A Line of Tape in The Wind
weissensee school of art, weissenseeTV, 19.07.2020
artist: Aref Torkaman, Ayham Allouch, Fiona Waddell, Mersedeh Jamzadeh, Michael Daoud, Najwa Ahmed, Osamah Abouzor, Puta Alatrash, Ramez Melhem
with Ali Kaaf and Mohamad Halbouni
„What knowledge has been made part of academic agendas?
And what knowledge has not?
Whose knowledge is this? [...]
Who can teach knowledge? And who cannot?
Who is at the centre? And who remains outside, at the margins?“
The *foundationClass is a study program and an artist collective based in the Foundation Year (Grundlagenjahr) at weißensee academy of art berlin. The goal is to support people who migrated to Germany, who are affected by racism and who want to start or continue studying with their application at an art or design academy. At the same time, *foundationClass strives to build a community within the institution where new forms of skill-sharing and self-empowering artistic practice are produced collectively. In the spirit of Grada Kilomba, *foundationClass sees art academies as a powerful site of knowledge production, which (un)consciously excludes/includes by still setting white, heterosexual people with young and powerful bodies from privileged backgrounds as the norm. The pandemic situation intensifies precisely those structures of intersectional discrimination, also and especially in the educational sphere. Questions like ‘who benefits from staying and studying at home, who can access digital teaching-learning settings and who not’ became highly relevant for *foundationClass by the time of the lockdown and still are today. The access to (work) space, platforms, material, internet, software, translation and equipment is as well driven by privileges. But while the decision to continue *foundationClass in the digital space was and is connected to a huge risk of frustration, it also creates an positive experimental space where strategies of inclusive teaching and connecting gain new urgency. A spark of it resonates in *foundationClass’ audio-visual installation presented at the ‘weißensee TV’ streaming festival.