FORMATIONS

is a transversal working group, consisting of practitioners from varying disciplines, including the arts, philosophy, human geography, computational biology, yoga, urban design, cultural and literary studies, and political activism, led by Alex Martinis Roe and Melanie Sehgal. The experimental set-up of this group aims at practical responses to the insufficiency of modern categories of thought and their disciplinary and institutional sedimentations. FORMATIONS is an attempt to relearn to communicate across disciplinary divides, and to create meaningful responses to the world, which traverse specialized habits of thought and action. However, the point is not to get rid of disciplines and specialization altogether, but to reshape them in relation to the problems that force us to think today. The group has thus been experimenting with existing methodologies in order to enlarge and transform them, while keeping the parts that are productive for its concerns. In our first year we worked a closed group within the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which provided continuity and the basis for ongoing in-depth engagement. We think this is necessary for a meaningful transdisciplinary conversation, which we continue through our internal work, like a reading group, and also through our projects and public events.

People

  • Alex Martinis Roe

    is an artist and researcher. She is a former fellow of the Graduate School at the University of the Arts Berlin, and holds a PhD from Monash University, Australia. She is currently completing her project To Become Two: a series of films, workshops, public events and a book, as a social history of the feminist practices which invented the concept of ‘sexual difference’, and collective experiments with this research through the sub-project Our Future Network. This project was co-commissioned as a series of solo exhibitions by If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution (Amsterdam), Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory (Utrecht), The Showroom (London) and ar/ge kunst (Bolzano) and has also been exhibited at Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe). Parts of the project have been exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne), SlyZmud Gallery (Buenos Aires); Dienstgebäude (Zürich); Yvonne Lambert (Berlin); Hessel Museum of Art (Annandale on Hudson, NY). She is Head of Sculpture at the Australian National University and co-leads FORMATIONS with Melanie Sehgal.

  • Melanie Sehgal

    holds a PhD in Philosophy and is Assistant Professor of Literary, Science and Media Studies at the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). Currently, she is serving as Professor of Philosophy of Culture at European University Viadrina. She initiated the experimental working group FORMATIONS against the background of her research interests: forms of speculative thinking beyond the nature/culture divide such as classical pragmatism, process philosophy and science and technology studies and a general interest in the history of knowledge in the modern era. Her current research project is concerned with the history of specialization of knowledge production, theories and practices of inter- and transdisciplinarity and an institutional history of philosophy as a discipline. As member of Terra Critica, Interdisciplinary Network for the Critical Humanities she has been exploring new forms of critical thinking. Since 2012 she has hosted the workshop and lecture series Experimental Speculations/Speculative Experimentations in Frankfurt/Oder and Berlin. She is the author of Eine situierte Metaphysik. Empirismus und Spekulation bei William James und Alfred North Whitehead (Konstanz Univ. Press 2016) and numerous articles.

  • Roman Brinzanik

    is a physicist, computational biologist and business developer for renewable energies. Currently, he is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, and at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, focusing on molecular systems biology of energy metabolism and of cancer. He co-authored Will We Live Forever? (2010), containing conversations about the present and future of bio-, nano-, info- and neuro-sciences and about the technological manipulation of human nature. Together with KRAFTWERK he develops decentralized renewable energy solutions for emerging and developing economies such as Brazil, Egypt and Kenya.

  • Deborah Haaksman

    is a yoga teacher with an academic background in dramatic writing. While graduating from Berlin University of the Arts, she discovered yoga. Years of thorough exploration followed, traveling as an assistant to her mentor Ana Forrest, teaching around the globe. Forrest Yoga unites ancient indigenous techniques of healing with new findings in body therapy, psychology and neuroanatomy. Deborah is the co-founder of Earthwalking, a biennal festival and platform dedicated to transdisciplinary learning, sacred adventures, and collective questing for the great mystery within everyday life. Going on a maternity break gave her the opportunity to reassess the elements which create meaningful and transformative experiences within her working life and made her join FORMATIONS.

  • Rebekka Ladewig

    is a cultural theory researcher and art historian. Before joining the Media Studies Department at the Bauhaus University Weimar in 2014 she was a research associate at the Institute of Cultural History and Theory at the Humboldt-University Berlin, where she obtained her PhD with a thesis on the epistemology of orientation. From 2012-2014 she was a research associate and coordinator of the research group “Pictograms” at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory: Image – Knowledge – Gestaltung at the Humboldt-University, Berlin. Rebekka Ladewig is cofounder and editor of the magazine ilinx. Berliner Beiträge zu Kulturwissenschaft and the book series ilinx-Kollaborationen at Fundus/PhiloFineArts, Hamburg. Currently she works on books about the cultural technique of the bow and arrow and about the reception of Gestalt theory in the works of Kurt Goldstein, Michael Polanyi, and Marjorie Grene. Her book Schwindel. Eine Epistemologie der Orientierung was published 2016.

