“Migratory People, Migratory Images”
QUESTIONING AESTHETICS SYMPOSIUM
NYU-Berlin – June 17-18, 2016
Auditorium of the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
PROGRAM & SPEAKER BIOS & ABSTRACTS
Friday, June 17, 2016
9:00 AM — Introduction: Michael Kelly (Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation)
9:30 AM—11:30 AM
Moderator: Gregg Horowitz (Pratt Institute)
Saskia Sassen (Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and
Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University)—“A Massive Loss of Habitat: New Drivers of Migrations”
Miguel Angel Hernandez-Navarro (Associate Professor of Art History,
University of Murcia, Spain, and fiction writer)—“Fictionalizing Migration:
Traveling from Visual Art to Literature”
Mariam Ghani (Artist, NYC; Queens College, CUNY)—“Culture Wars”
11:45 AM — 1:45 PM
Moderator: Jèssica Jaques Pi (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Mieke Bal (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of
Amsterdam) —“Migratory Aesthetics”
Meleko Mokgosi (Artist, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York
University)—“Painting Theory: Representation, Post-colonialism, and Brown Skin”
1:45 PM—3:15 PM — Lunch
3:30 PM — 5:30 PM
Moderator: Susanne von Falkenhausen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Luka Lucic (Assistant Professor, Department of Social Science &
Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute)—“Thirsty for Internet: Technological
Affordances along a Migratory Journey”
Olga Jitlina (Artist, Saint Petersburg; Editor-in-Chief of the Utopian News
Agency; co-Founder of Idleness Academy), along with Ali Ahmed and Partick Owusu from “Lampedusa in Hamburg”—“Performing Translation”
Ahmet Ögüt (Artist, Amsterdam)—“Silent University: Solidarity based Pedagogy”
Saturday, June 18, 2016
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Moderator: Karen Hornick (Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University)
T.J. Demos (Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, and Director,
Center for Creative Ecologies, University of California at Santa Cruz)—
“Climate Refugees and Visual Politics”
Ihab Saloul (Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies & Academic
Coordinator of Amsterdam School for Heritage & Memory Studies,
University of Amsterdam)—“Contested Sites of Memory: Aesthetics and Performativity in Times of Conflict”
Nina Katchadourian (Artist, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University)—“Accent Elimination”
11:45 AM — 1:45 PM
Moderator: Gerard Vilar (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Eve Meltzer (Associate Professor of Visual Studies, Gallatin School of
Individualized Study, New York University)—“Migrant Mother,
Damaged Child: Notes on Moving Images”
André Leipold (Zentrum für Politische Schönheit; Artist Collective, Berlin)—“Real Fiction or Discoveries at the Interface between Arts and Politics”
Vera Tollmann (Writer; Research Centre RCPP, Berlin)—“Navigators”
1:45 PM—3:15 PM — Lunch
3:30 PM — 5:30 PM
Moderator: Michael Kelly, Department of Philosophy, University of
North Carolina at Charlotte; & Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation
Speakers: All Symposium Participants and Hito Steyerl
Generously funded by the Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost, New York University; New York University Berlin; Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University; NYU Gallatin Office of Global Study; Pratt Institute; and the Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation.
Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic, and video artist. Her books include a trilogy on political art (2010-213) and A Mieke Bal Reader (2006). She just published a book on the political force of the shadow plays of Nalini Malani. Her experimental video documentaries on issues of migration and identity have been internationally exhibited. Her video project, Madame B, with Michelle Williams Gamaker, offers a critique of “emotional capitalism” and what is now ravaging the world as neo-liberalism. In April 2016, the première of a 5-channel installation and a feature film on the mis-encounter between René Descartes and Queen Kristina of Sweden, leading to the philosopher-of rationalism’s death took place in Kraków, Poland. www.miekebal.org
T.J. Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art and visual culture, global politics, migration and ecology, and is the author of The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013)—winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award—and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). Demos co-curated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. He recently published Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Political Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016); and is currently finishing a new book, Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (Sternberg Press, 2016).
Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her exhibitions and screenings have been presented at venues including the Rotterdam, Berlinale and CPH:DOX film festivals, the Sharjah and Liverpool Biennials, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kabul and Kassel, the Secession and CCCB in Europe, and the Queens, Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York, among others. Recent texts have been published in Foreign Policy, Ibraaz, Manifesta Journal, and Triple Canopy, and anthologized in Dissonant Archives, The Gulf: High Culture, Hard Labor, and Artists Writing 2000-2015. She teaches at CUNY and is a visiting artist at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law.
Miguel Ángel Hernández is Associate Professor of Art History at University of Murcia, Spain, and formerly Director of CENDEAC in Murcia. He is the author of several books on contemporary art and visual culture, including Materializar el pasado: El artista como historiador benjaminiano (2012), Robert Morris (2010), and 2Move: Video Art Migration (2008, with Mieke Bal); and is also co-Editor of Art and Visibility in Migratory Culture (with Mieke Bal, 2011). He is also novelist and fiction writer. His novel Escape Attempt (translated into several languages) is a reflection on the ethics of contemporary art and the representation of migratory culture.
Karen Hornick is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. She writes about and teaches classes on Western cultural history, with an emphasis on cultural theory and narrative. She is currently teaching an NYU Berlin seminar on Berlin in the 20th century.
