Touching the Void: A Conversation Between Clarissa Thieme, Jan Verwoert and Mario Asef
This podcast was created on the occasion of Clarissa Thieme’s solo show Can’t you see them? at Errant Sound Berlin, November 2019.(In collaboration with Library Hamdija Kresevljakovic Video Arhiv, Sarajevo. Video 8 footage by Nedim Alikadic, Sarajevo, Grbavica, May 2, 1992. The exhibition was the second in a series of exhibitions presented under the title Visual Approach to Sound, which aims to reflect on sound from the perspective of visual art. For this series, visual artists are invited to present works that are based on the forms and methods of visual art, but which also include a central acoustic aspect. Visual Approach to Sound was conceived and organized by Mario Asef for Errant Sound, Berlin.)
Can’t you see them? presented, in a site-specific installation, the ongoing serial work Can’t you see them? by Berlin-based Clarissa Thieme, highlighting the artist’s engagement with the Library Hamdija Kreševljaković Video Arhiv in Sarajevo.
CYST investigates subjective testimony in the context of collective traumatic events (such as the Yugoslav wars) and their reconstruction through technical & juridical means. It attempts to trace the fissures that open up between the languages of individual memory and their translation into procedures of historical objectification.
At the core of CYST there is a 45′ video clip that Thieme found in the Library Hamdija Kreševljaković Video Arhiv, shot by Nedim Alikadic in Sarajevo at the beginning of the city’s siege in 1992.
Using motion tracking, Thieme performed a metadata analysis of the video’s shaky handheld camera that is facing an unforeseeable threat, calculating its position and movement. She then fed this data into a light-projecting motion control system. The resulting light signal moves, changes direction, and trembles, creating a sounding body full of fear and anxiety behind the moving images.
The podcast touches on various aspects of Thieme’s work and the problem of traumatic archives and their relation to art more generally.
Clarissa Thieme is an artist and filmmaker. Working across film, photography, performance, installation and text, she combines documentary and fictional forms focusing on processes of memory, politics of identity and strategies of translation. Her practice is research-based and often takes a collaborative approach. Thieme studied Media Art at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and holds a MA in Cultural Studies and Aesthetic Practice from Hildesheim University. Thieme lives and works in berlin.
Jan Verwoert is a critic and writer on contemporary art and cultural theory, based in Berlin. He is a contributing editor of frieze magazine, his writing has appeared in different journals, anthologies and monographs. He was a professor for theory at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, taught at the Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam, and was a visiting professor at the Royal Academy, London as well as at the Graduate School of the Berlin Center for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences (BAS).