10. Berlin Biennale
I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not #13
The *foundationClass’ non-Cafeteria of the Academy of Misery
Art academies reproduce mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. Who is teaching, what is being taught, and who is accepted are not contingent on assumed “talent” but on the subjective assessment skills of those in power and therefore on individual and indisputable criteria. The autonomy of the arts as well as teaching thus legitimizes the contradictions inherent to the institution.
The artists of the *foundationClass do not use the obstacles engendered by this deplorable state in order to just point or blank out the institution’s contradictions. Instead, they use them as a point of departure for their collective artistic practice and to formulate demands for inclusive forms of teaching and education.
Akin to the kitchen table, the art academy’s cafeteria is a space where conspiratorial, heretical, unobjective, impertinent, and amateur opinions are articulated, validated, and dismantled for their own sake, rather than for the purpose of knowledge production.
Operating from a space of brokenness that is within, but not of, the academy and that is neither for nor against it, the *foundationClass invites you to join the non-Cafeteria of the Academy of Misery at Akademie der Künste in order to enter into study—a mode of thinking with others that is separate from the thinking the institution requires of you. This prepares us to be embedded in what Fred Moten and Stefano Harney call “the with and for.”
In support of equal access to art academies for those who have migrated or fled to Germany, the *foundationClass tries to create a social space where everyone’s resources are acknowledged and validated and where new formats of skill sharing and knowledge transfer can be developed. Ultimately, the *foundationClass wants to question the norms, conventions, and habitus of art institutions and the industry as a whole. The *foundationClass is located at weißensee academy of art berlin.
*foundationClass membersAnwar AlatrashBatoul SedawiCam-Anh LuongDachil SadoDiwali HasskanEva KarduckFadi AljabourHatef SoltaniKatharina KerstenMayada AlkayalMiriam SchicklerMohamad HalbouniRamin ParvinReem AwadUlf Aminde
photo: Can Mileva Rastovic
a video installation by *foundationClass, 2017
(4-channel, HD, Video, Audio)
exhibited at the 3. Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater
Very often journalists are contacting us, allegedly wanting to write a story about 'refugees' in the context of higher education, or about how 'refugees' are living in Berlin, or simply because they're looking for some “traumatised” characters to spice up their story.
We usually reject these requests. Go fuck yourselves!
But this time we received an award and it came with a nice sum of money that we urgently needed in order to continue our work. This time they didn't just want to write about us, they also wanted to produce a film. A one shot sequence. They seemed nice enough and even emphatic, but yet again their task was to produce emotional images featuring the bodies of the refugee students, underscored by the voice of the white professor contextualising their movements and giving meaning to the frames.
We told them this is not how it's going to work.
For two weeks we were discussing with them.
We wanted the award. We wanted the money.
But of course no one wanted to provide their bodies to fill those frames.
They said: TRUST US. It will look good.
The discussion became more and more exhausting.
Finally they agreed to film us while WE WOULD FILM THEM.
We decided to edit the material WE shot and combine it with texts spoken by us and relating to the week long discussions we've had.
The whole thing became an installation and was exhibited at Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater, 2017: TRUST US
For this collaboration several artists came together: Anwar Al Atrash, Fadi Aljabour, Marwa Younes Almokbel, Aram Al Saed, Mira Debaja, Amel Alzakout, Mohamad Halbouni, Dyaa Naim, Ramin Parvin, Nour Nasreddine, Oula Soleman, Yara Sulaiman, Max Grau, Miriam Schickler, Eva Karduck, Ulf Aminde
(documentation video by Max Grau)