August 21. Upright is fine, but downright is where I am. Intervention by Shannon Garden-Smith

Wednesday, August 21, 19:00
Upright is fine, but downright is where I am
Intervention by Shannon Garden-Smith

I am not granite and should not be taken for it. I am not flint or diamond or any of that great hard stuff. If I am stone, I am some kind of shoddy crumbly stuff like sandstone or serpentine, or maybe schist. Or not even stone but clay, or not even clay but mud. And I wish that those who take me for granite would once in a while treat me like mud. –Ursula K. Le Guin

At TIER, Shannon Garden-Smith clothes a set of storage shelves in eccentric microplush polyester curtains. Exercising the capacity of the polyester material to retain marks wherever it is touched, she has imprinted a miscellany of shoes treads across the surface of the textiles to be joined by traces of touch made during the curtain’s everyday use. An accompanying artist’s book (with a text contribution from Parker Kay) muses on dozens of photographed tread prints, imprinted in sidewalk cement and road paint before the surfaces dried and hardened—like pseudo trace fossils, fossils that record biological activity (“burrows, boring, footprints, feeding marks” etc) rather than bodies themselves. During a public program on the evening of August 21, Garden-Smith will discuss the pedestrian sublimity of moving through the city searching for harried traces of touch along with the shape of production when moving through the city becomes a dominant site of thinking and making, as space increasingly and untenably belongs to real-estate capitalism.

Shannon Garden-Smith is an artist and (sometimes) writer who lives and works in Toronto/Tkaronto, Canada. She received an MFA from the University of Guelph and BA from the University of Toronto. She has recently exhibited at YYZ Artists’ Outlet (Toronto), Art Metropole (Toronto), Cambridge Art Galleries (Cambridge ON), Birch Contemporary (Toronto), Erin Stump Projects (Toronto), 8-11 Gallery (Toronto).

Her highly tactile, slow processes of sculpture-making explore unproductiveness in order to imagine ways of doing/making/performing that hold too much and too little.

Shannon gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council

  August 16. Hands.on.matter: Publication launch. Bimonthly programme organized by Sandra Nicoline Nielsen and Tim van der Loo

Friday, August 16, 19:00 – 21.00
Hands.on.matter: Publication launch
Bimonthly programme organized by Sandra Nicoline Nielsen and Tim van der Loo

You are invited to come and celebrate the first season of the hands.on.matter event series. We are on this special occasion launching a publication, which holds essays and project descriptions of the contributions, and notes from the workshops.

Expect food, drinks, a mix of materials and designs summing up themes from the past season and good chats with nice people. We want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year. Hope to see you there!

Everyone is welcome. Participation is for free.

  August 15. Eli Cortiñas and Hito Steyerl. Objects Before and After the Wall, Part 1

Thursday, August 15, 20:00
Eli Cortiñas and Hito Steyerl
Objects Before and After the Wall, Part 1

For the first part of Objects Before and After the Wall at TIER, a collaboration with Tlaxcala 3 in Mexico City, we will screen Eli Cortiñas’s Walls Have Feelings (2019) and Hito Steyerl’s The Empty Centre (1998). Separated by two decades, the works uncover relations between objects, walls, and the people who move them/move through them.

In Walls Have Feelings, Cortiñas delves into the ecology of objects and their appearance. The video opens onto the microcosm of dictators’ offices, presenting their architecture and interiors. Newly-filmed scenes alternate with close-ups and landscapes views from sourced images and found footage, gradually unveiling the protagonists of the film: office rooms and walls, which contain, hide and reinforce invisible forms of power. Powers, which stemmed from industrial capitalism and political dictatorships, and which in turn influenced the current neoliberal-type of economic production. The film references labour activities, echoing both present and past, corporeal and cognitive, forms of exploitation. It mixes familiar scenes of workers leaving the factory, laboratories producing all-too-human robots, and the works of artists themselves, which all together creates a navigable, hypnotic loop. Cortiñas evokes the object‘s animist power, delving into something that is embedded in them – as the title remind us. The video becomes an open archive in process, which not only speaks of political powers and their resulting oppression. It also processes the very aesthetic through which these powers operate. ‘The ethnic cleansing of history has become a standard procedure’ (…) ‘silencing the past has become a standard procedure’, states Cortiñas. By displaying lost and invisible events, through reworked images, she digs into visual memory, testing both cultural and cinematic memory itself. (Giulia Civardi, London, 2019)

Hito Steyerl’s film The Empty Centre depicts Potsdamer Platz at a time of rapid change in Berlin. While the early days of post-division Berlin may have held the kernel of utopia, the late 90s were marked by property speculation and its attendant, expansive construction sites. In the film, Potsdamer Platz serves as a narrative vessel for a survey of historical moments in Berlin, from its heyday in the 20s, to its destruction and conversion into a “death strip”, to its massive redevelopment after the Cold War by transnational corporations. Steyerl traces the history of ostracism and exclusion of migrants and minorities, at whose expense the notion of a powerful national center is defined. Steyerl’s film serves as a platform for underrepresented voices in political discourse both then and now, examining how the wall as an object – in the concrete and the abstract – steers the flows of people and things.

