When you take the first step towards the unknown, you are engulfed by the darkness of uncertainty. Co-existence is possible only in the face of the unrecognised. The unknown language is a tangled mass through which you penetrate with despair. It is a structure of sense and nonsense, an architecture of traps and a source of endless uncertainty. The story you tell contains a record of fear and hope.

Aneta Szylak and Hiwa K., fragment taken from "The Darkness Wounded" published at www.przemo-wojciechowski.com

Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.
Theodor Adorno

But we are meaning in the sense that we are the element in which significations can be produced and circulate.
Jean-Luc Nancy

The concept of Estrangement developed through a series of discussions and collaborative projects between Iraqi artist Hiwa K. and Polish curator Aneta Szylak as an attempt to create a form for mutual translation and collaborative work that is not restricted to one cultural format.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Soooo many files to see!!!

Estrangement team conducted the research in the endless archive at Platform Garanti: catalgues, books, DVDs, VHS, artists' files....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Estrangement went to Istanbul for research and the Biennale

Here are some photos from the city

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cognitive Estrangement

Learning from Other Worlds provides both a portrait of the development of science fiction criticism as an intellectual field and a definitive look at the state of science fiction studies today. Its title refers to the essence of "cognitive estrangement" in relation to science fiction and utopian fiction — the assertion that by imagining strange worlds we learn to see our own world in a new perspective. Acknowledging an indebtedness to the groundbreaking work of Darko Suvin and his belief that the double movement of estrangement and cognition reflects deep structures of human storytelling, the contributors assert that learning-from-otherness is as natural and inevitable a process as the instinct for imitation and representation that Aristotle described in his Poetics.

From the synopsis for: Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia (Post-Contemporary Interventions)

by Patrick Parrinder


Defamiliarization or ostranenie (остранение) is the artistic technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar or strange way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar. A basic satirical tactic, it is a central concept of 20th century art, ranging over movements including Dada, postmodernism, epic theatre, and science fiction. A fine example is the cartoon character Pepe le Pew's phrase "My sweet peanut of brittle".

Defamiliarization." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 17 Aug. 2007. http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Defamiliarization

Cooking with Mama by Hiwa K. between Poland and Iraq

In this video I connected my Mother's home, Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk and Art Academy in Mainz

Cooking with Mama by Hiwa K. part 2

Cooking with Mama by Hiwa K.

About cooking with Mama

In summer 2006 there were already four years without seeing my mom after I left Iraq when I organized this event in the kitchen at the Art Academy in Mainz, Germany, for the first time. This cooking event was the first encounter with how I feel when seeing her after so many years apart.

For me, to involve somebody who is so related to me for so many years into my work via internet is a mixture of many things not that easy to embrace them by using words.

There was such a distance to her, and in spite of my longing to see her it made me quite uncertain how to continue with this digital Mama. Is it her or not? That is what I was asking myself the whole time.

Sure it was Mama, demanding as she used to be, when we were cooking together at home. I was to be polite, listening to her, following the instructions and translating properly her commands to my cooking team (we cook every Friday for the whole academy). Our times in kitchen at home are replaced today with cooking with my friends. Today, the only way I could get back the emotions connected to cooking with her is to contact her through Internet messenger. I felt very intimate with the cooking team, who are good friends of mine. So being in the position of translating a certain food structure which is hundreds years old and is coming from definitely another reality and different way of understanding digitalization, I experienced the extended intimacy of my Moms environment. I was translating from my language to another European language, helping the team to cook what I have been eating for so many years. Sharing this taste with all students of the academy was creating another space which goes beyond the art school as an institution. Its was closeness, about sharing, about understanding the others.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Viktor Shklovsky's "ostranenie" [estrangement]

Shklovsky developed the concept of ostranenie or defamiliarization in literature. He explained this idea as follows:

The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important." (Shklovsky, "Art as Technique", 12)

In other words, art presents things in a new, unfamiliar light by way of formal manipulation. This is what is artful about art.


some present it visually

source www.visualthesaurus.com

about the distance

Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.
Theodor Adorno

Hiwa K.

Hiwa K. - Visual artist and musician born in Iraq, living in Germany. His major interest circles around the notion of event, performativity, as well as the figure of the artist as an amateur. Since 2005, he has been developing a series of projects involving paradoxes of cultural competence, participation, dissemination of knowledge and distribution of the event.

Aneta Szylak

Aneta Szylak - Curator and art theorist, co-founder and currently director of Wyspa Institute of Art - the intellectual environment for contemporary visual culture - in the former Gdansk Shipyard premises in Poland and Vice-President of the Wyspa Progress Foundation. Early in her career, she became interested in participatory practices, which resulted in her commitment today to performativity, contextuality and open, dynamic forms in exhibition- and institution-making. Her long-term involvement in the groundbreaking, alternative and politically involved Gdansk art scene bore fruit in her interest in collective forms of work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Availabe definition #1

es·trange (-strnj)
tr.v. es·tranged, es·trang·ing, es·trang·es
1. To make hostile, unsympathetic, or indifferent; alienate.
2. To remove from an accustomed place or set of associations.

[Middle English estraungen, from Old French estrangier, from Latin extrnere, to treat as a stranger, disown, from extrneus, foreign; see strange.]

es·trangement n.
es·tranger n.
Synonyms: estrange, alienate, disaffect
These verbs refer to disruption of a bond of love, friendship, or loyalty. Estrange and alienate are often used with reference to two persons whose harmonious relationship has been replaced by hostility or indifference: Political disagreements led to quarrels that finally estranged the two friends. His persistent antagonism alienated his wife.
Disaffect usually implies discontent, ill will, and disloyalty within the membership of a group: Colonists were disaffected by the royal governor's actions.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

To begin with

The project is planned to capture the tension between Western cultures and what was once constructed as the Orient. Triggered by unfulfilled desire, loss and estrangement, today’s fears, obsessions and denials produced by the discourse of politics and its economic background are both based on those cultural constructions and aimed to destroy them.

Targeting beyond strategies of representation, the project will investigate how those cultures mirror, mimic and reflect one another; how they produce fictions, fragmented comprehensions, readings and hybridist understandings and maybe even more misunderstandings. Europe and the Western world is not homogenous in cultural terms, but it insists its coherence when confronting its invented face of the mysterious thus undefined enemy. Nowadays, when the West seems to deny having anything culturally in common with this reinvented Other, Estrangement looks at it not as a stranger from whom we are drifted-apart by unfamiliarity, but as alter-ego divided from ourselves by the looking glass.

The project goes beyond political representations and focuses on emotions it produces. It is a state of mind not a state of things. Adaptations, merges, strategies of mimicry and the lost definitions, will appear in the project as a basis. It will look at the language of denial, false constructions, conspiracy theories, recuperations and definitions of appropriate and inappropriate “otherness”.

Instead of representing and resting on cultural presuppositions, the project is exploring the desired Other, without whom we do not exist. It is investigating curiosities, incompetences and poorly executed communications. It brings imperial conflicts to the level of human emotions and embodiments, it deals with being in each others shoes, learning and constructing the reader of the other though the prosthetic process of translation. It is also challenging the viewer and his or her opinions on “authenticity”, “origin”, “identity”, “representation”.