Defining Borders ⁄ Grenzen Ziehen

The departments of Photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig and the Glasgow School of Art have had a successful working relationship for almost 20 years. Our Initial connection began via student exchanges through the schools Erasmus program, which has seen a number of students continued their studies up to their final degree. However, since 2003 both institutions Photography departments have worked together to form successful collaborative projects that have been the foremost source of a special momentum in the process of artistic work for all concerned.

The special quality of these occasions lies, not only with the individuality of the participating students who are suddenly confronted with a situation that is dominated by a different and new group dynamic, but also with quite different approaches towards methods of teaching and intellectual discourse. Through the process many issues and differences come together, are evaluated, reviewed and subsequently emerge somewhat renewed from this collaboration.

This renewal alone, made on the basis of shared experiences, is of lasting significance for the practice of an art schools every day routine as an academic institution. Equally, if not more importantly, are the connections made on personal levels between the students that inevitably create new networks, develop different insights into issues and practices, and finally provide more knowledge about different cultural spheres.

The work represented in this publication is proof of this process in very individual ways. The projects theme “Grenzen ziehen – defining borders” is not only reflected with the knowledge of major social and political issues, but also through private and autobiographical impulses, perceptions and impressions. The abstraction of these subjects, as well as their interpretations, is clearly recognizable, especially in this very particular time of historical European crisis, and we hope that what has been observed during our time together serves as small means in overcoming this period of search for a new identity, besides being simply “good pieces of art”.

I wish to thank both institutions and especially the DAAD for their support of this project, and sincerely hope that future collaborations will be made possible despite the difficult economic situation we find ourselves in.

Torsten Hattenkerl

Reproduced photographs by Marion Archibald, Wenzel Staehlin & Benedikt Bock, Marco Habeck, Jana Voigt/Florian Wenzel, Sandra Barth, Torsten Hattenkerl, Antje Günther, Fabien Marques, Calum Johnston.

The project was conducted by Jake McKinney (Glasgow School of Art), Prof. Annette Kisling and Prof. Torsten Hattenkerl, Assistant to the project: Oliver Hartung (all HGB Leipzig).