The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics

Künstlerische Forschung


The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics –
a transdisciplinary research project

The idea
Over the last few years, there has been a raising importance of and interest in bodily gestures. With gestural interfaces like smart phones, tablet computers and camera based controllers contemporary computer media is approximating the human body and formalizing its movement as gestures. Video memes based on dance (e.g. Gangnam-Style, Harlem-Shake) or on gestures (e.g. TechnoViking) highlight the tension between repetition and variation. And the performance and visual arts intensified their examination of alien, historical and social gestures by copying or re-enacting them (e.g. Sharon Hayes: In the Near Future, 2008; Andrea Geyer: Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, 2009).
The proposed project The Entanglement between Gesture, Media and Politics is based on current rise of ubiquitous media technology and its interdependency with bodily gestures. The project will investigate its correspondence with changes in the relationship between human bodies and (media) technologies as well as in the communication between human bodies in the societal and political sphere.

Methodological approaches and goals
The project’s hypothesis is that the entanglement between gesture and media became a precondition, not only for global reach-out of messages, but also for the everyday life of individuals. The project’s research questions are formulated as followed:
• How is ubiquitous media technology responsible for scientists’ and artists’ current interest in political gesture
• How are other significant aspects aside from technology propelling this tendency?
• Based on these questions the research project aims to answer the methodological question how does the project’s research design facilitate the interdisciplinary cooperation in order to create valide and relevant knowledge.

To ensure a continuous dialogue on equal terms between scholars, artists and scientists, the project members collaborate in a series of workshops alternating with phases of individual research and practice. By doing so, we will achieve a constant development of the collaboration through experiments and open encounters as well as a consistent reframing of the individual approaches and findings. Thus, moving in-between different methods, practices and distances we sharpen and deepen disciplinary investigation and development.

The project’s outcome in terms of products will be (1) a platform, which serves the cooperative work and communication between the participants in the phases before and between the workshops. We will (2) document the workshops and the participants, who will (3) produce their own disciplinary „products“ like art works, performances and articles. To engage with the public, the workshop series end (4) with a public festival, where the processes and findings will be presented, experienced and discusses with a broader audience. Finally, the project will submit a (5) white paper, where the workshop series will be documented and discussed as a prototype or framework for an interdisciplinary research methodology.

Dr. Florian Bettel, Wien
Dina Boswank, Berlin
Dr. Fabian Chyle, Amsterdam
Timo Herbst, Leipzig
Dr. Irina Kaldrack, Braunschweig/ Berlin
Laurie Young, Berlin

Founded by the Volkswagen Stiftung