Mariechen Danz: Knot in Arrow: Ore Oral Orientation, 2017 Performance, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, 57. Biennale di Venezia (film still) Courtesy Mariechen Danz

Blind Faith: Dis/Embodied Realities


Practical information

Symposium in English
No reservation required
5 €

Event overview

Dis/Embodied Realities 
With Brooke A. Holmes, Mariechen Danz and Ed Atkins
Moderated by Charles T. Wolfe


1.00 pm  
Welcome and Introduction

1.20 pm 
Performance Knot in Arrow: Ideographic Insulation
Mariechen Danz, Artist (Berlin) 
With Ronel Doual and Benjamin Kühni. Music by Gediminas Žygus & UNMAP 

2.30 pm
Keynote Lecture "All Perceptions are true
Brooke A. Holmes, Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics (Princeton University)

4.00 pm  
Artist Lecture and Q & A 
Ed Atkins, Artist (Berlin) 

5.00 pm  
Panel Discussion 
Brooke A. Holmes, Mariechen Danz and Ed Atkins
Moderated by Charles T. Wolfe


Dis/Embodied Realities
In a society where masses of information - both well-founded and fake - are constantly disseminated through a myriad of intangible channels, the physicality of the human body and the visceral immediacy of corporeal needs are only gaining in importance.

The exhibition “Blind Faith: Between the Visceral and the Cognitive in Contemporary Art” unites a selection of younger generation, international artists who critically examine this affirmation of the body as resonance chamber for political and social realities. For the artists of the exhibition, the body is not just object, metaphor, or site of examination, but also working material in the most literal sense, as fragmented anatomy and sensual experience. Methods of bodily augmentation, and performative modes of expression drive their investigation of the notion of reality in the “post-truth” age. Organized within the framework of the exhibition, the half-day symposium “Dis/Embodied Realities” offers a multidisciplinary examination of how historical and current understandings of the body inform our perception of the surrounding world and influence models of subjectivity. Brooke Holmes, Professor of Classics at Princeton University, will deliver a keynote speech tracing the role occupied by the body since classical antiquity, marking the important shifts in our understanding of the human body in relation to the non-human world. This presentation will serve as a theoretical backdrop for contributions by artists Mariechen Danz and Ed Atkins. The performance Knot in Arrow: Ideographic Insulation (2018) is the latest iteration of Mariechen Danz’s performative practice in which she continues to probe the limits of human comprehension.  Danz unmaps the erroneous moments of canonical knowledge transfer, turning instead to subaltern forms of understanding, particularly those stemming from the body and its constituent organs, as sources for an alternative narrative of human experience. Finally, a talk by the artist Ed Atkins will position his work with abjected, animated avatar figures in the larger context of our contemporary perception of bodies as mediated via digital technologies. To this end, Atkins will pay particular attention to the work Safe Conduct (2016) which is on view as part of the exhibition. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion between all the participants, moderated by Charles T. Wolfe.

Ed Atkins (*1982, Oxford, United Kingdom) is an artist who makes videos, writes and draws, developing a complex and deeply figured discourse around definition, wherein the impossibilities for sufficient representations of the physical, specifically corporeal, world — from computer generated imagery to bathetic poetry — are hysterically rehearsed. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London between 2007 and 2009. Atkins has participated in numerous group exhibitions in international galleries and institutions including the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin, New Museum in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Serpentine Galleries in London. The artist has also presented solo exhibitions at the MMK in Frankfurt, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, MoMA PS1 in New York, Tate Britain in London, and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. Atkins lives and works in Berlin.  

Mariechen Danz (*1980, Dublin, Ireland) studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles County where she graduated with an MA in Art & Integrated Media in 2008. Danz has presented solo exhibitions at the GAK – Gesellschaft fur aktuelle Kunst in Bremen, the CAN Centre d’Art Neuchatel, and at the Kunstverein Gottingen. Her works have also been included in numerous international group exhibitions, for example, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Kunsthaus Bregenz, the New Museum in New York, High Line Art New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the 57th Venice Biennale “Viva Arte Viva” (2017).

Brooke A. Holmes is a comparatist, a Hellenist, and a historian of concepts.  She is Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, where she also directs the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and the Postclassicisms Network. She is the author of The Symptom and the Subject: The Emergence of the Physical Body in Ancient Greece (2010) and Gender: Antiquity and its Legacy (2012) and numerous articles on ancient medicine, natural science, and philosophy, the history of materialism, Greek literature, especially tragedy, and the reception of Greek philosophy in the twentieth century. Her most recent project is the multi-authored book-exhibition, Liquid Antiquity (2017), commissioned by the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art and complemented by the video installation “Liquid Antiquity: Conversations,” designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and first installed in the antiquities galleries at the Benaki Museum in Athens before traveling to London in 2018. She is working on a book on sympathy and the concept of nature in Greco-Roman antiquity.

Charles T. Wolfe is a researcher in the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University. He works primarily in history and philosophy of the early modern life sciences, with a particular interest in materialism and vitalism. He is the author of Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction(2016), the forthcoming monograph La philosophie de la biologie: une histoire du vitalisme, and has edited volumes including Monsters and Philosophy (2005), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge (2010, with O. Gal), Vitalism and the scientific image in post-Enlightenment life-science (2013, with S. Normandin), Brain Theory (2014), and Physique de l’esprit (w. J.C. Dupont, 2018). He also co-edits the Springer series in History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences. Papers and other works available at:   

Mariechen Danz: Knot in Arrow: Ore Oral Orientation, 2017 Performance, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, 57. Biennale di Venezia (film still) Courtesy Mariechen Danz
Mariechen Danz: Knot in Arrow: Ore Oral Orientation, 2017 Performance, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, 57. Biennale di Venezia (film still) Courtesy Mariechen Danz
Watch the video
Performance by Mariechen Danz: "Knot in Arrow: Ideographic Insulation" - 29:50