Research Project

In Their Own Words (ITOW)*
In Their Own Words (ITOW)* seeks to explore and bring together the rich yet largely neglected repertoire of women artists’ conversations made in the pioneering phase of feminist art and art historical practices. The research focuses on the contexts in which the return of the dialogic form of the art interview can help to establish a methodology that is conducive to and suited to an inclusive contemporary art history from an intersectional feminist perspective. In particular, the revaluation of audio interviews confronts us with the challenge of incorporating these data into the wider art historical narrative. Today, the interview operates as much as a device for recording history in the making as it does as a retrospective tool, aimed at rethinking artistic practice collectively. In what way is such a form less reliable or legitimate than a narrative told by a single voice? To what extent do sound composition and editing differ from the practice of transcribing an event in an ‘as-told-to’ form?

Main applicants: Prof. Dr. Julie Enckell and Prof. Dr. Federica Martini
Research associate: Olivia Alexandra Fahmy
Research assistants: Alex Gence and Loreleï Regamey
Funding: Hes-so Gender

Decolonizing Socialism: Entangled Internationalism. An Intersectional Study of Cold War Projects from East Germany in Cinema and Cybernetics with Relevance for the 21st Century
The objective of the case-based Research Project is a decolonial analysis of under-researched or disregarded Cold War projects with a focus on cybernetics, internationalism, art and cinema from the Global Cold War period with relevance to the 21st Century. Situated in the field of Visual Cultures, the Research Project aims to mobilize practice-based approaches to engage in the critical analysis of case studies of art practices from socialist geographies of the Cold War period from Europe with a specific focus on operational concepts of cybernetics and internationalism. In this framework, the project’s cross-disciplinary, practical and trans-historical approach aims to foster an awareness for anti-colonial movements, anti-fascist actions and solidarity initiatives in the Global Cold War period with regards to the debates of the period about technology, science, technopolitics, philosophy and art, and what these debates mean for us as well as how they affect us today.
Furthermore, the Research Project follows the principles of “advanced research practices” as developed by the European Forum for Advanced Practices, supported by European Cooperation in Science and Technology, i.e., COST Action 2018-2020.

Leading institution: HEAD – Genève, CCC Research-Based Master Programme, Fine Arts
Applicant and Project Manager Prof. Dr. Doreen Mende
Project team: Project Collaborator Vinit Agarwal, FNS-funded Doctoral Researcher Lea Marie Nienhoff, Prof. Dr. Kenny Cupers, University of Basel
Project Partners: Prof. Charles Esche, Van Abbe Museum Eindhove, Dr. Anselm Franke, House of the World Cultures Berlin
Financing: FNS, HEAD – Genève

The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva (TAAG)
The project is an interdisciplinary research project that studies responses to socially caused global environmental change. Through interviews and fieldwork, TAAG researches and documents the diverse ways that the humans and nonhumans of one urban ecology, the city and region of Geneva, are responding to planetary change. A research focus on human actors and their networks (including citizens, activists, and artists, as well as scientific institutions, international organizations, and NGOs) establishes a context for encounters with nonhuman actants and agents (migrating climates, trees with ritual functions, receding glaciers, endangered species, mobile toxins).

TAAG combines field research, critical reflection, and artistic practices. This multimedia website includes an archive of video interviews and local sites and objects, which can be accessed through the homepage map of the Geneva region. The interviews, conducted in 2017 and 2018, document the knowledge, experiences, practices, and views of scientists, artists, activists, and citizens from diverse professions. Exemplary local sites and objects are also investigated and documented. A glossary explicates relevant key terms, local place names, species names, and groups or events of special interest; it also contains critical commentary and new representations of the so-called Anthropocene. The glossary interfaces with the map and archive of interviews, sites, and objects, and is supported by a bibliography. Information about the interdisciplinary research methodology is provided in the notes on methods, on the website. All of these elements together form The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva.

TAAG is a research project of HEAD – Genève / Geneva School of Art and Design that is supported by an award from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The project is carried out by four researchers in art and philosophy (Gene Ray, Aurélien Gamboni, Janis Schroeder, and Kate Stevenson) at HEAD – Genève / Geneva School of Art and Design, supported by the TAAG Advisory Research Group, a network of international scholars, researchers, and artists working in diverse disciplines and media. The TAAG research takes place over two years (2017 and 2018), during which time the TAAG website will be added to continuously and developed into the final online Atlas.

TAAG website:

Politics of Memory and Art Practices: The Role of Art in Peace and Reconstruction Processes [PIMPA/PPR], codirected by Pierre Hazan and Catherine Queloz
The project Politics of Memory and Art Practices: The Role of Art in Peace and Reconstruction Processes [PIMPA / PPR] is concerned with the representation in the public space of massive violations of human rights. Since the 1980s, the will to commemorate has been manifested in a proliferation of remembrance initiatives, from the creation of memorials, the introduction of minutes of silence and changes in street names, to thematic exhibitions of contemporary art, or the development of “dark tourism” at the scene of massacres and concentration camps.

The role of artistic practice has yet received little study, despite the fact that remembrance initiatives appear to be an integral part of the politics of reconciliation.

Although many researchers in the fields of human rights, Peace Studies, political science, history and philosophy have recognized the importance of remembrance initiatives in reconciliation processes, they rarely question the artistic form and societal impact of such initiatives.