Q1/ Could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your research interests?
I studied communications, political science, philosophy and sociology at the Technical University of Dresden, the Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt University in Berlin. In 2004 I was awarded my Doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin. Since 2005 I have been a researcher on the project, theory and concept of an interdisciplinary conceptual history at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin.
I’m especially interested in historical semantics and in the history of concepts, especially in such concepts which circulate in different disciplines with different meanings. In pursuit of this interest I wrote articles on the history of concepts like projection, fetishism, survival, evolution and others. My wider research interests are theories of Modernity, Critical Theory and Intellectual History.
Q2/ From a cultural scientist’s perspective what do you find so interesting about Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s practice?
Nadia’s artworks generate awareness for a past that still belongs to our present time. There is a strong connection between the history of concepts and Nadia’s artistic practice. As a cultural scientist I am researching concepts and ideas that not only belong to our contemporary life but that also shape our identity by tracing them back and analysing how they changed in time and how they developed in relation to structural and epistemic transformations. In Nadia’s work I recognise a quite similar endeavour, although the language of grouping things, turning around the use of media and representations, alienating purposes, hacking the usual contexts and creating new meanings is different from scientific research. Nevertheless, her works have always strong connections with our reality. They are not based on fictions, but empirically grounded. There is always something real, a trace, a record, a print, a certain material or discourse that makes it rather feel like a documentation than like a representation.
Q3/ What are the highlights, in your opinion, from her current show at The Mosaic Rooms?
The works of this exhibition are selected by their reference to the exhibition venue, Tower House, now the building of The Mosaic Rooms in London. New works like Faces and A Colour of Time emerged directly out of historical research that was done in archives and on-site inside the building, and former works like All Along the Watchtower, No and Impunities London Originals, Modular II were chosen because of there relation to London and the Tower House of today. The highlight for me is, of course, A Colour of Time, and the intervention that was performed on the ceiling rose in the Grand Room. It reveals gold leaf of the Victorian age that let to further inquiries about the former landlord of the house and finally to the work Faces in The Cabinet of Souls section of the exhibition. Somehow the works in the exhibition are either connected to each other or to the history of the Tower House. It is as if this history needs to be revealed before it haunts us in our present time.
Join Dr Falko Schmieder in conversation with artists Nadia and Timo Kaabi-Linke at Goethe Institut 7pm, 16 October. Rsvp@mosaicrooms.org. Find out more here.