Cap Manuel
2008 | 4 channel video installation: 2 screens/2 monitors. Text roller. | 360° library (4 min 10 sec loop), Gericault tomb (9 min 33 sec loop), Archive pan (1 min 03 sec loop), Pages in wind (5 min 20 sec loop) – All 4:3 / PAL / colour / sound | Text (50 mins) – Widescreen

archive pan_04-1280pxHigh up on a cliff on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal, there is a disused public building, the old Palais de Justice. It was built during the last years of French colonial occupation and for more than quarter of a century has ceased functioning as the civil and criminal court it once was. It forms the core of the video installation that reflects on the building itself, its erstwhile function as well as wider issues and associations such as the nature of memory, historical contextualisation, biographical recollections and record keeping as a means of imposing and maintaining control of a (colonial) population.

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Die Macht des Faktischen
2008 | Photo collage for back cover of Bildpunkt, Winter 2008/2009

The photo collage is based on reproduced material relating to the old French colonial Palais de Justice. The building housed birth, death, marriage and criminal records of the colonial administration.

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Logbook 2006/2007: A Bulgarian Journey
2008 | DVD ROM containing text, photos, video and sound | In Bulgarian, German and English | Code by dfkt | The project was undertaken with Lisl Ponger and commissioned by the evn collection. It deals with the central region of Bulgaria—from Sofia to the Black Sea—where the evn has its business responsibilities.

Ponger and Sharp engage in transdisciplinary work at the interfaces of art and film, art and science, art and politics, ethnology, sociology, art and history, society, migration and democracy. They move elegantly across the terrain where progressive contemporary discourse begins and, with their Logbook, they dock onto a Europe which is increasingly coming to regard itself as less an economic union and much more a cultural community and observe the seismic waves that run through the hierarchies of the European area. (…) Read More…

The Green Bag
2007 | 7 min | Colour | Sound

The Green Bag is a single take. A 7-minute, real-time documentary shot from the terrace of the Circle Hotel restaurant in Gondor, Ethiopia. While it allows a brief look at the density and multiplicity of everyday interactions taking place around the camera, the film also stimulates questions related to defining the essence of what documentary film is as a cultural artefact. The simple act of framing creates a dramaturgy that at times resonates with early silent films.

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Mo’s Money
2006 | Project for Museum in Progress [Verborgene Gesichten/Remapping Mozart] for publication in Der Standard, 13 April 2006

Adam Smith, Daniel Houghton, Mozart and pauperised workers…

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Mo’s Birthday
2006 | Commissioned short for the Mozart year of 2006. Video, 1 min, PAL 4:3 | Colour | Stereo

Image03On the visual level the film shows drummers on the streets of Dakar celebrating Mohammed’s birthday during an electricity blackout while at the same time there is a transient presence of a piece Mozart—the second ‘Mo’ of the title—wrote for the glass harmonica in the last year of his life for a blind woman musician. It is played here by a Slovak street musician.

I was also interested in the use Mozart made of the Orient in his work—in The Abduction from the Seraglio, for example—which, although informed by the ideas of enlightenment, nevertheless handles the cultural space it allegedly deals with as a screen for Western imaginings. Since any real threat of actual cultural or military invasion had been dispelled these began to move towards the more exotic outgrowths of Orientalism. Read More…

Mo’s Birthday, 2006 · Category: Video
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Demolition of Aspang Station 2003
2005 | Large format slide in light box (50cm x 40cm) and 2m measuring rod divided into black and white sections of 10 cm

Installation-view-2005Built in the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Aspang Station was part of the Vienna – Thessalonica railway project. From 1939 to 1942 it was the station from which over 47 train loads of Viennese Jews were deported – over 50,000 people. After the war and Austrian independence the station went into slow decline till it was eventually demolished in 2001 and the site scheduled to be part of a large-scale redevelopment project.

reconstructing-50x60The sight of machines removing the tracks and digging trenches into the former platforms seemed particularly evocative especially since the safety barriers round the excavation had the same colours as the Austrian flag. With issues of restitution and memorialisation still being debated in Austria, the visual image also resonated up with the historically racist elements of Western tradition – measuring and classifying “races” and assigning them a position on a scale of purported civilisation. The US laws classifying anyone with “one drop of black blood” as non-white; legal sterilisations carried out on Native Americans and asylum patients into the 1970s; the invention and propagation of the pseudo-science of eugenics throughout Europe, etc. Read More…

The Trapdoor
2005 | 26 min | Colour & Black & White | Stereo
Transfer from 9.5mm, 8mm and Super 8 film

The Trapdoor uses amateur film material from around 1920 to 1990 to examine how history—personal and collective—is written and rewritten into ever-changing but cohesive narratives and how re-examining the past brings to light forgotten (or suppressed) material. Family films lend themselves to this end since they are almost always “innocent” attempts at representing their conformity. The trapdoor belongs to stagecraft and allows things to abruptly appear and disappear from the scene… Read More…

ImagiNative: Research as Artistic Strategy
2004 | CD ROM /Web Project

Imaginative-stillImagiNative is a joint web/CD project with Lisl Ponger commissioned by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt for The Black Atlantic exhibition in 2004. We were interested in exploring how images are crucial in forming attitudes and identities in our society and in constructing the identities—imagined, imposed, resisted—of Others. ImagiNative was made in order to contextualize our work, to allow direct insight into the work process itself. As such, it is a sort of ‘reverse engineering’ project which collects together materials from various areas which touch on many of the issues with which we are concerned. These include the production of stereotypes, orientalism, ethnology (and notions such as authentic and inauthentic artefacts and customs), migration, travel and tourism (who travels, and why), racism (and associated pseudo-sciences) and the role of image-making in all of this.

The project is available online in English and German at http://imaginative.lislponger.com/

I_D_Entities
2004 | 13 colour photos (6 digitally altered photos, 7 text images). Each approx. 60 x 70 cm (framed). Image size approx. 40 x 50 cm.

The series re-works 6 hand-coloured photographs from the end of the 19th century showing Heligoland, Norderney and Venice. Inserted into the settings (tourist, travel and holiday destinations) is a single image of a young woman, a Berber from North Africa, probably Algeria. It is taken from a two volume work published in Berlin in 1910 – Das Weib im Leben der Völker by Albert Friedenthal, most “from my own collection,” as the author says.

Interwoven with these historically contiguous elements are seven texts in the form of separate, extended quotations from SCRAM: Relocating under a new Identity by James S. Martin. The short ‘captions’ at the bottom of the photos themselves also come from this source. Published in Washington in 1993, the book is effectively a handbook with legal and not so legal tips about how to divest oneself of one identity and acquire another. Wiping the slate clean. Building a new life. Starting again somewhere else. It demands the total erasure of one life and the assumption of another, justifying it by the fact that the authorities provide the same “service” and relocation possibilities to criminals. Read More…

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