The very unexpected and overall change that came along the Corona crisis occurred just when I joined the Social Design department as a visiting artist. All of a sudden this situation attached everything in everyone’s daily, personal and occupational life. The focus week, intentionally planned to take place in an off-space in the 20th district of Vienna, had to be shifted into the digital space. As my own artistic work deals with interpersonality, human communication in relation to physicality and the impact media have on our behavior, identity and emotions I considered the current circumstances as a productive potential for the focus week. As the participants and me were all – because of the lockdown – situated in our homes and could only meet online via a teleconference tool, we were directly confronted with the complex problems of such a prefabricated simulation of togetherness. On the screen we seem to be visually close and communicating to each other but in reality we were all spatially separated: together but alone, struggling with miscommunication, devoid of full body language, eye contact or human touch. This discomforting mirror of our disembodied and fractured self as a group sensitized to the importance of real physicality and activeness that accompany encounters when it comes to the development of a collective work, especially in the field of social design.
In the end and in my understanding, artistic practice is an active way to reflect on common situations and emotions in order to deal with them on a personal and collective level. Subsequently, – as we are promising and aware of our full physicality – we tried to bring a concept to life and matter in order to question, reshape, radiate and discuss it with the world in and outside the digital space.
- Summer Semester 2020
- Focus Week with Karin Fisslthaler