The Angewandte Festival

As the first outcome of the project, two publications was in circulation during the Angewandte Festival.

The first publication “The Rehearsal” is a collaborative artist book that has been assembled and produced by the applicants of the Octopus Program 2020: Julia Stern (DAE / TEX), Sophia Bellouhassi Widmann (DEX / KKP) from University of Applied Arts Vienna and Marwa Manai and Younes Ben Slimane from Tunis. It was produced as part of the Spectral Encounters course that took place both at Department of Art and Communication Practices (KKP), Institute For Art Sciences And Art Education, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and B7L9, Kamel Lazaar Foundation in Tunis as a pilot application of the Octopus Programme. I contributed to the production phase through the conceptual design debates, as well as undertaking the graphic design and image processing of the book.

The second publication that I edited gathers the process of the “Spectral Encounters” course with the contributions of Anne Klontz, Olfa Feki, Bronwyn Lace, Marcus Neustetter, and Nadia Ayari . During and after the duration of the festival, the publication will be available and downloadable both from the programme’s website and also from the Angewandte Festival 2020’s Archive.


We met a few times (both as a group and through peer to peer Zoom meetings) this week to complete the final design of the artist book. I also uploaded images and some information to the Angewandte Festival Website about the programme and the these publications.


We continued working on and designing the collaborative artist book. It is important to show individual voices in this collaborative book. Sample page from Marwa Manai’s and Julia Stern’s dossiers in the book:

These collaborative working sessions created another form of communication that enabled us to review the projects in comparison with each other. Hence, all the design decisions—from the selection of the fonts to the layout, to the colours, to the order…etc.—were all discussed in details.


Today we hosted Nadia Ayari who is a Tunisian artist, based in New York, had an amazing and inspiring session with us.

She went through her venture with the contemporary art by explaining how her artistic identity evolved in New York along with many aspects of identity politics, art market, and production processes. Ayari was born and raised in Tunisia, then she moved to the United States in 2000 and received a B.A. in art history from Boston University, an M.F.A. in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. She began exhibiting her work internationally in 2008.



We worked on the collaborative artist book and also discussed some points with the idea-logs.


First, we shortly discussed the points Anne Klontz raised a week earlier, we continued working on the conceptual design of the book. The participants continued to meet after the class.

Zoom – Presentation/Lecture and Peer to peer Tutorials

Today, our guest was Anne Klontz from Konstfack, Stockholm, who gave a thought-provoking lecture on “Identity in a Globalized World”.

Prior to her lecture, she asked the participants to read the following text by Homi K. Bhabha (b 1949) on ‘hybridity and ‘moving beyond’ (pages 1110-1116) and she explained to us that she chose this text because there are several interesting aspects about identity and its connection to culture and globalization, specifically how cultural differences can be site for developing new meanings for identity. Then, she used some themes from the text as discussion points.

She emphasized how Bhabha illustrates how identity is a ‘hybridity’ and composed of many elements, and this is especially true in our globalized world. Then she posed a set of questions:

How would you describe your hybrid identity?

Does this identity play a role in your practice?

Then, she moved to Bhabha’s references of the notion of ‘beyond’ in his text. On page 1113 he describes the ‘beyond’ as a spatial distance, that it marks progress and promises the future, and on page 1114, he describes the notion of ‘beyond’ as a space for intervention.

She found connections to this ‘beyond’ space of intervention in each of the participants’ proposals to the Octopus programme. She asked the participants to reflect on their practice or a project they think contributes to this realm to share with the group.

We also watched two small clips together. The first one was an interview with the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, whose work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization.

Yinka Shonibare’s Interview

And the second one was a short statement by Daniel Birnbaum, the artistic director for Venice Biennale in 2009, on the perception of contemporary art in the age of globalization.

As a final conclusion to the discussion, Anne Klontz shared her experiences working with Momentum  and the biennial’s history as a case study about how globalization has affected artists in the Nordic region.


Discussions on the parts of the book continued with the input accumulated with the participants working sessions. Apart from the “dossiers” of each —that manifests their individual project—, there will be the into part: speculation of the name of the Octopus programme; letters among the participants; and a conversation (either in written form or as visuals) through some questions that they would pose to each other. Basak Senova would be gathering all of these components in A5 formatted book through a collaborative design process.


The discussion on the collaborative project concluded with the idea to produce a collaborative artist book. A supplementary publication will be added by Basak Senova that would gather the notes on the process along with the texts written by the guest lecturers. The process of working on the book started. The participants scheduled to have four extra gatherings apart from the class hours for the coming two weeks.

Zoom – Presentation/Lecture and Peer to peer Tutorials

Today we had the Tunisian curator Olfa Feki as our guest lecturer.

Olfa Feki first presented International Festival of Photography, Videography and Digital Arts in Kerkennah and talked about how the island created a social environment for the participating artists and the audience. She also talked about the visibility of the photography works.

Festival of Photography, Videography and Digital Arts in Kerkennah


After her presentation, we had discussions on the interdisciplinary collaborations and the segregations. She gave us an insight view of the Tunisian contemporary art scene. Marwa and Younes added their views. Finally, she gave tutorials to the participants through peer to peer sessions, while the others continued with discussing the collaborative project and their individual projects.


The discussion on a collaborative project continued, hence, we decided to omit the idea of using an online platform to make a public discussion but to use the Octopus Programme website as a”venue” to present a collaborative project. The brainstorming sessions lead to produce an umbrella project to depict the dialogue among the participants, while keeping and presenting the individual projects. Each participant also updated the lecturer and the other participants with the latest developments and current situation of their artistic research.


