Neustart Kultur Identity Lab
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Between October 2021 and July 2022, I gained financial support from German funding bodies Neustart Kultur and BBK - the German national Fine Art Association.
This fantastic opportunity not only enabled me to develop this artwork but also to develop close professional relationships with the University of Konstanz in the south of Germany and the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, near Dusseldorf.
A few words around the work
Integrate the web and become an active component in the construction of a contemporary art installation. An opportunity to reconnect with others on the subject of identity, participating in an Identity Lab installation is an opportunity to build new relationships and rediscover missing links caused by Covid 19.
What does it mean to be an immigrant or an
indigenous person, a European or a non-European, a girl or a boy, a woman or a
man or someone who does not fully identify with these categories? Is there any
one particular trait that distinguishes humans from non-humans (language, art,
intelligence, bipedialism…)? Are National identities still relevant in the age
of globalisation or can critical approaches to anthropology and archaeology (with the help of art)
help us to build new, more complex and dynamic, notions of self and other,
us and them?
These are some of the questions we will address in our installations that are intended for both adults and children. With a playful attitude and a philosophical approach, participants are encouraged to collect and combine various materials that are brought to the table by the artist.
In this group collage-making exercise of
non-determinded outcomes, surprise, experimentation and connectivity are
driving forces. The result of collaboration and cooperation, the objective is
to build a tangible and material open-source mind map where storytelling and
performance are keys to building identity. The installation material elicits
conversations about our identity as humans and each participant selects from a
large unorganised archive what goes where in the installation and
Fragments from social science textbooks as well
as popular magazines are decontextualised (cut out) and it is up to the
participants to find new meanings in building new relationships and possible (counter)
narratives to the omniscient “Master Narrative”.
An exercise in building relationships, this collective artwork is a site-specific collage in the making, a game of thinking with your hands and talking with your cut-outs.
Identity Lab is essentially the installation and arrangement
of the raw materials of Artist Sam Melser. The artist invites participants to
help reconfigure new scenarios of human history with materials he has collected
and transformed over many years. Melser
began collecting iconography from anthropology and archaeology whilst writing
his PhD in Paris at the EHESS Social Science School. Since then, it has grown
The manipulation of this material is intended to help us think about what it means to be human and how we can ethically design (or redesign) our destiny,
Sam Melser : firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist bio, CV and works at : www.sammelserart,com