I really enjoy presenting my works and research at conferences. Unfortunately, most of my papers are rejected. This is their graveyard.
In much of my artistic practice I am working with archives. Sometimes the term “archive” is a fancier term for “found footage” and applied by me to a selection of material, but quite often, this refers to real archives, accumulated by others.
I have spent four years sifting through the visual remnants, left over by the notorious East German secret police, Stasi, while simultaneously trying to convince the West German security apparatus BND to cooperate with me on a similar endeavor. The fact, that the Stasi project resulted in a published book, while the BND project lead to them handing me thirteen random images and the frank order to shut up, left me question my role as an artist in uncovering “hidden” things.
Is it morally OK for me to reveal my discoveries from the East German archive, while knowing that other archives of the same nature remain closed? Or am I, by doing so, shift the perception of history in one way or the other?
In my presentation, I would like to talk about me accessing different archives and how this has become a part of my artistic approach. What can be learned about the state of things today, while sifting through decades old material? Besides that, I would like to voice my concerns about the role artists are playing in the contemporary perception industry, when it comes to fields like surveillance, war and terror. Fields that need our attention to fully develop their potential. Is art somehow becoming complicit, while trying to make things more visible?