With an extra class, we started to discuss our possible contribution to the Angewandte Festival. A few ideas about using the online platforms came into surface, nevertheless, we need to think more about a collaborative production process. The participants decided to have further communication and meetings after the classes for the coming 3 weeks.


First, we discussed the topics that Bronwyn and Marcus raised 2 weeks ago (before the Easter holiday), then we talked about each project by taking the suggestions and critiques of Bronwyn and Marcus into consideration.

Zoom – Presentation/Lecture and Peer to peer Tutorials

Bronwyn Lace and Marcus Neustetter were the first guest lecturers of the Spectral Encounters course. They are both artists from South Africa, currently moved to Vienna. As artists and cultural workers, they have an immense experience with developing cross-cultural collaborative projects, hence they generously shared valuable information and insights from those experiences with us.

Bronwyn Lace presented her work and process as co-founder and director of the Centre for the Less Good Idea, an interdisciplinary incubator space for the arts. Founded by South African artist William Kentridge, the Centre creates and supports experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts projects. The Centre is a physical and immaterial space to pursue incidental discoveries made in the process of producing work.

Some documentary videos from the Centre: https://vimeo.com/lessgoodidea

The Centre is a space that allows for impulses, connections and revelations. It’s a physical performance space for artists to come together and for curators to bring together combinations of text, movement, sound and image.The Centre believes an ensemble sees the world differently to how one individual does. It is a safe space for failure, for projects to be tried and discarded because they do not work. It’s a space for short-form work which doesn’t have a natural home in a theatre or gallery.


Lace spoke to her interests in site specificity and responsiveness and her focus on the relationships between art and other fields, including physics, museum practice, philosophy, performance and education.


Marcus Neustetter presented case studies, collaborations, methodologies and processes of his 20 year project The Trinity Session with the intention of illustrating relevant conceptual, cross-disciplinary and alternative approaches that could stimulate the program participants.

Since 2001 The Trinity Session has been concerned with the logics of art-making in complex, social-public situations; where the dynamics of context, site, available resources, and creative solutions converge to create unique artistic conditions and opportunities.

On the activities of The Trinity Session: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXOm3i-qeRyQfs4VNMp-EWA

As global practicing artists, born and bred in Johannesburg. The politics of change in South Africa have motivated and inspired Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter to create partnerships and unique moments of collective practice in order to respond to and create positive change.

Having worked in many countries abroad, Johannesburg has always served as a catalytic reference point for how to think beyond the often-elitist structures of the art world, with a view to cultural production found in the public domain. To this extent The Trinity Session has co-produced numerous multi-media projects and events around the country and on the continent, with the objective of bringing knowledge back home.


Their inspiring presentations followed by discussions especially focusing on the public domain and the work with the communities. After this long discussion both Bronwyn and Marcus gave peer to peer tutorials to all the participants. So each participant had the opportunity to present her/his project twice by getting different feedbacks.

Zoom – Peer to peer

Today’s peer to peer sessions were first dedicated to some of the structural implementations of the website as the part of the process. Then, each participant discussed the content and progression of her/his research and the project with the lecturer. Each session was lasted from 1 to 2 hours.


This session was dedicated to create a network map of the keywords that the participants process in their projects. The participants and the lecturer worked on it manually. The lecturer will integrate this map by using a network mapping applications to the website, so that it will allow the participants to add further data in future. Each project was discussed one by one by while having discussions on the keywords and intersecting points of the on-going researches. In the mean time, each participant briefly presented their idea-logs along with the developments with their research.

Some suggestions regarding the participation to the Angewandte Festival 2020 and some further physical activities in both cities in Autumn were also discussed.


Due to the fact that the positive coronavirus cases rapidly increased in Austria, on 10 March 2020, the government announced that all universities would close their classes at the latest by 16 March. Travel restrictions followed that decision. All of these developments dictated drastic changes with the calendar and the structure of the Spectral Encounters Course.

Senova conducted peer to peer sessions with all the participants. The conceptual framework of the projects, working methodologies, and timeline of the programme were discussed. She also introduced and suggested some other writers and some references to the participants.

As one of the “distant learning” tools, Senova asked the participants to develop individual idea-logs and to share them weekly with the class. Extending the course to the next semester was also taken into consideration.

Besprechungsraum 13, The Angewandte, Vienna & Skype – KLF Office, Tunis

Each participant gave a brief and introductory presentation of her/his project. Each project was discussed by underlying the common reference points among the research strains and the fields of interest. Senova introduced some theoretical texts and terms, such as Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas about rhizomatic thinking and then the terms “Smooth and Striated Space” were discussed, or some examples of Vilém Flusser’s analysis on apparatus (in his book Towards a Philosophy of Photography) and Susan Sontag’s emphasis on context (in her book On Photography)…etc. Plenty of connections were made among the works and these references.

The class continued about the Vienna special programme and they started to propose additional venues and activities. Anne Klontz’s—of Konstfack (Stockholm)—lecture and workshop was confirmed for the 23rd of March. An assignment about “keywords” was given to the participants.

Besprechungsraum 13, The Angewandte, Vienna & Skype – KLF Office, Tunis

It was the first day of the class and it was used as an opportunity to present each participant’s visions and expectations, projected to the programme. The session provided insight into course expectations and requirements along with the Octopus Programme’s future goals. Then, each participant introduced her/himself and summarized their research and project proposals.

Both participants’ and instructor’s responsibilities were set. The class started to talk about the Tunis and Vienna special programmes that will be realized in April and May. In the meantime, requirements (such as Visa procedures, booking of flights..etc.) for these travels were also discussed.

initial meetings
The Angewandte, Vienna & Skype/Zoom

A set of meetings with the participants about the Octopus Programme and Spectral Encounter’s syllabus took place at Senova’s office or via Skype.