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Participation in Contemporary Art

Organizing Committee:


Each meeting will be broken up into two or three presentations by class participants based on different notions of "participation" in contemporary art. Each presentation will structure itself around a question or series of questions that is relevant to understanding what participation means for the producer, audience and larger cultural field/context. The form of each presentation is open and could be focused on an individual work, a particular type of practice, a theory, or some combination of all those things. The presenter will send around texts, images or other material in advance of the presentation for class members to look at to help frame the discussion.
Please volunteer in the comments below for slots!


fiona geuss's picture

we do not have a computer, so yes anyone who needs one for the presentation please bring one! there will be a beamer and we try to make sure that there is one available for the next times too. regarding duration, i think we just figure this out in the group and see how it goes.
also, please everyone who will attend rsvp to the meetings (you find them on the right side of the class description). there you can also post infos, material and the specific questions related to the presentations of each meeting.
looking forward!

if there's time this saturday after vanessa and valentina, i'd like to present a work by Gerardo Naumann called Factory. it's a piece he does with factory workers at different factories around the world. i saw this piece when he did it at the Mercedes-Benz factory outside Berlin, organized by HAU, and quite liked it. there are several trailers online, two of which i especially like: (Zurich) (Buenos Aires)

i can bring the video files case we want to watch them during the class. they are not long and we don't need to watch both of them.

on his description of the piece there are two sentences that caught my attention:
"...a subjective journey into the minds of the workers."
"Why do machines repeat the same movements?"

I have several questions to frame what I'd like to discuss, but maybe the most important one for me is related to aesthetics. Aesthetic decisions are always very important in Gerardo's works. Structural elements and the way things are done/said are carefully thought of and prepared. I wonder if it's important/relevant/necessary that the actors (in this case factory workers) share/understand Gerardo's aesthetic sensitivity, or if he uses them as a mere maleable matter. What kind of relation is established between him and the workers and what happens with this relation, what remains, after the work ends? I have no information about this, but I feel the piece would change quite a lot for me depending on how those questions are answered. And maybe it's better not to have answers and leave space for the audience to speculate about the matter.

And another question: This piece is normally presented within an institutional frame (a festival, etc). What does that concretely imply for the piece? How a similar piece would function if it is realized outside the frame of the art scene? Would it have a stronger impact on the factory/workers/surrounding? Would it imply a different political agency? What would be its conditions of visibility and its audience?

if not this saturday we can also discuss this the next one. that's also no prob. looking forward.

PS: on wednesday, april 24 at 17:30hs i'm going to see a piece by Stefan Kaegi from Rimini Protokoll at HAU, called Remote Berlin. it's an audiowalk. maybe related to the subject. i think there are still tickets for that day, if anyone wants to join: (i'm taking the English walk).

Dear Fiona and group,

My materials can be found here...

Sorry the text in English for the description of the performance on
top right of page is scrambled. But it can be selected and pasted into
a document and will look fine.
And as you scroll down the page there's a full text as my analysis of
the social experiment.

Fiona, how long do we have for the presentation excluding the Q&A part?

Will there be a computer in the room online or should I bring mine and
connect to the VGA cable of the videoprojector?

Looking forward to presenting and welcoming your questions and comments.
Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez

fiona geuss's picture


there is still space for the upcoming meeting, since we could do more than one presentation if anyone wants to? but yes, next week would be good, berlinfarmlab!

and as andrea mentioned please send around material such as texts or images related to the presentation so that class members can have a sense of what will be discussed. Also, as the description above mentions, "Each presentation will structure itself around a question or series of questions that is relevant to understanding what participation means for the producer, audience and larger cultural field/context" so having these beforehand as well would be helpful!

Hi Vanessa,

you can find the info on the meetings if you click  on the secific dates on the right side of the page. we meet at 2pm at the archive books this saturday.



Hi all,

in case you think of presenting something at the class, please propose a text which relates to the notion of participation you are planning to reflect at your presentation. the time is kind of short, so it is better not to be too long, but since we didn't agree speific text for the the first class, a few pages wont do harm.

do someone want to propose to look up something at the Bishop book again? Diego, you mentioned earlier  chapter 9 on pedagogy?

ok Fiona, sounds good. The location is still on Invalidenstr.,
correct? And what time?


I 'm also intersted to share something with you. Can I present next week?

fiona geuss's picture

hi vanessa,
this saturday would be great!
looking forward

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to join the group and can do a presentation of my latest performance-installation with public participation Coded Narratives which premiered at transmediale/CTM this year at their main performance program for about 700 people at HKW. More info about the work here:

I've recently done a presentation at SCOPE sessions at Panke of my collective works which engage the audience. So I'd be prepared to present with you either this next session April 6, or next on April 13. Unfortunately I'll be away April 20.

Please email me at to let me know which date is open.


Thank you and looking forward to meeting the group!

Best wishes,




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