CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #3: Axel Braun

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #3: Axel Braun

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The web series CLOSE ENCOUNTERS portrais the wide range of media artistic work in NRW. For many years and decades, the region has been home to outstanding positions in this field. It is a great pleasure for us to meet some of the artists behind those works and present them in video portraits. Step by step, this will provide an overview of the diversity of media art that is characteristic of NRW. In May we were able to accompany the artist duo Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten to a special filming location near the Hambach Forest. This was followed in summer by a double episode with the artists Nico Joana Weber and Vanja Smiljanić. We are now looking forward to going deeper into conversation with the Essen artist Axel Braun.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #3
Climate change is extremely central to the question of how we want to live in the future. All the more moving is the work of Axel Braun, who in the third episode of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS presents some of his projects related to ecological issues in a studio discussion with Fabian Saavedra-Lara (Head of Office medienwerk.nrw). Together, the two delve deeper into the artist’s working practice, which deals with the long-term consequences of human influence on nature and its complex causes. Axel Braun examines impressive landscapes such as glaciers or forest areas and large infrastructure projects in case studies. He interviews experts in this field and brings his photo and video productions into a dialogue with archive materials and current research results. In this way, he makes the clear traces of the Anthropocene visible in different regional contexts and makes their historical, social, economic and political interconnections tangible.

Axel Braun is an artist and photographer. He studied at Folkwang University of the Arts and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. With a growing collection of case studies, he attempts to trace the path of humanity into an age of the earth determined by humaniuty itself. In addition to ecological issues, he is particularly interested in the political, economic, social and cultural implications of the processes involved. He presents the results of his work in mixed-media installations, artist books and lecture performances.

More info on Axel’s works on www.axelbraun.org

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.1: Nico Joana Weber

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.1: Nico Joana Weber

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The web series CLOSE ENCOUNTERS makes the wide range of media art in NRW visible. For many years and decades, the region has been home to outstanding artistic positions in this field, and it is a great pleasure for us to meet and present the artists in our video portraits. Step by step, this will provide an overview of the diversity of media art that is characteristic of NRW. In May, we joined the artist duo Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten to a special filming location near the Hambach Forest.

Now Office medienwerk.nrw presents two new episodes of the series with the artists Nico Joana Weber and Vanja Smiljanić. With curators Kerstin Meincke and Nada Schroer, the two fellows of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for Media Art (2018 and 2019) talk about selected projects from recent years and what moves their work.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.1

Artist Nico Joana Weber and curator and scientist Kerstin Meincke recall their joint research trip to Nigeria, during which the artist investigated traces of colonial history in architecture. The legibility of such structures and their transformative significance in urban space in cities such as Paris, Lagos or Ibadan is a recurring theme in the works of Nico Joana Weber. The conversation focuses on her work Tropic Telecom, in which one explores a Parisian suburb alongside an extraordinary protagonist on the threshold between documentary and fiction.

Nico Joana Weber works with video, photography and multimedia spatial installations. She studied Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths College in London and completed her postgraduate studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in 2013. In her work, she negotiates the aesthetic and political imprints of architecture and landscape in transcultural contexts.

More info about the artist on nicojoanaweber.com

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.2: VANJA SMILJANIĆ

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.2: VANJA SMILJANIĆ

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The web series CLOSE ENCOUNTERS makes the wide range of media art in NRW visible. For many years and decades, the region has been home to outstanding artistic positions in this field, and it is a great pleasure for us to meet and present the artists in our video portraits. Step by step, this will provide an overview of the diversity of media art that is characteristic of NRW. In May, we joined the artist duo Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten to a special filming location near the Hambach Forest.

Now Office medienwerk.nrw presents two new episodes of the series with the artists Nico Joana Weber and Vanja Smiljanić. With curators Kerstin Meincke and Nada Schroer, the two fellows of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for Media Art (2018 and 2019) talk about selected projects from recent years and what moves their work.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2.2

At the artist’s invitation, the conversation between Vanja Smiljanić and curator Nada Schroer took place in Vanja’s Cologne studio. Together they reflect – in a creative environment – on the artist’s way of working, which often revolves around spiritual movements and historical practices as well as the transfer of these practices into a contemporary context. In the process, Vanja Smiljanić takes the audience on a journey in films, installations and performances. In the interview, she shares thoughts on her own experiences in the field of Past-Life Therapy and talks to Nada Schroer about what she takes away from her work with different communities.

