by Solitude fellows

Schlossghost #1

In its new collective publication, Schlossghost #1, Akademie Schloss Solitude examines the ways in which politics meet artistic and aesthetic practices in contemporary societies. For this the Solitude-fellows who had residencies in 2014, 2015 and early 2016 were invited to reflect on following questions: »Would you say that your practice is political? If so, how would you describe its political dimension?« Schlossghost #1 takes over the role of the traditional yearbooks by the Akademie. Every second year since 1990 they were summarizing all the facets of the work done in Solitude and maintained as a final truth Stéphane Mallarmé’s affirmation that »the ultimate state of the world is a book«. This new publication has lost its materiality and exists only as a virtual yearbook, or one could say as the ghost of a book. WWW.SCHLOSS-GHOST.COM

They Produce Unusual and Loud Sounds

My art is not political, because as a composer I am involved in the most abstract kind of art – music. It is a sound world without semantic meanings, and this is what I very much like about it. But sometimes I have used my instruments in demonstrations, because people there usually play whistles or percussion to attract attention. My pipes work very well for these purposes, because they produce unusual and loud sounds. Thus they certainly attract notice.

Aesthetical and Political Constellations – An Artist’s Reading Diary

Let’s talk about: artivism/dramaturgy/practice My first encounter with the term »artivism« was in the mid-2000s, in the aftermath of Carlo Giuliani’s death at the G8 summit protests in Genoa, in the midst of the rise of notions such as »multitude,« »virtuosity,« »immaterial labor,« »exodus.« This coincided with the start of my engagement in the field of dramaturgy, another term then up-and-coming in the field of contemporary performing arts in Europe, dance in particular, and somehow none of it seemed immediate

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Aus unendlichen Sehnsüchten steigen

Apparently, there was a time when artists were able to do as they like and play with the rules imposed by the art and arts festival market, to the point where they forgot that what we had achieved in terms of artistic freedom had not just fallen into our laps. If some of the benefits Postmodernism brought opened the floodgates to this anything-goes mentality, the downside to this quite Faustian pact was a kind of dissipation of heritage. For the

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Poetic Scalpel

»Would you say that your (artistic) practice is political? If so, how would you describe its political dimension?« Thank you for the question. Our first reflex was to answer: Yes, our practice is political. It was without doubt. Our work deals with contemporary issues – climate change, management of fossil resources, food management – that suffer a lot from the lack of political courage and we felt that we could not clear ourselves of the responsibility. We raise questions and try

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Reading Like an MFA

In 2010, I returned to Pakistan after completing my MFA degree in fiction writing at Columbia University and began teaching at an undergraduate liberal arts program in Lahore. At the time, I believed my task as a literature instructor was relatively straightforward: to help students see multiple possibilities of a text. It might not sound like much, but it was significant in a context like Pakistan’s where a large function of literature in school curriculum is to serve politics. Just

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Politics Meets Neuroscience

The human nervous system is naturally designed to perform all activities in our everyday lives. The major information input and output unit of the central nervous system (CNS) is the brain. The smaller functional units in the brain are different neural networks and pathways that are composed of millions of individual neurons. Why should a neuroscientist like myself find that political aspects could be important and co-opted into an art form? That is a question I have often asked myself

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For a few years, the Congolese government has banned military-related games for children. The »plains game« is an organized war game involving children ages 6 to 18, which take place every year during the school holidays. The ban emphasized the link between children wanting to »play war« and the recruitment of child soldiers in various armed conflicts in The Democratic Republic of Congo. This desire has been largely provoked and sustained by these games. On the other hand, the violence

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Hands Make Mistakes

The candle composition was made in the winter of 2014 at studio 22 – my studio at the time when I was in the Schloss. Initially I planned to show these compositions as sculptures, but as hard as I tried I was unable to sustain the fire for longer periods. Later I decided to show these works as still photos. These pieces are nice memories for me from a period full of parties, new friends, and lots of »boredom.«

The Political Dimension in Documentary Filmmaking

»Would you say that your (artistic) practice is political? If so, how would you describe its political dimension?« When I was 18, I wanted to make films that would make people think, and possibly even alter their view of things. Not that I believed I got everything right myself. But I felt it was important to tell stories about my experiences and share them with others. That is my way of communicating. It was partly to draw attention to injustice

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Potted Plants

Against walls, windows, or doors of any given dwelling in this neighborhood brushes the greenery, at times mimicking a smooth faceted curtain, their leaves changing color and density along with the turn of the seasons. This foliage neither casts much shadow, nor would it always be urbane (one might easily overlook it for its modesty, as a high-rise with its uptight shape and glass shield always pierces the horizon in the mediate distance). This sprawling undergrowth adds another layer to

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President Mbeki could be considered culpable in the loss of many lives, due to his not rolling out of ARV drugs (anti-retroviral), in the fight against the AIDS pandemic. Let me aver, mistakes should not entail the loss of lives, especially if government is in error and thousands of lives are put in jeopardy, with death as consequence. Epidemiologists decry the disease of AIDS, but the impact of AIDS is much more than the disease, as I was soon to

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Ready, Set, Go!

