Table Topics “Artistic Intervention”

The table Artistic Intervention, hosted by Prof. Mathilde ter Heijne (Kunsthochschule Kassel) and Prof. Dr. Dorothea von Hantelmann (Kunsthochschule Kassel) will focus on the perspective of the artists and their impact on museum rituals.

Since their inception museums have increasingly solidified their position as powerful rituals for contemporary liberal societies, emphasises Dorothea von Hantelmann. They enact and practise a set of values and categories that have been – and mostly still are – fundamental for modern societies, such as the notion of the individual, forms of liberal government, the concept of progress and the primacy of the material object. Meaningful artistic interventions into the museum are attempts to reconfigure this ritual. They imply a work on the corporeal, sensorial, spatial and temporal regimes of the museum.

Mathilde ter Heijne’s artistic Intervention, the video installation Pulling Matter from Unknown Sources, will be on view in the upcoming exhibition Springer, Nochmals in the African department of the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem. This project relates to her long-standing collaboration with Togbé Hounon Hounougbo Bahousou, a Togolese Voodoo priest, living in Berlin. It started with his inauguration as Voodoo priest in Togo for which he invited Mathilde to come and make photographs. Instead of taking documentary pictures of the event, Mathilde suggested making an art project about it instead to capture more subjective views on what was going to happen, and to try to find a form of contemporary representation for Vodou rituals still practiced in Africa, and also in Berlin. She also wanted to offer a part of herself that could maybe be used for a Togolese materialization of her own (invisible) identity, or “soul”. For Mathilde, ritual and ceremony are structures for artistic observation and potential emancipation. Her video documentation serves as both a window into a different but nonetheless parallel reality but also a mirror whereby the viewer can destabilize ingrained notions of religion, dominance, and power.

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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