RETREAT INTO DARKNESS.
TOWARDS A PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE UNKNOWN
BOOK LAUNCH AND CONVERSATION
with Ivana Franke, Juan-Andres Leon and Elena Agudio
IN COOPERATION WITH Schering Stiftung
In cooperation with the Schering Stiftung we are looking forward to present the recently released publication RETREAT INTO DARKNESS. TOWARDS A PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE UNKNOWN by Ivana Franke. The book beautifully documents and reflects on the exhibition of the same name, which was shown at the Project Space of the Schering Stiftung in the spring and early summer of 2017, as well as the symposium that took place at SAVVY Contemporary under the direction of curator Elena Agudio. On the occasion of the book presentation, the artist Ivana Franke will talk with the physicist and historian of science Juan-Andres Leon, a research scholar in the research program “History of the Max Planck Society.” The talk will be moderated by Elena Agudio.
For centuries, human perception and the exploration of the unknown have been subjects of artistic inquiry. In her project RETREAT INTO DARKNESS. TOWARDS A PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE UNKNOWN the artist Ivana Franke brings both together and explores our processes of perception when we are faced with something that is phenomenologically unknown. Published by Spector Books, the book presents the elements of “retreat into darkness”: Ivana Franke’s installation at the Schering Stiftung, whose light reflections in an absolutely dark room facilitate new visual experiences; experiments by cognitive psychologist Bilge Sayim; and observations by internationally renowned researchers Elena Agudio, Jimena Canales, Pierre Gallais, Sylvia C. Pont, and Anil K. Seth. A common theme is the realization that it is darkness that opens our eyes to the poetry of the unknown.
IVANA FRANKE is a visual artist based in Berlin. Her works, often in the form of light installations, investigate the interface between perception, cognition and environment, focusing on perceptual thresholds. In 2017, her largest solo exhibition Galaxies in Mind was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Further important exhibitions included Disorientation Station (11th Shanghai Biennale) and Seeing with Eyes Closed (Peggy Guggenheim, Venice, 2011; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, 2012). She represented Croatia at the 52nd Venice Biennale with the solo exhibition Latency; her work has also been shown at Manifesta 7 and MoMA P.S.1.
JUAN-ANDRES LEON trained as a physicist and a historian before doing a PhD in the History of Science. Parallel to his academic trajectory, he has pursued a museum career that focuses on modern scientific instrumentation and computing. His work looks at the role of science as world transforming practice, political ideology and personal habitus. In his dissertation, “Citizens of the Chemical Complex,” he explored the world of science philanthropy of Imperial and Weimar Germany and its impact in the applied sciences, physics, mathematics and astronomy. He is now completing a monograph on the history of astronomy, astrophysics and space research in the second half of the 20th century in West Germany.
ELENA AGUDIO is a Berlin-based art historian and curator. Her research is focused on the sharing and exchange of knowledge and skills across disciplines and cultures beyond the Western episteme. She is the artistic director of the non-profit Association of Neuroesthetics (AoN). In 2013, she became artistic co-director of SAVVY Contemporary. Her latest and still running curatorial projects include SAVVY Funk an iteration of Every Time A Ear di Soun — a documenta 14 Radio Program, curated together with Bonaventure Ndikung and Marcus Gammel; Speaking Feminisms, a series curated with Nathalie Mba Bikoro and Federica Bueti; and That, Around Which The Universe Revolves, curated with Bonaventure Ndikung, Anna Jäger and Saskia Köbschall.