Simultaneous Arrivals

collage of writing exercise

I’m glad and proud to announce that the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has approved my project ‘Simultaneous Arrivals’ (Simularr in short) within its prestigous track of artistic research (PEEK).

Simularr (AR 714) aims at probing and understanding simultaneity as a novel mode of artists working together in a research process. The word simultaneity derives from Latin simul for “together, at the same time”, often implying a certain independence or coexistence between what is together without one being the cause of or force on the other.

In an ever more entangled and networked world, at the same time threatened by political instability and ecological crisis on a global scale, we rely on practices of sharing responsibilities and concerns. With an economy based on exchange of data, knowledge, services, goods to maximise its effectiveness, with the computational penetration of all things accelerating the need to interface and connect, to make compatible, artists have to revise their roles and strategies as they find themselves under increasing pressure to succumb to the principles of commodification. Can we find a mode of working-together and thinking-with that resists becoming compatible, a mode in which the individuals take a respectful and careful distance to one another while developing a common movement that results in artistic artefacts and propositions that reflect this work process and can coexist in a simultaneous aesthetic experience?

In Simularr, artists-researchers in the fields of installation art, sound art and intermedia, joined by researchers in architecture and space, come together to introduce and explore operations and strategies that facilitate an exchange and cross-pollination of the individual processes. This exchange is perhaps best characterised by what Isabelle Stengers calls relaying, a transfer of concern that does not aim at acquiring the intentions and positions of the other, while remaining faithful to what is being taken in a response-able way. The project’s title Simultaneous Arrivals refers to a scene described by Sara Ahmed in Queer Phenomenology, where she extends the phenomenological concepts of Husserl and others by an operation of inversion, focusing on what is being relegated to the background of an observation, the histories of objects and bodies that come near each other in an encounter and contingently affect those who come together.