Current research projects
On this page you will find information on current research projects at Louisiana.
Biopolitical Imaging examines the way that visualizations of human (and non-human) bodies can act as evidence of state violence. Employing feminist and posthuman epistemologies, as well as the methodologies of Forensic Architecture, the PhD project unpacks the human body as a milieu, an expanded space of material flows.
At the age of the Anthropocene, the human body remains at the centre of political conflict—both as the object of political power and as the agent that propagates political and environmental violence, often at the scale of the planet—yet it’s conception needs redrawing. What we understand as the human body can no longer rely on the boundary of it’s skin for its definition. The project begins by offering a thought provocation for the remeasurement of the human body. It includes every bite of food the body ever consumed, every drop of water that ever quenched its thirst, every molecule of oxygen it ever breathed, and all the excrement it ever produced. This expanded body allows the study of material flows, grounded in the intimacy of our interior, yet reaching out to distant landscapes and getting entangled with all sorts of toxic substances and alternative creatures on the way.
The project then turns to develop a framework for reading imagistic representations of bodies, in order to reveal traces of substances that evidence state violence and where the biopolitical paradigm has failed to protect the body politic. Following specific substances, and treating them as interscalar vehicles, the project strings together images from different registers and techniques: photographs, medical drawings, x-rays, microscopic sections of living cells, and GIS conglomerated data. These images form geo-bio-chemical maps that allow the study of material flows. Cognisant of the ways that visualising the body has in the past coincided with violent efforts to control it, the proposition here is attempting to use images against themselves–to make them work as evidence of state-led violence, empowering resistance and claims for justice. Learning from feminist and posthuman epistemologies, as well as the methodologies of Forensic Architecture, how could we suggest new toolkits for reading images and making them actionable for the protection of human and environmental rights?
For further information please contact Christina Varvia at email@example.com.
Essay published in connection with the project: Image-sections: The Evidentiary Capacity of Images to Sample the Lifeworld and Have an Operative Life.
Which role can exhibitions play in rethinking the role and relevance of the art museum as a public institution today? The Ph.D.-research project "Whose ‘Bildung’? Renegotiating modern art museums through exhibition practices" explores how a number of recent art exhibitions in Scandinavia enter into a critical dialogue with the idealistic promise of the museum as a Bildung-institution of common, public knowledge in light of new critiques, voices and societal concerns.
My Ph.D.-research project “Whose ‘Bildung’? Renegotiating modern art museums through exhibition practices” explores how a number of recent art exhibitions in Scandinavia enter into a critical dialogue with the idealistic promise of the museum as a Bildung-institution of common, public knowledge in light of new critiques, voices and societal concerns.
Some of the main questions I ask in my project are: Which role can exhibitions take in questioning and revising the ‘blind spots’ of museum institutions and their own collections through practice? Can exhibitions and exhibition-making act as a place where the institution’s own socio-political, aesthetic and economic paradigms are challenged and even reformulated? If so, what are the possibilities and limitations of such a practice, and how does it play out differently across institutional actors?
Institutional critiques of the art institution is of course nothing new, and artistic practices since the 1960s have already provided – and continue to provide – rich, engaged institutional critiques that give stimuli to develop new forms to the established art institutions. However, it is new that art museums themselves have started to use their cultural authority to challenge and renegotiate some of their own hegemonic structures. This is what my research project explores.
For further information please contact Pernille Lystlund Matzen at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or +45 20886450.
Hydrologic Sensibilities in Fragile Ecologies
Climate change shows that there is an urgent need to develop new and more sensitive ways of sensing and perceiving the earth. In recent years, water and aquatic environments in particular have been shown to be particularly sensitive to climate change. Earth's hydrosphere demands the utmost of our human imagination and sensibility if we are to save ourselves into a sustainable future.
Climate change indicates a shift in the relationship between human and the world in an anthropocene reality. In recent years, water and aquatic environments have been shown to be particularly sensitive developers of the man-made destruction of the earth. Studies of, for example, the history of rivers, the bleaching of coral reefs and polar melting have thus shown the potential of perceiving the earth’s hydrosphere as forming its own fragile expressions that can make visible the earth’s critical condition. In relation to these developers, humans must act as involved translators. If we are going to be able to do this, we must improve our abilities to perceive and experience the presences, forms, life and importance of water for the earth. In other words, we must develop our hydrological sensibility.
This research project therefore attempts, in a collaboration between art history, visual arts and marine geophysics, to develop new ways of sensing aquatic environments. The project collaborates with the marine research center CAGE in Tromsø, where it participates in research cruises in the Norwegian Sea. The aim of the voyages is to map any increased seepage of methane from gas pockets under the Arctic seabed. An increased seepage provoked by rising sea temperatures. For this, among other things, hypersensitive listening equipment is used. The journeys are attended by visual artists who work to make sense of the abstract data generated during the journeys. The marine geophysicists and visual artists who take part in the voyages share a listening sensitive approach to the earth. They are all a new kind of explorer. They are not interested in subjugating the earth as a resource for human needs, but are trying to explore a new way of being with the earth. Listening for signs from a sea and a land we depend on.
The project will contribute to writing a new type of art history. An ecoempathic art history. The project ends with the international conference ‘Imagine Earth’ at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen 8-9. June 2023. The conference is open to the public.