The Physical Archive, Schools without Walls, Trading in Kind - Maj Horn

Maj Horn ( Denmark )

My practice deals with public spheres and communities by looking into aspects of knowledge sharing, the acquisition of sites, and the identity and atmosphere of places. During my three month stay at ZK/U I did not have any urgent deadline for finishing new work, so I was able to do research and to participate in the flow of events happening.

For the Open House in March 2017, I selected books from ZK/U’s library and presented them together with my own notes and drafts. Being in the beginning of my stay, I wanted to get an understanding of ZK/U’s history and to find connections to my own practice. The leading question for me was how to enter into the knowledge production that had already taken place at ZK/U. The presentation was used as a starting point for conversations with the staff and current and former artists in residency.

During the stay I continued ongoing research about hidden economies, inspired by J.K. Gibson-Graham’s (1996) feminist critique of economy. I participated in workshops and did interviews with artists working with the topic. I am currently using that research in my project Trading in Kind at Art Lab Gnesta in Sweden (2017/2018).

For the Open House in May 2017, I tried out a new mapping and knowledge sharing strategy, dealing with questions related to public art. The visitors were invited to participate actively in face-to-face dialogues, where they recalled and narrated a chosen art experience to a professional illustrator, who in turn did a sound recording and an illustration for each shared memory. On the small journey the participants were guided through questions of permanence and time, scale and materials, placement and surrounding, emotions and atmosphere. The illustrators were Atsuko Mochida and Christian Diaz Orejarena.

During the last part of my stay, I had meetings with residency coordinator Lotta Schäfer where we discussed possible ways to engage the groups of youths that hang out in the park at ZK/U on a daily basis. One of our ideas was to make an open call to engage them as guides to do (paid) tours of the local Moabit to newly arrived artists.

The starting point for our discussion was a fire that was started on the terrace by some of the youths, that made it clear that better communication between the young groups and ZK/U was needed. Unfortunately, I had to leave before this project came to fruition.