Eli Cortiñas is a video artist of Cuban descent, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1979. She was guest professor at the Art Academy Kassel and the Art Academy Mainz and is a newly appointed professor at the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK). Cortiñas has been awarded numerous grants and residencies, including from Fundación Botín, Berlin Senate, Villa Sträuli, Kunstfonds, Goethe Institute, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Rupert, Villa Massimo and Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff. Her artistic practice can be located within the appropriation tradition, using already existing cinema to de- and re-construct identities as well as narratives according to new discourses. Her collage-like video essays and installations mix found imagery with documentary strategies. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at museums such as Museum Ludwig, Kunsthalle Budapest, CAC Vilnius, SCHIRN Kunsthalle, SAVVY Contemporary, Museum Marta Herford, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Centre Pompidou, Museum of Modern Art Moscow, Kunstmuseum Bonn and MUSAC et al., as well as in international festivals such as Riga Biennale, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Mardin Biennale, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Curtas Vila Do Conde and Nashville Film Festival. She lives and works in Berlin.

Hito Steyerl was born in 1966 in Munich. She currently lives and works in Berlin.
Steyerl has studied at the Academy of Visual Arts, Tokyo and the University of Television and Film, Munich.
She also completed a doctorate in philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
Steyerl is the recipient of the 2019 Käthe Kollwitz Prize from Akademie der Künste in Berlin. In 2015, Steyerl was awarded the EYE Prize from the EYE Film Institute Netherlands and the Paddy & Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund. In 2010, she received the New:Vision Award from the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival.
Objects Before and After The Wall
This project analyzes the wall as an object from different angles: thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty-five years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement and in the geopolitical framework that requires research in Mexico it’s border condition with Central America and with the United States. The wall as an ideological space and the relationship between objects and walls. The notion of the liminal, the crack, the border and other possible unfoldings.

Objects Before and After the Wall is a collaboration between Tlaxcala 3 in Mexico City and The Institute for Endotic Research in Berlin. It has the 2019 sponsorship of the Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporéneo for theoretical and curatorial research.

  August 12. Laura Vallés: A Rehearsal to the Test. Editing Spaces, Part 2

Monday, August 12, 19:00
Laura Vallés: A Rehearsal to the Test
Editing Spaces, Part 2

‘A Rehearsal to the Test / Editing Spaces’ takes as a point of departure a series of editorial projects run by women (Aspen, Metronome, Arena, Zehar, Concreta) and proposes an exercise to rehearse a series of questions on how words world worlds from the shared experience of reading, editing, curating. The event will be divided in two parts: the first one will introduce the framework of this on-going research, and the second will put forward a series of interrogations on how these processes operate in space, in which the audience will have to imagine and inhabit their own answers. A discussion about the envisioned environs will take place after the performative lecture.

Laura Vallés is a contemporary art researcher, curator and writer. She is co-founder and managing editor of Concreta: a Spanish organisation researching into image creation and art theory, which publishes a journal twice-yearly, as well as a series of books. Laura is interested in the practices that emerge from the intersection of editing and curating as a space of negotiation and asymmetry. This presentation is part of a research-in-the-making developed at the Royal College of Art and as such it will be presented as a rehearsal in media res, from its condition of unfinishedness. Laura has edited and translated essays and conversations by Jacques Rancière, Donna Haraway, and Ariella Azoulay, to list a few; she has curated exhibitions and organised events with filmmakers Pedro Costa and Fabrizio Terranova, artist Carla Zaccagnini, and philosopher Franco “Bifo” Berardi at La Filmoteca (Valencia), Feira Tijuana (Porto), Tàpies Foundation (Barcelona), and Lumen Studios (London), among others. Her most recent curatorial project, It’s Your Turn, took place at EACC (Castellón) in 2019. She is currently working on an exhibition in three episodes in partnership with Azkuna Zentroa (Bilbao), Artium (Vitoria), and CentroCentro (Madrid) (2019-2020), and on the directorship of Fotonoviembre Biennial (Tenerife) (2019).

