18.06 | BACK OF MY HAND: Programa paralelo/Side program

— Negotiating Documents: On Second Production
Stefanie Baumann

— The Migrant's Hand Between Archive and Demonstration: On Sylvain George's "Qu'ils restent en révolte (figures de guerre)" ("May They Rest in Revolt - Figures of War")
Sven Spieker

Convener Teresa Mendes Flores

— The Migrant's Hand Between Archive and Demonstration: On Sylvain George's "Qu'ils restent en révolte (figures de guerre)" ("May They Rest in Revolt - Figures of War") – Sven Spieker

My lecture considers the human hand and its gestures in 20th-century art between archive and demonstration. While hand gestures are fundamental to creating, showing, instructing, or protesting ("demonstration"), they are also at the same time important instruments for archiving ("archive")--not to mention the fact that the are themselves subject to archivization. In my talk I will provide examples of the way in which gestures that use the human hand oscillate between these two poles (archive vs. demonstration). I will be particularly interested in the fact that gesturing, in the context of Western art, has generally presumed the universality of its Western idioms, implicating the (white) hand deeply in colonial patterns of thinking about the difference between archive and demonstration, and in the vertical ordering of the sequence "eye-ear-hand."

— Negotiating documents: on second production – Stefanie Baumann

In the last decades, traditional archive structures have been widely criticized for their hegemonic claims to provide an authoritative access to reliable documents and the eurocentric, universalist or colonial bias of their inner organization. Hence, artistic, militant, and academic projects have not only problematized and subverted the political implications of the allegedly neutral forms and contents of such archives; they also proposed alternative ways of conceiving of documents and their collection. Resorting to anonymous, private, or subaltern sources, or producing audiovisual material themselves, such projects open an access to oppressed voices, minor narratives, and counter-versions of established histories, and challenge established representations, understandings and frameworks. But it is not only the monopoly of institutionalized archives that has been defied: also the very production of audiovisual documents is no longer restricted to professionals. Everyone with a smartphone at hand can record images and sounds, edit diverse files together, reappropriate or manipulate existing documents, and upload or share them publicly on the internet. Spectators are thus nowadays, at the same time, potential producers conscient of the technical possibilities to fabricate, fake and distort images. Throughout this talk, I aim to reflect on the dialectics between emancipatory potential and pervasive doubt generated by the ubiquity of potential documents of uncertain status, and analyze different ways to problematize, use or challenge it through artistic means.


BIOGRAPHIES

— Sven Spieker was born in Bonn, Germany, and has degrees (in Slavic and Eastern European Studies) from the University of London, Oxford University and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is currently teaching at University of California, Santa Barbara in the Department of Germanic, Slavic, and Semitic Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture. His research interests include Russian and East-Central European literatures, contemporary art, the theory and practice of the historical avant-garde (especially in Russia and East-Central Europe), and the interplay of media, art, and philosophy. He is the author of Figures of Memory and Forgetting in Andrej Bitov's Prose: Postmodernism and the Quest for History (1996) and G0G0L: Exploring Absence: Negativity in 19th-Century Russian Literature (1999). Spieker is also the editor of ARTMargins, an online journal for contemporary art and aesthetic theory in East-Central Europe.

— Stefanie Baumann is a researcher at CineLab/IFILNOVA (NOVA University of Lisbon), where she coordinates the working group “Thinking Documentary Film”. She obtained her PhD in philosophy in 2013, with a doctoral thesis on Walid Raad’s artistic project The Atlas Group. She taught philosophy, aesthetics and contemporary art theory at University Paris VIII (Paris, 2007-2010), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut, 2013), ALBA – the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts/University of Balamand (Beirut, 2012-2015) and the Maumaus Study Program (Lisbon, since 2016). She also worked with the artist Esther Shalev-Gerz as personal assistant from 2005 to 2010, and collaborated with video artists such as Marie Voignier and Mounira Al Solh.

— Teresa Mendes Flores is a photography and film historian and a researcher on optical media theories, visual culture and semiotics. She is a full researcher at ICNOVA, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, holding a Phd on Communication Sciences from the same university. Her dissertation explored the relations between photography and space - "Photography in the Production of Space. A Research on the Imaginary of Top Views in Western Visual Culture" (FCSH, 2010). At ICNOVA she coordinates the research group on "Culture, Mediation&Arts" (since 2019) and co-edits the journal RCL- Communication and Languages Journal. She published 4 books, as well as several book chapters and papers in various academic journals. Present interests include gender and visual culture, the archaeology of immersion media, photography and science in colonial contexts, namely the scientific expeditions, and memory studies. She is the principal investigator of the “Photo Impulse” research project funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (more information on the project's website: https://www.photoimpulse.fcsh.unl.pt). She is a research member at the 2021 FCT project Curiositas, based on Lusófona University, where she teaches Art, Culture and Communication and Photography and Anthropology, at the School of Communication.