Could you further elaborate on this form of artistic research? What evolves from it?
Already in the early 2000s, Akademie Schloss Solitude actively strove to reach out to social spheres that usually are not directly connected to the art world, e.g., a cooperative project with the research campus of the German company Bosch. Art does have the potential to operate outside of specific patterns of thinking. This is a prerequisite for innovation and for shaping far-reaching transformations.
»I am deeply convinced that we are searching for something in art – and can sometimes even find it – that is being suppressed in our society.«
In the future, Akademie Schloss Solitude will position itself more vehemently in the field of artistic research, because we are convinced that artistic methods and approaches are of substantial value for creating knowledge and awareness, and thereby enable the launch of discursive processes.
In the near future, we will reflect upon the question of how we can strengthen transdisciplinary research even more rigorously. Beginning in autumn, seven of our fellows will form an international and transdisciplinary group in order to focus on the theme of »Mutation« and to work together on one particular question: How can knowledge from a wide array of different perspectives be brought together? A special focus of this new transdisciplinary program, which will be set up with the KfW Stiftung in Frankfurt, will be based on thinking about how knowledge generated from artistic thoughts, actions, and research can eventually be integrated and implemented into social processes.
After this year, the Akademie plans to initiate an art project in the public sphere, along its historical axis between Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg and Schloss Solitude. Could you please tell us a little more about this project and its contribution to society?
The working title of this project – »Kulturpfad« (Culture Path, or Trail) – aims to bring together our fellows as well as external artists with residents and associations actually located along Solitudeallee in order to ideally transform the historical avenue, which still physically exists, into a unifying element. For the project, an open-ended collaboration with local players is very important. Therefore formats like workshops, for us, are more suitable in contrast to what’s usually described as art in public spaces. At the end of last year we invited representatives from surrounding municipalities, residential initiatives, and universities to round-table discussions. The project sparked wide approval among attendees. They support our intention to make use of certain spaces along the historical axis in a joint creative and inventive process. Up until now, a surprising number of groups and institutions, e.g., the association Chloroplast, and the entire municipality of Stammheim, openly expressed their interest in the project. All in all, we aim at two things: to enable higher visibility for our fellows’ artistic work, and to thereby create new pathways and gateways to art. And, with surrounding municipalities, we want to reactivate this historical axis as a »Kulturpfad.«
You have already mentioned that you desire more and deeper collaboration with young people, both for the project »Kulturpfad« as well as, in general, for the Akademie’s programming. Could you elaborate on the reasons why you are interested in this age group? This will potentially lead us back to our point of departure in this conversation, i.e., the theme of transformation.
I am deeply convinced that we are searching for something in art – and can sometimes even find it – that is being suppressed in our society. In more concrete terms, I am referring to free artistic imagination and composition that takes place entirely detached from well-defined guidelines, and thus, clear principles, which ultimately limit our ways of thinking. Art has one major benefit: processes of thought, action, and research take place beyond realizability for the first time. And this exactly is where young people come into play – as in no other period of a person’s life, adolescence entirely revolves around experimenting with the self and transcending boundaries. From an anthropological standpoint, societies can only manifest progress if they are willing to consciously create spaces for adolescents. One could even translate puberty as a potential for transformation, because change is only possible if we are able to overcome what is limiting us and not are being intellectually robbed from the real experience.
In that sense, people of adolescent age and artists have something in common. I therefore intend to help them come together. As a first step in this direction, I have founded a think tank for young people at the Akademie; its activities will be developed further in the (near) future.
Would you be so kind as to reveal something about the series of lectures that started in July, in connection with the anniversary year?
To this series I have very deliberately invited thinkers, artists, and researchers, who have substantially diverse perspectives on the theme of transformation. Which »ingredients« are needed to better design our future with regard to social life, and the possibility to live in solidarity with one another? The Afro-Brazilian legal scholar Denise Ferreira da Silva will hold a lecture about social justice and everyday racism. She questions our constitution of difference and violent mechanisms that simultaneously occur. With the invitation of Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor I have intentionally chosen to bring a writer to the table whom I admire for her seemingly boundless power of imagination. Currently she is a member of the jury for literature at the Akademie Schloss Solitude.