” is thereby reactivated. The project explores new methods of research, exhibition and knowledge production with the aim of a scientifically sound and at the same time low-threshold representation of the history and art historiography of this complex art object.

In June 2016, the app “Demonstrationsraum” will be available in the “Abstract Cabinet” at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. It will be presented in the Representation of Lower Saxony at the Federal Government in Berlin as part of the annual program “inspections // participation” from November 30 to December 13, 2015. In October 2016, the project will be presented in the gallery of the Braunschweig University of Art.

On December 2, 2015 the conference “Politics of Aura. El Lissitzky’s ‘Abstract Cabinet’ between Musealisation and Participation“ at the Vertretung des Landes Niedersachsen beim Bund, Berlin, will discuss the project and the issues it aims to address.

The tension between aura detachment and the auratic appearance of the means to achieve it that made Lissitzky’s installation such an interesting case for contemporary artistic and curatorial practices is accelerated by its art historical canonization. The primal space was destroyed in the 1930s under the pressure of the cultural political campaigns of the nazi regime and re-erected as late as in 1968. This reconstruction of the “Abstract Cabinet” was moved to the Sprengel Museum Hannover in 1979, where it has since been on view as part of the permanent collection. The museum’s logic transformed it into a Gesamtkunstwerk, in opposition to a space dedicated to the experience of the spectator. An object, that today is the subject of considerations of conservation on the basis of the interpretation of historical documents of the space.

To what extent is the “Abstract Cabinet’s” claim of participation compatible with its musealization? Do non-morphological aspects of the space have to be taken into account when it comes to its preservation? And how can an original state be postulated, when even the complex form of the installation is only fragmentarily conveyed in photographs, construction sketches and drawings? How can its initial mission be experienced now by contemporary visitors? Which methods and media could be employed to re-activate the “Abstract Cabinet”?

These and further aspects of the project will be reflected from different perspectives in the format of short lectures followed by a discussion during the conference on December 2.

Schedule:

11.30 a.m. Admittance

12.00 p.m. Stefanie Sembill, Curator, Lower Saxony State Chancellery: Opening Remarks

12.15 p.m. Dr. Isabel Schulz, Sprengel Museum Hannover: ”Die Rekonstruktion von El Lissitzkys „Kabinett der Abstrakten“ auf dem Prüfstand: Geschichte, Museumspraxis, Pläne”

12.50 p.m. Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hemken, Kunsthochschule Kassel: “Der bioskopische Raum: Lissitzkys Kabinett für abstrakte Kunst”

1.25 p.m. Prof. Markus Miessen, Studio Miessen, Berlin and University of Southern California | Los Angeles, USA: „Albtraum Partizipation”

2.00 p.m. Break

3.00 p.m. Carolin Anda, Yvonne Bialek, Cornelia Durka, Alexander Karpisek, Natascha Pohlmann and Philipp Sack, Curatorial Team of „Demonstrationsraum”, DFG Post-Graduate Program 1843 “The Photographic Dispositif” at the Braunschweig University of Art

3.30 p.m. Prof. Dr. Charlotte Klonk, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: “Kollektive Erfahrung im Zeitalter des Digitalen”

4.05 p.m. Prof. Dr. Annette Tietenberg, Braunschweig University of Art: “From A to B and back again. Raum wird zum Bild, Bild zum Raum”

4.40 p.m. Steven Ten Thije, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven: “The Politics of An Abstract Cabinet in a Provincial Museum”

5.10 p.m. Conclusion

The “Demonstrationsraum” app will be available on tablet computers throughout the whole conference.

Following the conference, we invite you to the evening program starting with opening remarks by State Secretary Michael Rüter, General Secretary Lavinia Francke (Stiftung Niedersachsen), Dr. Reinhard Spieler (Director of the Sprengel Museum Hannover) and Prof. Dr. Katharina Sykora (Chair of the DFG Post-Graduate Program “The Photographic Dispositif“) followed by the lecture “‘Der erste Raum für abstrakte Kunst in deutschen Museen.’ (Kurt Schwitters) Lissitzkys Raum für Hannover und seine frühen Raum- und Ausstellungskonzepte” by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Krempel (author and former Director of the Sprengel Museum) Hannover at 7 p.m.

“Demonstrationsraum” is a project by Carolin Anda, Yvonne Bialek, Cornelia Durka, Alexander Karpisek, Natascha Pohlmann and Philipp Sack, members of the DFG Post-Graduate Program 1843 “The Photographic Dispositif” at the Braunschweig University of Art, in cooperation with the Representation of Lower Saxony at the Federal Government in Berlin, Stefanie Sembill, and the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Dr. Isabel Schulz and Inka Schube. The project is sponsored by the Representation of Lower Saxony at the Federal Government in Berlin, the DFG Post-Graduate Program “The Photographic Dispositif“, Stiftung Niedersachsen, the Braunschweig University of Art, NORD/LB and the Friends of the Braunschweig University of Art. Technical implementation and generous support by “Die Etagen GmbH”. Design by Friederike Kühne.

The conference is held in German and English. To participate please register until November 30, 2015 at veranstaltungen@landesvertretung-niedersachsen.de with the subject “Fachtag 2.12.2015”. Further information: http://demonstrationsraum.de

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