Editing Spaces
One of the meanings of the word publication is to make something public. If the relations between local and global are regarded as a text that can be read through contemporary art practices, a pertinent tactic would be to substitute the idea of exhibition with publication. This means to understand exhibitions as narrative machines, as expanded books that can also unfold a set of other possibilities such as cross-temporal approaches, choreography of bodies moving through the extensive idea of text and support structures.

The work of the artists/curators invited to Editing Space develops from translations from texts to installations, from transitions between the written and the performative.

With: Discoteca Flaming Star, Alicia Kopf, Josep Maynou, Mattin and Laura Vallés,

Supported by the program PICE of Acción Cultural Española.

  August 8. The materiality of the immaterial. Encounter with Mijo Miquel

Thursday, August 8, 19:00
The materiality of the immaterial
Encounter with Mijo Miquel

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” —Carl Sagan[1]

“The broomsticks are part of a tree, we are all and everything at the same time” —Issa Samb[2]

This text tries to combine the evolutionist vision of hard sciences with a certain universalist animism that, in the hands of people like Jane Bennet or Issa Samb, questions the implacable taxonomic ordering of reality that, since the Enlightenment, meant the conceptual separation of humanity from the rest of the world. This notion implicit in the new materialisms can be applied to the social sciences by questioning the anthropocentric and dematerialized analysis we make of our behaviours, even of that which we call consciousness and which sustains our fundamental theoretical difference with the rest of living matter. In this way, we can question our weight in the world and try to understand the inertias that are leading us to a situation in which our life force puts at risk our continuity as a species on the planet, as well as that of many other living beings.

[1] Documentary series Cosmos (1980), first episode, “On the shore of the cosmic ocean”, 00:01:04.
[2] “La Coquille. Conversation entre Issa samb et Antje Majewski”, Dakar 2010 in How to talk with birds, trees, fish, shells, snakes, bulls and lions. Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2019.

Mijo Miquel
Translator, independent cultural manager and professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Fine Arts) since 2003. Degree in Modern Languages as well as in Fine Arts. PHD in Public Art (2013). Cofounder of various collectives such as Barra Diagonal, AutoFormato and Entrebarris, she has specialized since 2000 in the organization of meetings and conferences related to the creation of critical sphere. She collaborates with the CSIC being part of the Social and Human Sciences Center. As a researcher, her activity focuses on the city as a privileged space for social innovation as well as the redefinition of “urban quality” criteria. She teaches as well in different officials Masters of the UPV (Ecology, Art Production, Urban Regeneration).

  August 1. Amplify and Sediment. Encounter with Laura Engelhardt, Sonja Hornung & Josephine Findeisen

Thursday, August 1, 19:00
Amplify and Sediment
Encounter with Laura Engelhardt, Sonja Hornung & Josephine Findeisen

[deutsch unten]

Space in the built environment — whether it is considered to be private, public, or something in-between — is a charged element. Urban space takes on forms that are only easily accessible to specific bodies. These bodies then amplify and sediment the city’s forms, shaping places. Spaces and bodies thus have a reciprocal relationship, raising questions relating to access and belonging. What happens to precarised bodies when the urban fabric is placed under stress?

In 2016, Sonja Hornung and Laura Engelhardt worked together intensively on the question of urban valorisation and the real estate industry in Berlin with a plan to make a film together. The film was never realised; instead, their shared dialogue flowed into two separate works:

Sperre, a collaboration between Sonja Hornung and dancer and choreographer Josephine Findeisen, is a performative walk for gentrifying urban spaces. In a hand-sewn, emergency ‘uni-form’, a resistant body attempts to insert itself into and move in the rigid spaces of a gentrified city. The walk takes us to DaWoEdekaMaWa, a nearby contested site that arose due to an artistic intervention by Alison Darby and Sabrina Brückner.

Laura Engelhardt’s 26-minute experimental documentary Notes from the Neighbourhood observes, over the course of two years, an inner courtyard in Berlin, in which investors erect a new residential building for resale. As construction work progresses, a woman narrates the ups and downs of her contrary life, and the stagnation of her body. The work thus brings processes of speculation and urban displacement into intimate contact with questions relating to social class and physical fragility.

After the walk and screening, we will come together to discuss artistic modes of collaboration, representation and resistance in the context of a gentrifying city.

Laura Engelhardt (born 1988 in Bremen) studied Architecture and Fine Arts in London, Stuttgart and Berlin and is currently doing the postgraduate programme at the Academy for Media Arts Cologne. Her work examines built and imagined architectures, urban spaces and the fragile relation between the human body and its environment. She lives and works as a filmmaker and artist in Cologne and Berlin.

