ANTJE GUENTHER
SELECTED WORKS
ARTIST STATEMENT
What do we know? Why are we so certain about what we know? What if the question 'how or in which ways do we not know' is more important? And how are knowledge and our modes of thinking going to change in a future faced with rapid progress in machine learning and artificial intelligence? My art practice addresses epistemological questions within the realms of cybernetics, posthumanism, technofeminism, and the sociology of science. I am specifically fascinated by scientific theories that reveal the boundaries of certainty and predictability. I consider speculating, claiming, proving, and claiming to prove to be necessary tools for questioning the general conditions of knowledge, including scientific knowledge, and the underlying power structures of knowledge production. An important part of my research is the cognitive process, our understanding of it, and its potential biological and artificial extensions. For the past year, I have focussed on seductive but highly problematic brain-computer analogies. What does it mean to understand the brain as a complex circuitry based on elaborate algorithms? On other hand, what does it mean when computer architectures are based on neural networks? What are the consequences of the ensuing denials of matter, body, and flesh? However, I am not interested in finding consistent visual equivalents for my theoretical research. My art practice must get beyond my brain’s control – its established neural pathways – in order to counter and resist given logical structures. Thinking with the brain about thinking and the brain offers up self-referential loops that can create highly productive short circuits and paradoxes. I want to tap into such loops and extend them into the realm of fiction, especially science fiction, as a method to test and challenge truth, fact, and reality. There is a distinct epistemological power in material and matter, which I want to discover and utilise. During my art studies, ceramics became an important and additional medium in contrast to my conceptual photography study programme. Contrary to my expectations, clay is a highly resistant material that is both unpredictable and unforgiving throughout the sculpting process. I really appreciate this behaviour because I consider its antagonist qualities as crucial to challenging my theory-based practice. To clash seemingly unrelated or contradictory topics, materials, and methods is something I love to do because it enables me to deconstruct the epistemological notions that are central to my practice. In addition to dealing with epistemological questions regarding fields of interests, I want my works to become an epistemological experience (not be confused with a didactic experience). This is why, at this point in my artistic development, I am looking for potential new roles and functions that artefacts might claim. In considering how exhibiting can spatially and conceptually extend within the epistemological framing, I am discovering that building narratives and using artefacts as props are exciting tools for further explorations.
aguenth@mail.de