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Mondays from 14:00 – 17:00, Seminarraum

First meeting: (exceptionally) 18.04.2024 from 14:00-17:00


Following up the topics explored in the previous semester, in which an overview on the relationship between emotions, such as shame and fear and practices of justice were outlined, this seminar will explore forms of mobilization of individuals and communities, and in particular, it will focus on affect and empathy as mobilizing tools.

Do all images move, or propel effects in other bodies? Is the affectivity a characteristic of the image itself, or does it stay in the observer? What images are able to trigger actions? And what kind of actions?

The seminar will propose, on the one side, an introspection in each of us as affective publics, intending with these term engaged observers performing the online and offline sphere and establishing connections among bodies and spaces. On the other, it will question whether, how, and in what circumstances affect and empathy mobilize us, and what the tangible and ungraspable effects of this activation are. Additionally, the status of images as ambiguous visual narratives will be discussed, and in relation to that also the political and social responsibility of artists, who through aesthetics can contribute to writing counter-stories, shape memories, and ultimately propel justice and dignity.

Sociologist Deborah Gould refers to the etymological links and shift in register from the term affect to the word uprising. Affect as being affected, and being moved. Emotion has to do with motion. Movement, from the post-classical Latin movementum, means ‘motion,’ and earlier, movimentum, means ‘emotion,’ and then later, ‘rebellion,’ or ‘uprising’ (Gould, 2009). Within his frame, affect, bodily intensities, emotions, and feelings are all involved in mobilizations, intended as collective gestures of assembling bodies in preparation for action.

The seminar is praxis-oriented. It will revolve around the above-mentioned trajectories, which will be explored through readings that will be discussed and analyzed collectively, reflections upon artworks as case studies, as well as visits to exhibitions, and studio visits with artists. The praxis seminar aims to be a shared space where students are committed to developing their individual artistic practices and will benefit from regular collective presentations and exchanges with the entire group to question their work, and progress with it. During the seminar, active participation, and personal contributions to the topics discussed are expected. Furthermore, regular presentations of the stages of development of the projects are required.

Activism is connected to political feelings, and in turn, they are directly related to political life. Empathy, as the attitude of putting oneself in other’s shoes is the ability of embracing someone else feelings, and it works as a social and political relation involving the imbrication of cognitive, perceptual, and affective processes. The use of technological devices and the internet as tools that alternatively increase and limit the capacity of the body have influenced how we as spectators feel and, in turn, express empathy, and the ways connectedness among bodies is experienced. Within this frame, either through images of suffering, or of people's mobilizations the cause of someone else has interrogated spectators and their status in an increasingly challenging way. Turning us into permanently connected eyewitnesses, and simultaneously addicted voyeurs in search of pieces of proof, images of pain, as well as visual testimonies of civil dissent question the viewer on spectatorship in relation to agency and vision in relation to action. By invoking the right to the image, Syrian collective Abounaddara raised a crucial counterposition to the repetition of violence that the excessive production and viral circulation of visual pieces of evidence of pain and death create. In particular, reflecting upon the exposure and self-exposure of Syrian corpses in wartime, Abounaddara put into discussion the set of existing hierarchies among defenseless bodies that the Western eye has outlined. However, witnessing turns us into responsible ethical participants, and positions us as actors in the public space that we are experiencing, where media and circumstances define our role (Taylor, 2003). Defining “affective publics” as “networked publics that are mobilized and connected, identified, and potentially disconnected through expressions of sentiment” (Papacharissi, 2015, 5), scholar Zizi Papacharissi stresses affect and empathy with someone else cause as fundamental elements at the basis of connectedness.

The output of the praxis seminar is the creation of a final artwork (video, performance, sound piece, texts, multimedia project), which can be a continuation of the project developed in the previous seminar, or a new one.

As part of the seminar’s cooperation, this semester the class will collaborate with Sumac Space, Berlin, a non-for profit platform presenting contemporary art from the Middle-East and experimenting with digital forms of art presentation. In June 2024, on the occasion of a one-week program of film screenings, and encounters at Sumac Space, the students will have the opportunity to organize a one-day event including workshops, performances, and installations. The works and discourses presented at Sumac Space will be part of the seminar assignment, and will be directly connected, or an integration of the final works for the Rundgang in July 2024.


-Gould, Deborah, Moving Politics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009 -Papacharissi, Zizi. “Affective publics and structures of storytelling: sentiment,

events and mediality.” Information, Communication & Society, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1109697, 2015.

-Papailias, Penelope, “Witnessing to survive Selfie videos, live mobile witnessing and black necropolitics.” In Kerstin Schankweiler, Verena Straub & Tobias Wendl (eds.), Image testimonies: witnessing in times of social media. Routledge (2019).

-Taylor, Diana, “Lost in the Fields of Vision.” In The Archive and the Repertoire. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.



Modul IV: Praxisseminar: Herstellung von Veröffentlichungsmedien für das Theorie-Praxis- Projekt II


Sommersemester 2024


Montag, 14:00 – 17:00

Erster Termin