Vanja Smiljanić is a visual and performance artist. She concluded the post-master in Artistic research at A.pass, Brussels, MFA at the Dutch Art Institute (DAI), Arnhem and Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln and got a degree in Fine Arts at the Faculdade de Belas Artes de Lisboa. Smiljanić’s focus is in interdisciplinary projects and her research lies in cross methods within the fields of visual arts, video and performance.

REVISITED: RESERVATE DER SEHNSUCHT #film

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REVISITED: RESERVATE DER SEHNSUCHT #film

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Just want you to be (2021) by Ale Bachlechner
HD Video, 15:52 min, colour, sound
Director, camera, editor: Ale Bachlechner
Music: Julian Prießen
Sound: Jonathan Kastl
Artistic assistant: Olivia Platzer

In the web series Revisited, actors in media art and digital culture from NRW embark on an artistic research. Each episode focuses on an event or development from the history of the media arts in the region. Changing topics are examined from several, contemporary perspectives. In this way, past experiences and knowledge are made accessible again and communicated in a new way. The research results stand for themselves and complement each other at the same time. Each multi-part episode featuring audio pieces, short films and essays invites you to enter a moment of media art.

The first episode focuses on the exhibition Reservate der Sehnsucht by HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein, which took place in 1998 in Dortmund. Not only did the exhibition, which presented 30 international artistic positions in the impressive half-demolished ruin of a former brewery Union-Brauerei (now Dortmunder U), anchor the media arts even more firmly in the Ruhr area. It can moreover be considered as groundbreaking in the field of restructuring and new ultilisation of old industrial sites in the region.

The Webseries Revisited now enters its second round. In her filmic exploration for Revisited: Reservate der Sehnsucht, artist Ale Bachlechner examines different associative fields that came to light during her research on the exhibition through the catalogue and interviews. She traces connections such as ‘fear-security-disaster’ or ‘leisure-pleasure-consumption’ and gives them new layers with the help of her own private film material.

In her artist statement, she explains her approach as follows: “These keywords are still relevant and very affective in 2021. At the same time, I noticed that autobiographical or autofictional approaches were rather rare in the exhibition. Only a few works focused on the artists themselves, attention was directed more outwards. For ‘Just want you to be‘ this led me to use private film material from my mobile phone for the first time. In this idiosyncratic archive of my last three years, I found a surprising number of parallels to Reservate der Sehnsucht, visually and in terms of content.”

Ale Bachlechner is a performance and video artist living in Cologne. She studied Comparative Literature in Innsbruck and at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her work includes the temporary dating agency “Twelve Roses” (2013) in Beirut, the performance coaching institute “This Is Not A Competition” (2016) and the online television format “Studio Hallo” (2018). Since 2018 she is a member of the Young College of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Her work is in the archive and programme of the IMAI Foundation and has been presented at festivals, symposia and exhibitions e.g.: Art Cologne, Videonale, Impulse, EMAF Osnabrück, Kassel Dokfest and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

Further information on alebachlechner.com

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #1: JANA KERIMA STOLZER AND LEX RÜTTEN

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #1: JANA KERIMA STOLZER AND LEX RÜTTEN

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The new web series CLOSE ENCOUNTERS aims to visualize the wide range of media arts in NRW. For many years and decades, the region has been home to outstanding positions in this field. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS presents video portraits of the artists behind the projects – with their practices, thoughts, and questions. Four times a year, this dialogical space opens up, in which artists share their ideas with the audience at different locations and with changing conversation partners. The result is a mosaic-like overview of the diversity of media art that characterizes NRW.

In spring 2021, for the first episode of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #1, we will accompany the two artists Jana Kerima Stolzer and Lex Rütten to the surface mine surrounding Hambacher Forst: an environment that forms the foundation of the work “Pawāaraibu-filling the vacuum”. Curator Marijke Lukowicz (Emscherkunstweg) spoke with the duo from Dortmund about their artistic work.

Lex Rütten & Jana Kerima Stolzer have been working together as an artist duo for four years. The starting point of their multimedia installations and performances is often the intertwining of humans with their technological environment and the resulting narratives and emotional challenges. In the past, the duo has realized projects both in the independent theater scene and in exhibition contexts.

More info about the artists on thisisinternet.de