  • Julian Schubert

    is an architect (Dipl. Ing. UdK Berlin & ETH Zurich) operating in the extended field of the discipline. He founded – with his partners Elena Schütz and Leonard Streich – the architectural firm Something Fantastic, and teaches the Master of Advanced Studies in Urban Design at the ETH Zurich with a focus on urban transformations in rapidly developing territories. Something Fantastic aims to positively influence the creation of sustainable and beautiful livelihoods through smart, simple, and prototypical projects. Institutional clients since its establishment in 2010 include Architectural Biennales in Sao Paulo, Venice and Shenzhen, MoMA New York, GSD Harvard, UdK Berlin, HfG Karlsruhe and Yokohama GSA. Recent projects include the design of the German Pavillon at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2016 on the topic Making Heimat. Germany, arrival country.” as well as the publications Housing Cairo – The Informal Response, and The Index for Those Who Want to Reinvent Construction.

  • Hendrik Weber

    is a composer, producer and artist. He is best known for his electronic dance music project “Pantha du Prince”. Other more experimental approaches are “glühen 4”, where he focuses on microtonal and digital self-destruction processes, and “Ursprung”, a platform for experiments with guitar and electronics. He has released several albums with labels like Dial Records and Rough Trade Records. His tours take him around the world to clubs, theaters, concert halls and museums. In his installations, sound interweaves with architecture and objects creating new experiential spaces. In 2011, Weber developed a post-apocalyptic dance piece together with the French collective Last Last shown at Centre National de la Dance, Paris, Le Subsistance, Lyon, and Tanzquartier, Vienna. In a collaboration with Norwegian composer Lars Petter Hagen he investigated bells and melodic percussion for a piece in a 64 bell carillon shown among other places at: Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Queen Elisabeth Hall London, La Cigale Paris, Prima Vera Sound Barcelona, West Park Church NYC, and Maison Symphonique Montreal.

  • Thilo Wiertz

    studied Geography, Political Economics and Physics at Heidelberg University. After his graduation in 2009, he spent three years as a research fellow at the Marsilius Kolleg in Heidelberg working on the Global Governance of Climate Engineering. At Heidelberg University he taught graduate courses ranging from Geographic Information Systems to Discourse Theory and Political Geography. From 2011 until 2012 he was an Associate of the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin based think-tank. In October 2012, Thilo joined the cluster Sustainable Interactions with the Atmsophere (SIWA) at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), examining the role of climate modeling in producing visions of global climate control. His main research interests are Political Geography, Science and Technology Studies, and Society-Nature Relations. Since April 2015 he has been part of the Human Geography research group at Freiburg University.

Workshops

  • Practices of Listening

    • Demanding Responses: Research Festival
    • Pact Zollverein, Essen

    In a conversation format, FORMATIONS will share some of the listening techniques they are currently researching during their residency at Pact. As a window into research in process, this open discussion will be a chance to together with the audience explore the potential of these techniques as tools for transdisciplinary encounter. Collecting existing techniques from political groups and a range of disciplines including philosophy, yoga, and music composition, and together developing new ones, FORMATIONS’ wager is that this forgotten side of language may be the key to traversing different forms of knowledge in order to address problems that force us to think today.

  • The Practice of Inheritance

    • IMPACT 16 Symposium
    • Pact Zollverein, Essen

    In this workshop we address the question of inheritance. How do we inherit what precedes us, actively and passively? Every practice explicitly or implicitly positions itself in relation to its past - through its methodologies, its material-discursive set-up, its references. In this way certain stories are told: in Modernity, either narratives of progress or regression. In our workshop we invite the participants to analyse the givens and methodologies of their practices and analyse how a relation to what precedes them figures in their work. From this starting point we will attempt to develop tools and methodologies to actively inherit as a conscious practice in order to tell the stories that matter to us.

  • #6 Attitudes

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • #5 Visions

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • #4 Cases

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • #3 Examples

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • #2 Patterns

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
  • #1 Forming FORMATIONS

    • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Events

  • Practices of Listening

    • Demanding Responses: Research Festival
    • Pact Zollverein, Essen

    In a conversation format, FORMATIONS will share some of the listening techniques they are currently researching during their residency at Pact. As a window into research in process, this open discussion will be a chance to together with the audience explore the potential of these techniques as tools for transdisciplinary encounter. Collecting existing techniques from political groups and a range of disciplines including philosophy, yoga, and music composition, and together developing new ones, FORMATIONS’ wager is that this forgotten side of language may be the key to traversing different forms of knowledge in order to address problems that force us to think today.

  • Propositions, Stories and Sketches for Transdisciplinary Encounter

    • IMPACT 16 Symposium
    • Pact Zollverein, Essen

    As a window into the research methods of the transversal working group FORMATIONS, some members present a series of formats for interdisciplinary encounter and collaboration, which were devised over the course of a year-long process of working together. These formats were developed using the specific methodologies and practices of the various members of the group and the way in which they encountered one another in the FORMATIONS experiment. Thus, as situated propositions, each of these formats is presented within stories of the groups’ work together. This opens the methodological toolbox developed and tested throughout the year, shedding light on the potentialities, difficulties and vulnerability involved in transdisciplinary conversation and collaboration. These outcomes of the group working process all attempt to work on and within the zones of overlap of what Félix Guattari termed, “the three ecologies”– the mental, the social, and the environmental.