in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Experimenting with micropolitical and holistic transdisciplinary advances, in which the cognitive reciprocally intertwines with the non-semiotic, Berit Fischer reconsiders in her doctoral research what an ‘ex-hibition’ can be, how else ideas can be ‘ex-hibited’ or rather ‘in-habited’ and made experienced beyond curatorial forms of display, representation and beyond the consumption of in particular the visual. How can the curatorial achieve a more self-determined aesthetic and discursive form of practice, that not only questions the curator’s role and the paradigm in which she ought to operate, but one that actively engages and dissolves an on-looking audience; a practice that strives to nurture agency and partaking protagonists.
Through the Radical Empathy Lab –an on-going social and research laboratory for relational, alternative and holistic knowledge production– Fischer proposes what she calls “intra-“ and “affective transformative curation”, that embraces what Brazilian theorist Suely Rolnik defines as “the knowing body”. A curation that emphasises the sensual and experiential and that sharpens our senses for an “active micropolitics”. In her curatorial approach she seeks creating “conscientization” (Paulo Freire), a critical consciousness towards exploring new forms of being together that momentarily allow to reflect, to re-feel and undo a reactionary an-aesthesia (Greek: an-aesthēsis: without sensation). The Radical Empathy Lab investigates the relation between micro and macro dimensions of agency. It encompasses recovering and re-learning subaltern knowledges, practices and forms of relating and of self-empowerment, that decolonise and de-subjectivate the (social) body and its relationality to the other.
Berit Fischer is a PhD researcher at the Winchester School of Art/Southampton University, UK, and has worked as an (in-)dependent curator and writer internationally since 1999. Beyond the PhD, her curatorial research interests lie on critical spatial practices, socially produced spaces, the specification of art as a producer of new knowledge, as a means to permeate the status quo, the creation of fields of action, and the development of spaces for critical engagement and affective encounter. She has published articles in Afterall (London), Onomatopee (Eindhoven) and be Magazin (Berlin) amongst others, and both edited and contributed to the books New Spaces for Negotiating Art (and) Histories in Africa (co-edited with Kerstin Pinther and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, 2015), Hlysnan: The Notion and Politics of Listening (2014), and Other Possible Worlds – Proposals on this Side of Utopia (2011).
She has presented tutorials, lectures, and workshops around the world, including at Making Futures School (Berlin), Bergen University (Norway), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), Nottingham Trent University (UK), and the Soma (Mexico City). She was a co-founding curator of The Brewster Project (New York, 2001), is a member of IKT and the Errant Sound working group (Berlin). Curatorial projects include The Articulating Body – Experiments on De-configuring Reactionary Anaesthesia (University of Bergen, Norway), Affective Listening (Errant Sound, Berlin), The Vibratile Body (Radical Intention, Italy), Revolution Without Movement (Galeria Hit, tranzit.sk, Bratislava), Hlysnan: The Notion and Politics of Listening (Casino Luxembourg Forum d`Art Contemporain, Luxembourg), Other Possible Worlds – Proposals on this Side of Utopia (nGbK, Berlin), Brooklyn Waterfront Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition (New York), Dumbo Arts Festival (New York), Intrude 366 (Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai), and City Beats (BankART, Yokahama).