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© Doğa Çığşar_Eylül

Works of international students, staff and faculty at HfG

Opening on Wednesday July 10 at 18:00 on Lichtbrücke!

It can then be seen daily until July 21, 2024 on the Lichtbrücke in Lichthof 3 of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

“Visitors” is premiering ORC’s modular exhibition interface "Portal" designed by HfG’s alumnus Mortiz Appich. “Portal” is the analogue interface of HfG’s digital archive platform “madek” (Medienarchiv der Künste).

The exhibition is the output of an archival research seminar we conducted during the summer semester on the works of international students, staff and faculty, focusing on their observations, inputs and traces that make an important and complex contribution to the history of our institution.

ORC Archival Curators: Zulfikar Filandra and Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun

This exhibition is the first to explore HfG's recently launched digital archive platform. The aim of the proposed selection of works is to go deeper into how it feels to visit HfG from a place different than Germany.

It is clear that there are parallels between the experiences of various international HfG students at various times and at various starting and entering points. They are all encountering a school that promises a lot to them but is located in a rather small German city.

Living these encounters, some decide to name the problems faced explicitly, as in the diploma work of KD alumna Aki Beisler and her book "Vollkontakt / about integration of foreign students" from 2008 (not exhibited here): “I wish to have German friends, too and to maintain a better contact with the people who live in the country I chose, but I simply don't understand so well what the Germans think.”

Haishu Chen’s work "City-sightseeing" (2016) exemplifies the gesture of visiting. Coming in contact with Karlsruhe for the first time, he decides to see the city as it is, using an improvised pinhole camera and the exposure time of a single tram ride. What we see in an image made like this is a blur from the point of view of a flaneur or city wanderer.

In several works we can watch their authors dream back to their homelands: Tang Heng with his film "Der Geschmack des Heimwehs" – on the Sehnsucht and community that food invokes (perennial immigrant gripe); Kexin Zhang with her film "Das Buch vom Glück" accompanied to her publication (the oldest work exhibited in "Visitors"); and Doğa Çığşar with her film "Eylül" set in Turkey. Eylül translates to the month of September, the month traditionally associated with return to labour, the end of Gasterbeiter's visit to the homeland and their return to Germany.

The Product Design contribution to “Visitors”, captures a moment when Erasmus student Takaufumi Tomomori from Fukoka Kyushu University met another visitor, an anonymously wandering Wandergeselle (travelling carpenter), in HfG’s wood workshop. Both figures wandering, encountering each other through the facility of our wondrous institution.

in "Postcards from Greece", Xenia Fastnacht also goes back and mines her homeland from a distance, resulting in a book of confrontations with humorous and inventive results.

Ira Konyukhova's video “Kunst-Kontexte” is a contribution that touches upon another fascinating aspect of visiting in the HfG – the excursions students undertake to different places all over the world. In the case of Ira's video, the HfG excursion destination was Hebron in 2016.

Obviously, certain exhibited works seem to talk to one another, as is often the case with international HfG students creating parallel communities among themselves.

The book “Feeling of Floating on Unfamiliarity” by Sora Kim and Sunmi Kimi, the most recent work included in the exhibition, fairly responds to the "Vollkontakt" book of Aki Beisler that sparked the quest and archival exploration leading to "Visitors". It seems that many of the issues faced by international students have been the same for more than twenty years.

The final frame of the exhibition is provided by the inclusion of two non-students. One work honours Zahour, the Hausmeister, the keymaster and a guardian of the school. “Für Sahour” by Evi Künstle shows the late Zaur Ahlimanov executing his tradition, initiating the moment of fast, surrounded by people not of his culture, the ritual coexisting in an environment not fully familiar with it. Another work is the postcard “Tree lumper” by João Tabarra – the result of former professor João Tabarra’s first encounter with the city of Karlsruhe, which perfectly relates to what Haishu Chen did one year before.

aspect-ratio 10x9 City Sightseeing

City Sightseeing (© Haishu Chen)

aspect-ratio 10x9 Das Buch vom Glück

Das Buch vom Glück (© Kexin Zhang)

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