Charles Heller: Alternative Karrieren: Counter-Knowledge and Aesthetics at the Borders of Europe: a Trajectory at the Junctures of Art, Activism and ResearchProgramm
Alternative Karrieren: Counter-Knowledge and Aesthetics at the Borders of Europe: a Trajectory at the Junctures of Art, Activism and Research
16.11.2017 – Aula, Kollegienhaus (Petersplatz 1)
Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker whose work has a long-standing focus on the politics of migration within and at the borders of Europe. In 2011, he co-founded the Forensic Oceanography research project (part of the Forensic Architecture agency) at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the aim of investigating the lethal effects of the militarized border regime in the Mediterranean Sea, and in 2012 he co-founded WatchTheMed platform, which has been used by civil society to exercise a critical right to look at sea. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he continues to be affiliated as a research fellow. Heller’s research has been published in a number of investigative reports, international journals and edited volumes, and the videos he has produced with Forensic Oceanography have been exhibited internationally. He is currently based between Geneva and Bologna, conducting a postdoctoral research supported by the Swiss National Fund (SNF).
Since 2004, Charles Heller’s work has been located at the juncture between art, research and activism in the aim of understanding and contesting the violence of borders, and since 2011 he has focused almost exclusivly on the maritime frontier of Europe with the Forensic Oceanography project. A key operative concept in his work has been that of the « disobedient gaze » which allows to target knowledge and aestehtic interventions towards refraining from uncovering what states seek to shed light on – such as illegalised border crossings – and reveal instead what states seek to keep in the shadows – their responsability for the violence perpetrated at and through borders. However, this separation is not a fixed one, as the conditions of (in)visibility imposed by the border regime are constantly evolving. As a result, demands from researchers, activists and aesthetic practitioners seeking to oppose the violence of borders must constantly reposition them selves. In this presentation in which he will describe the successive projects had led, Heller will describe his hand-to-hand struggle with the border regime, in which contesting the violence of borders also entails contesting the boundaries of what can be seen and heard.