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The web series CLOSE ENCOUNTERS makes the wide range of media artistic work in NRW (North Rhine-Westfalia) visible. For many years and decades, outstanding positions in this field have been located in the region, and it is a great pleasure for us to meet some of these artists and present them in video portraits. Step by step, this provides 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.

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 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 Braun