Josephine Findeisen (DE) born in 1990, graduate of dance, context, choreography (UdK Berlin). In her choreographic practice, she observes market-based and social realities, investigating their influence on moving bodies. As a dancer and performer she works with various choreographers and artists, including Isabelle Schad (Pieces and Elements 2016, INSIDE OUT 2018, Reflection 2019), Okwui Okpokwasili (Sitting on a Man’s Head 2018), Alexandra Pirici (Aggregate 2017, Fluids. A happening by Allan Kaprow 2015), Zuzanna Ratajczyk (AFTERNOON 2015, Bless This Place 2018).

Sonja Hornung (*1987) is a Melbourne-born. Her practice moves between installations, situations in urban space and drawing, and revolves around the attempt to insert empancipated forms in pre-existing systems. She studied humanities and visual artist in Melbourne and Berlin, where she lives and works since 2012.


Der Stadtraum – ob privat, öffentlich oder irgendetwas dazwischen – ist eine aufgeladene Sache. Die Stadt nimmt feste Formen an, die nur bestimmten Körpern leicht zugänglich sind. Diese Körper wiederum verstärken die gegebenen Formen und prägen die Orte. Raum und Körper stehen in einer wechselseitigen Beziehung, die Fragen nach Zugang und Zugehörigkeit aufwirft. Was passiert mit prekarisierten Körpern, wenn der Druck auf städtischen Raum zunimmt?

2016 haben sich Sonja Hornung und Laura Engelhardt gemeinsam mit der Frage der Stadtaufwertung und der Immobilienwirtschaft in Berlin beschäftigt mit dem Plan, einen gemeinsamen Film zu realisieren. Der Film selbst kam nie zustande. Stattdessen hat sich der gemeinsame Dialog in zwei unterschiedliche Arbeiten entwickelt:

Sperre, eine Zusammenarbeit zwischen Sonja Hornung und der Tänzerin und Choreographin Josephine Findeisen, ist eine performative Begehung gentrifizierter Stadträume. In genähter Notfall-‘Uni-Form’ versucht sich ein widerständiger Körper in den starren Räumen der gentrifizierten Stadt zu bewegen und einzufügen. Der Spaziergang führt zu DaWoEdekaMaWa, einem umkäpften städtischen Ort, der aus künstlerischen Interventionen von Alison Darby und Sabrina Brückner entstand.

Laura Engelhardts experimenteller Dokumentarfilm Aufzeichnungen aus der Nachbarschaft (26 min.) konzentriert die zweijährige Beobachtung eines Berliner Innenhofs, in dem Projektentwickler einen Wohnkomplex zum Weiterverkauf errichten. Im Prozess des Bauens erzählt eine Frau von körperlicher Stagnation und ihrem eigenwilligen Leben. Der Film setzt Prozesse der städtischen Verdrängung in intime Beziehung mit Fragen nach sozialer Herkunft und körperlicher Fragilität.

Im Anschluss des Spaziergangs und Screenings werden wir gemeinsam künstlerische Praxen der Kollaboration, Darstellung und des Widerstand im Zusammenhang einer sich gentrifizierenden Stadt besprechen.

Laura Engelhardt wurde 1988 in Bremen geboren und studierte Architektur und Kunst in London, Stuttgart und Berlin. Momentan absolviert sie das postgraduale Studium Mediale Künste an der Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln. Ihre filmischen Arbeiten untersuchen gebaute und imaginierte Architekturen und setzen sich mit der fragilen Beziehung zwischen Subjekt, Körper und (gebauter) Umwelt auseinander. Sie lebt und arbeitet als Filmemacherin und Künstlerin in Berlin und Köln.

Josephine Findeisen (*1990, Dresden) studierte ‘Tanz, Kontext, Choreographie‘ (UdK Berlin). In ihrer choreographischen Praxis betrachtet sie marktbasierte und soziale Realitäten und untersucht deren Einfluss auf bewegte Körper. Sie tanzt für verschiedene Choreografinnen, u. a. Isabelle Schad (Pieces and Elements 2016, INSIDE OUT 2018, Reflection 2019), Zuzanna Ratajczyk (AFTERNOON 2015, Bless This Place 2018), Alexandra Pirici (Aggregate 2017, Fluids. A happening by Allan Kaprow 2015) und Okwui Okpokwasili (Sitting on a Man’s Head 2018).

Sonja Hornung (*1987) ist eine in Melbourne geborene Künstlerin. Ihre künstlerische Praxis bewegt sich zwischen Installationen, hergestellten Situationen im urbanen Raum und Zeichnungen und dreht sich um den Versuch, emanzipierte Formen in schon bestehenden Systemen einzusetzen. Sie studierte Geisteswissenschaften und Kunst in Melbourne und Berlin, wo sie seit 2012 wohnt und arbeitet.

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