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Research profile seminar

org. by Eva la Cour in collaboration with the Foto- and Filmcollegiate

A research seminar on the political difference between mediation and representation.

What is the political difference between mediation and representation?

And how can such an inquiry be informed by (lens-based) artistic work
and research?

ON MEDIATION is a research seminar that invites a selected group of artists to present their (lens-based) research with image performance constructions. Approaching notions of skilled visions, structured environments, global infrastructures and networked apparatuses as intrinsic to image creation, the seminar seeks perspectives on how artistic practices can enable a shift in focus from that of representation to that of mediation.

A turn to mediation as an analytical tool may help understand the difference between the existence of realities and the manufacturing of truth. Whilst recent revivals of observational practices - "appearances of the world need our care more than our suspicion" as Erika Balsom writes - suggest a reversion to non-discursive methods of visualization, mediation allows for questions about skill, position, environment and infrastructure to emerge. A shift in focus from that of representation to that of mediation may thus also allow a shift from that of origin to that of historically situated effect. An aim of the seminar is thereby to speculate on the political and aesthetical implications of such a shift.

The seminar, which is to be held on 13 September 2018, is initiated and organised by doctoral researcher Eva la Cour in collaboration with the Collegiate of Film and Photo at Valand Academy, as a mean to qualify methodological questions regarding film as material-discursive practice, important to her artistic research project The Figure of the Guide: Mediating the Arctic Terrain.


The Figure of the Guide: Mediating the Arctic Terrain is a research project which, while touching upon matters and effects of ecology, climate change and anthropocentric imaginaries, folds around the notion of mediation. With a focus on Svalbard in the larger context of the Arctic, this folding allows the figure of the guide to challenge both researcher, tourist and artist identities in the field as separate and bounded.

While representation arguably functions as a stand-in for a virtual "someone/something," mediation arguably functions to transform this "someone/something." This not only raises questions regarding how to think of artistic research as a mediating mechanism, but also the valorizing agency of image-making practices more generally. In this sense The Figure of the Guide: Mediating the Arctic is a research project which is very practically concerned with imagining different models of image formations.

The focus on Svalbard more particularly allows me to talk about this extraordinary unpeopled place that became peopled in the context of the colonialisation of the Arctic. It allows me to focus on (consequently) complex contestations but also on personal experiences: For seven years I have been returning to Svalbard for both fieldwork and pleasure, which has resulted in a collection of both written notes, photographs, video and sound recordings. It is this material archive that I use for my performative and multi-layered research presentations.

Approaching Arctic Cinema as a field of concerns, rather than as a label for films portraying distant geographies and people, I am situated in a field of material-discursive practices which itself is productive (and thus part) of the Arctic. Thus, an important part of my motivation for organizing the ON MEDIATION research seminar is to test the relevance of the bond between my research focus on Svalbard and methodological questions regarding skilled visions.

Invited artists:

The Otolith Group (On the essay film as dissatisfaction)
Andjeas Ejiksson (On Eurikon as a televized performance and the role of the "interpreter")
Jyoti Mistry (On film as practice in postcolonial archives)
Joen Vedel (On contemporaneity and live-editing)
Florian Schneider (On Art and Oceans/uncertainty, complexity and fluidity as global challenges)
Eva la Cour (On live narrated montage)

Andrea Phillips (Moderator)

Date: 9/13/2018

Time: 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Categories: Art

Organizer: Akademin Valand

Location: Valand Academy, Vasagatan 50
Bio Valand

Contact person: Eva La Cour

Page Manager: Karoline Axelson|Last update: 2/26/2018

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