Play is the mediator of the invisible and visible.

Dora M. Kalff 

The Octopus Programme presents an exhibition, a screening programme, a library project, a publication, and an online public programme for the Angewandte Festival.

Play gives hints about the artists’ research and works that have been developed within the structure of the Octopus Programme. Taking the research and process-based aspects into consideration, the presentation modes are selected and applied systematically through a logic of a play in the exhibition. This curatorial approach processes  boundaries and dialogues among the works by underlining the diversities that shape these relationships.

In the same vein, the exhibition takes place in a spacious seminar room in the renovated building of the University of Applied Arts Vienna at Vordere Zollamtsstraße 7. The usage of the colours on the pedestals and other graphic elements constitutes alternative routes for viewing the works. The exhibition space uses natural daylight­—filtered by dark blue colour—from the windows. This play with colours underscores a suggestive perception of the room as an “exhibition space”. Hence, the exhibition design allows for diverse and overlapping concepts and forms to be experienced by generating a flow and connection amongst the works. The venue is choreographed to inhabit both correlated and contradictory visual languages. Correspondingly, the element of improvisation is taken as a creative act during the instalment phase of the exhibition.

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The Play exhibition gives special emphasis to the pilot phase participants; the spatial relations in the exhibition space open onto a network beyond their context.

The exhibition and the screening programme feature research-based works by Alina Rentsch (Germany/Sweden), Bengü Karaduman (Turkey), Bochra Taboubi (Tunisia), Els van Houtert (The Netherlands/Austria), Férielle Doulain Zouari (France/Tunisia), Jannis Neumann (Germany/Austria), Julia Stern (Austria), Kim M. Reynolds (USA/South Africa) Maarit Mustonen (Finland), Marwa Manai (Tunisia), Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga (South Africa), Noor Abed (Palestine), Sofia Priftis (Sweden), Sophia Bellouhassi (Germany/Austria) and Younes Ben Slimane (Tunisia). The exhibition will also host Anna Sanglhuber, David Heinzl, Helene Eisl, Nargol Ghararshir, and Pascale Ballieul from the Institute of Art Sciences and Art Education of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. 


Chapter I: Guest Statements

Guest Statements— Visual statements by Giovanni Aloi, Egle Oddo, Benji Boyadgian, and AnneMarie Maes. To Think Like a Mountain (2021) by Giovanni Aloi is a creative response to Aldo Leopold’s 1949 ‘A Sand County Almanac’ commissioned by ‘Nature Art and Habitat’, an Eco-laboratory of Multidisciplinary Practices that looks at the relationship between nature and culture. Performative Habitats (2020) by Egle Oddo merges biology, botany, and natural sciences with the varied languages of artistic disciplines. At a historical moment that sees climate change among our primary emergencies, the artist aims to convert everyday practices and establish new production methods that are sustainable for the environment. Still Waters (2017) by Benji Boyadgain proposes a walk along the hypothetical route of an ancient aqueduct that fell out of use about 14 centuries ago. From south Bethlehem to the old city of Jerusalem, two obsolete pools mark the beginning and the end of this passage that flows through the fragmented conurbation of Jerusalem. For a few centuries this infrastructure supplied water to Jerusalem, and the city continued its course. Jerusalem, an insatiable city, a city growing off its ancient water systems, off its ground, a fiction that is its own reflection. AnneMarie Maes explains her project, L’origine du Monde (2019) as a strongly enlarged bacterial chain made from glass cells. Every cell is filled with cyanobacteria producing realtime photosynthesis. It was created during a STARTS residency at the Hybrid Forms Laboratorium in Amsterdam.

Chapter II: On A Research of Doing

On A Research of Doing (The sister Project of the Octopus Programme, initiated by the University of Pretoria and University of Applied Arts Vienna in collaboration with the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg) —Johan Thom, Bronwyn Lace, and Basak Senova. A Research of Doing is being executed throughout two segments of inquiry that are designed to practice, analyse, and document: Researching by practicing—“doing”— and documenting, analysing, and discussing by writing.

Chapter III: Translating Spectral Encounters

—Reflections by Cristiana De Marchi and Salma Shaka

Responding to a selected set of keywords that were discussed during the Translating Spectral Encounters course, Cristiana de Marchi imagined a collection of eight video-graphed “postcards” as A recipient of poetic approximation | On fixity and fluidity (2021). As she explains: “Once acknowledged the mundane nature of the action of writing a postcard, similar to and often intersecting the field of a family album, its insignificance vis à vis the History, I look for the space of the “wound”, which I recognise in the interlacement of commitment and detachment, of dedication and subtraction that each “family romance” inevitably implies”. Then, the ninth video belongs to her series titled Doing & Undoing, which addresses highly charged political concepts from a perspective of impermanence and endless renegotiation. Whereas Salma Shaka discusses a set of keywords in connection to her recent collaborative project, titled: Mouldelling Design: Sensing and Sense-Making. She presents 7 slides and each contains her drawings, extracted from her previous work.

Chapter IV: EndZone by The Zone

—Video Performance by Bronwyn Lace, Marcus Neustetter, Johannes Jäger, and Basak Senova

The Zone is a collective that calls for the development of an entirely novel transdisciplinary and deliberative approach to inquiry and curation across the arts and sciences and beyond. To this end, Basak Senova (curator), Bronwyn Lace, Marcus Neustetter (artists), and Johannes Jaeger (philosopher & biologist) are engaging in a practice-led research program that explores, questions, and displaces the traditional domains of curatorial, artistic, and scientific processes. endZONE is a performative venture into worlds brought forth beyond the confines of arts or science. A series of gestures towards physically manifesting our world-making processes by transgressing, subverting, and inverting boundaries. It explores an open-ended (infinite) game and reveals the inner workings and tools that ground and guide our deliberations.

Chapter IV: EndZone by The Zone

Chapter V: The Octopus Screenings #1

—A Screening Programme, curated by Basak Senova, featuring works by Férielle Doulain-Zouari, Julia Stern, Sophia Bellouhassi,
Younes Ben Slimane, Bengü Karaduman, Jannis Neumann, Marwa Manai, Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga, Noor Abed
, and Sofia Priftis.