The publication No, I Am Not a Toad, I Am a Turtle goes back to a three year long research and a film project by Elke Marhöfer on the Korean song form of ‘pansori’ music. Confronted with an animist ontology, growing from the research, the publication revisits discredited philosophies based upon believes on souls and spirits, and questions how modernity designed and conceptualized the relationships and boundaries between ‘humans,’ ‘animals,’ ‘plants’ and ‘things.’
The publication takes a fresh look at Aby Warburg’s prominent Mnemosyne Atlas. Reflecting on the fact that research, be it art or science based, is a historical and anthropological procedure that is closely related to colonialism, the film and the two essays rethink how Warburg creates a relational and trans-cultural methodology. Inhuman and animating forces of images, things, animals, people, minerals, amulets and dices, solar and lunar eclipses, intestines, magic stones and starry heavens stemming from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Jordan suggest exploring Mnemosyne Atlas outside of European cultural history and the imagination of itself.
Eser is a comprehensive publication on Judith Raum’s works, installations and lecture performance texts from 2011 to 2014. It is also a theoretical reader and material collection on the semi-colonial advance of German entrepreneurs and bankers into the Ottoman Empire before World War I in connection with the construction of the Anatolian Railway. In this frame, the logic of capitalism and geopolitical interests connected the engineers’ tasks with less obvious efforts: to get a hold of Anatolian agriculture, archaeology and the working conditions in the country. Judith Raum’s work suggests that gestures and rhetoric of power and domination are the consequences of an economic principle that did not end with the colonial era and in fact persist today. Her works and texts take her research on site and in archives as a starting point, they exhibit an autonomous aesthetic dimension, however, and as such suggest an alternative approach to ‘artistic research’.