Home Office-Ästhetiken: Ein Blogbeitrag

by Miriam Oesterreich, Universität der Künste Berlin, and Moritz Schwörer, Heidelberg University

Zu Beginn

Der Beginn unserer Arbeit im Worlding Public Cultures-Projekt (WPC) am Lehrstuhl von Monica Juneja fiel in eine Zeit voller Neuerungen. Nicht nur für uns – eine neue Arbeitsstelle bringt schließlich immer viel Unbekanntes mit sich –, sondern für den gesamten universitären Betrieb. Denn unsere Verträge galten ab März bzw. April 2020 und COVID-19 entwickelte sich in dieser Zeit zu einer Pandemie. Als Heidelberger WPC-Team konnten wir noch ein erstes und vorerst letztes Treffen abhalten, an dem fast alle Mitglieder teilnahmen, bevor von solchen Zusammenkünften ab dem 15. März abgeraten wurde: „Internal meetings also should be cancelled or transferred to telephone or video conferencing unless they are of utmost importance for the continuation of the regular working of the institutions.“ Unser neuer Arbeitsplatz war von nun an also das Home Office und zu unserem bevorzugten Kommunikationsweg wurde zwangsläufig die Videokonferenz.

Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen hatten wir allerdings das Glück, dass Videokonferenzen schon einige Monate zuvor in unser Leben getreten waren: Als globales Projekt basierte WPC von Beginn an auf regelmäßigen virtuellen Treffen aller Mitglieder, an denen auch wir schon seit Dezember 2019 teilgenommen hatten. Der Schock des Neuen hatte uns somit schon etwas früher getroffen – „30 Teilnehmer*innen in einer Videokonferenz und es klappt! Wahnsinn!“ – und wir mussten nicht gänzlich unvorbereitet in die Welt von Zoom, WebEx, Teams, Skype und Co starten. Die Unsicherheit und die Aufregung, in die leblose Leere des Bildschirms aber dennoch zu einer größeren virtuellen Menschenansammlung zu sprechen, hatte sich daher für uns schon teilweise gelegt. Die Situation führte uns auch zum kollaborativen Denken und Schreiben, und wir nutzen hierfür radikale Assoziativität als Methode, um den verzweigten Spuren in unsere(n) Home Offices zu folgen. Continue reading “Home Office-Ästhetiken: Ein Blogbeitrag”

A Tribute to Monica – Practicing Transcultural Art History: “The ability to navigate multiple scales”

by Birgit Hopfener, Carleton University

I am immensely grateful to Monica.[i] Her conceptualizations of what transcultural art history is and does have been deeply formative for me, and I would not be where I am today without her continuous support. Thank you for that, for the numerous inspiring exchanges, and for your friendship!

I first met Monica when I was still a graduate student. I was working on a Ph.D. thesis that sought to critically expand mainstream contemporary art discourse in a global framework through the lens of contemporary Chinese art. Based on my expertise in art history and Sinology, and equipped with tools of post-colonial theory I adopted a bottom-up approach on the global, hoping to offer new insights into how installation art in China had been constituted through regionally specific yet transculturally entangled narratives and aesthetic idioms of art. In so doing, I sought to provincialize the universalized Euro-American aesthetic narrative of installation art as challenging modernist medium specificity, conceptualize cultural difference as performatively negotiated, and engaged in creating a critical awareness of the transcultural complexity of contemporary art. Continue reading “A Tribute to Monica – Practicing Transcultural Art History: “The ability to navigate multiple scales””

What’s in a Bindi and a Hand? Or: The Way Monica Juneja Enabled Me to World Myself by Sharing Her Worlds

by Franziska Koch, Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University

Getting to know and working closely with a scholar and a personality such as Monica Juneja has been an absolute treat. It has been a process of becoming for me, an ongoing process of becoming aware of the cultural and ethical perceptions that govern my scholarly and general views. It has entailed puzzling over something she said and re-shaping my views in ways that find me a bit more flexible, and often, reevaluating the limits of my understanding. Sometimes, I slightly ache from the revelation of an unwelcome truth and struggle with an impulse to disagree but fail to formulate it quite as articulately as her. Normally, I am more sensitive and open to embrace new knowledge and always curious about what she is going to share next.

It is precisely the skillful and generous ways in which she shares: in her research, teaching, writing, and communication that make me think of her as a second mother. One who taught me the ropes of academic professionalism and has encouraged me (and many other emerging scholars) to believe in a scholarly world that is ultimately not separate from our social lives.

Working as an assistant professor for her newly founded Chair of Global Art History since July 2009, her 65th anniversary now provides me with an auspicious occasion to look back at the truly transformative work that she has achieved at the Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context – Changing Asymmetries in Cultural Flows,” now known as the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS).[i] I thought, why not bring both these perspectives together; my personal and professional experience of working with the distinguished Geburtstagskind and share in turn how I grew beyond my initial self while participating in the transformation she enabled. Continue reading “What’s in a Bindi and a Hand? Or: The Way Monica Juneja Enabled Me to World Myself by Sharing Her Worlds”