01 What were your first thoughts while reading Solitude’s yearbook question? 02 Asking more precisely: What has been your most important recent political project? 03 In which way does this project make your life more political? 04 Which of your Solitude projects was the most political one, in your opinion? 05 What makes this project political for you? 06 What was the first political initiative you remember? 07 Have you ever considered going into politics? 08 How would you describe

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Written by, Performed by…

Thomas Puisquelaloi: In 2014, I started to reinvigorate my interest in more performative projects. I found myself busy questioning current modes of production and have since made three on-site projects (lecture/performance/event). These three projects all had in common the fact that they were an answer to an invitation and similarly were concerned with the specificities of the context they were presented in. Therefore each was working with the particular place and frame. In addition to coincidentally similar external determinates, there

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Cuba and »The Godfather« Back in 1974, you might have watched The Godfather (II), and thought it is impossible to make a sequel that was even better. You might not have been aware of it, but after The Godfather, all gangsters, hooligans, and despots began imitating Mario Puzo’s characters. Even I did. I once had plans to lay my bleeding dog Enzo on my bed, just to scare the hell out of my family. I had no good reason for

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Our New Life Must be Different from this Life, These Times. A World Must be Held Up Against the World.

Our new Life must be different from this Life, these Times. [1] A World must be held up against the World. [2] I. GDR, 1977. Life mapped out in advance: mother crèche nurse, grandparents farmers, vacancy on the paternal side, crèche, nursery, first day of school, ten years of polytechnical education at the Friedrich Engels School, Young Pioneer – blue scarf, Thälmann Pioneer – red scarf. This premapped life is going to run its course in a town in Mecklenburg,

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  1. Jump Up Louis Fürnberg
  2. Jump Up Uwe Johnson

For Sale

                            This page/space should have been mine, but since I haven’t found the time to fill it in – now it is potentially yours. If you want to officially own it, and use it to speak about the relationship between artistic practice and politics; I am selling it at a very good price! For more details contact me on:

The Lever

»Would you say that your (artistic) practice is political? If so, how would you describe its political dimension?« In answer to the posed question (very simply): Yes.     The Lever I spend hours as a gambler shovels coins in whatever currency we keep letting all our hours sleep in the unbreakable brains of our machines. When I pull the lever I know the lever. I know each second before each second knows me, but while I think this doubles me

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A Magical Continent

A Magical Continent [1] »But if you don’t do these sortings, these purges, and you allow the flow of paper to engulf you, considering it impossible to separate the important from the unimportant – wouldn’t that be insanity? When is that possible? It is possible when a person honestly doesn’t know which of these papers is important and which is not, why one principle of selection is better than another, and what distinguishes

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  1. Jump Up On André Breton’s collection: [accessed August 27, 2016]

»Yea, Verily, thou art Political«

The Akademie Schloss Solitude, an institution that I admire, a truly life-changing one for me, has requested answers, over correspondence, to the following questions; verbatim: »Would you say that your (artistic) practice is political? If so, how would you describe its political dimension?« Tricky inquiries. As it turned out, the investigation for sensible answers on these thorny questions has opened a Pandora’s box of conflicting points of view in me. Also, as it happens, at the time of writing these

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Liquidation Simulation April 8, 2016 SONE was a creative agency that sought to help businesses and consumers reimagine our current economic situation. I directed SONE, and it operated on a contract-to-contract basis with a team of freelance artists and thinkers. Our core function was to serve global markets of communicators in advertising, business, art, and journalism with high quality, pre-trend stock photo and video clips that circulate both on the art market and on the stock media market through sites like

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About Writing and Politics in Six Parts

1. These are questions I never want to answer – so maybe they are good prompts. And I guess the issues here – political impact, political orientation, is art inherently political in the world as it spins today, and in what ways – are ones that I’ve been thinking about in one way or another almost since I had an »artistic practice« to consider. The idea of writing as discovery of feeling (rather than political act) is something that’s more

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Riot in the Forest

This is the first time I created a story out of something I witnessed. It was in 2006. I was 23 and doing volunteer work in the rainforest of Ecuador. Beautiful and green but with copper and gold underneath. International companies were trying to get rid of the stubborn campesinos, who didn’t want to sell their land. Paramilitary were spreading tear gas to provoke them. A chaotic week of curfew, hostages, and helicopters started. I took many pictures and tried

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A Strong Sense of Place There is only one sense in which I consider my music to have a political agenda, and that is in advocating for a greater range of regional identity, beyond the broad strokes of national borders. In the United States, there is a pervasive drive towards entering one of the stylistic camps that thrive in the cultural capitals. Similarly in Europe there is «top-down» pressure to normalize to one of several regional schools: Darmstadt grit, the Paris Conservatory sheen, British/Dutch

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