Eva Birkenstock

After studying in Cologne, Berlin, and Havana, Eva Birkenstock has worked in various positions at the Kunstverein in Hamburg; the Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg; and Ludlow38, New York. From 2010–2016, she was curator of the KUB Arena, the KUB Billboards, and the KUB Projects at Kunsthaus Bregenz, where she edited the publications On Performance (with Joerg Franzbecker), Beginning Good. All Good (with Kerstin Stakemeier, Nina Köller), Art and Ideology After 1989 (with Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Jens Kastner, Ruth Sonderegger), and KAYA. Currently she is the director of the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, curator of the Performance Project of LISTE Art Fair Basel and one of the five initiators of the ongoing magazine, exhibition, and debate project Class Languages.

Screening #4

The Body as Indexical Reader

Among the manifold effects of the post-1989 transformations, one can discern certain semantic shifts and taboos with regard to the socialist past. This chapter focuses on the artistic use of the body as a reader of leftover indices of this past. Material examples for these indices include architecture, historical audio recordings, manuscripts, notes, and diaries. The selected video works represent performative “readings” of external indexical topographies, such as that of the soviet communal flat (kommunalka), a rundown future spa facility or a soviet modernist building. Here, the body acts as a corporeal reading tool, which carries out the mnemonic process of indexically reading and analyzing (“reading traces”) in an imaginative way. Therefore, it plays a central role in video art as the ars memoriae of the present.

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