Gregg Horowitz is Professor of Philosophy at Pratt Institute. He writes on and teaches the philosophy of art, psychoanalysis, and political theory. His publications include the books Sustaining Loss: Art and Mournful Life and The Wake of Art: Philosophy, Criticism and the Ends of Taste (with Arthur C. Danto and Tom Huhn) and the articles “Absolute Bodies: The Video Puppets of Tony Oursler” (Parallax, 2010) and “The Homeopathic Image, or, Trauma, Intimacy and Poetry” (Critical Horizons, 2010).
Olga Jitlina (Zhitlina) is an artist based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Utopian News Agency and co-Founder of Idleness Academy (together with Emily Newman and Alexander Skidan). Also, she has worked in collaboration with Alejandro Ramirez (artist, film-director), Anna Tereshkina (artist, graphic), and others. Together with Andrey Yakimov (human rights advocate), she developed “Russia, the Land of Opportunity Labor Migrant Board Game” (see the Amanda Weil Award Lecture at the 2014 Creative Time Summit, Stockholm, a collaboration with Public Art Agency Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boMMHjsVQvI). See http://www.olgajitlina.info
Nina Katchadourian is an interdisciplinary artist and an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. Her video Accent Elimination was included at the 2015 Venice Biennale in the Armenian pavilion, which won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. A solo survey show of her work will open in March 2017 at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas, with an accompanying monograph; and she is currently working on a sound-based project about dust for MoMA. See www.ninakatchadourian.com
Michael Kelly, Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 2014, 2nd edition); author of A Hunger for Aesthetics (Columbia University Press, 2012) and Iconoclasm in Aesthetics (Cambridge University Press, 20o3); and Founder & President, Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation
André Leipold is the privy councilor of the ZPS. He is responsible for the development of ideas, the manufacturing of coherence, the setting of the conceptual frameworks of all parts in a production (basis of texts, staging and public representation) and the coordination of participating artists. Leipold is a singer (“Kreismal”) and producer, also in the music at home.
Luka Lucić is an Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, where he also coordinates the Psychology Minor. Luka is a developmental psychologist whose research explores the socio-cognitive process of sense-making among children and youth who experienced abrupt resettlement and relocation, such as migrants and those living in war-affected areas. His recent publication titled Changing Landscapes, Changing Narratives: Socio-Cultural Approach for Teaching Global Migrants (Pedagogy, Culture and Society) explores the effects of new media technologies on development of today’s children and youth migrants.
Eve Meltzer is Associate Professor of Visual Studies and Visual Culture at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Art History. Her first book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn (University of Chicago Press, 2013) situates the conceptual art movement in relation to the field of structuralist thought and the notion of the world as a total sign system. Her second book, tentatively titled Group Photo: Psychoanalysis, Photography, and Belonging will examine several bodies of group photographs, through which she elaborates the claim that the subject’s being for and belonging to others has a psycho-photographic consistency.
Meleko Mokgosi (born in Francistown, Botswana) works across history painting, cinematic tropes, psychoanalysis, and post-colonial theory to create large-scale project-based installations. His work interrogates narrative tropes and the fundamental models for the inscription and transmission of history along side established European notions of representation in order to address questions of nationhood, anti-colonial sentiments, and the perception of historicized events. His artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Botswana National Gallery, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ahmet Öğüt, born in Diyarbakır, Turkey, is a sociocultural initiator, artist, and lecturer who lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. He is the initiator of The Silent University, which is an autonomous solidarity based knowledge exchange platform by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. Öğüt’s institutional solo exhibitions include Forward!, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2015); Happy Together: Collaborators Collaborating, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the British Art Show 8 (2015-2017) and Museum On/OFF, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR (2016). Öğüt was awarded the Visible Award for the Silent University (2013); the De Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs 2011, Netherlands among others. He co-represented Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). He is currently working on his new project for the 11th Gwangju Biennale. For more info: www.ahmetogut.com
Ihab Saloul is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, co-founding Director and Academic Coordinator of The Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He is a Visiting Professor of Culture and Politics at Free University Berlin, and a Research Fellow at the network “Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa” at Marburg University. He was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, and a EUME-Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. His publications include Catastrophe and Exile in the Modern Palestinian Imagination: Telling Memories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Zoom In: Palestinian Refugees of 1948, Remembrances (Republic of Letters, 2011). Saloul is a book series editor of “Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict” and “Heritage and Memory Studies” series at Amsterdam University Press.
Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University (www.saskiasassen.com). She is the author of several books and the recipient of diverse awards and mentions, ranging from multiple doctor honoris causa to named lectures and being selected for various honors lists. Her new book is Expulsions: When Complexity Produces Elementary Brutalities (Harvard University Press 2014).
Hito Steyerl is a German filmmaker and writer, who recently had an exhibition, Duty-Free Art, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia in Madrid.
Vera Tollmann is a writer. She co-curated the 9th Video Vortex conference at the Centre for Digital Cultures of Leuphana University Luneburg (2013). Vera is a Ph.D. candidate (since 2015) in the “Aesthetics of the Virtual” graduate program in Hamburg; and is a research associate at the University of Arts, Berlin, where, together with Hito Steyerl, Maximilian Schmoetzer, and Boaz Levin, she runs the Research Center for Proxy Politics http://rcpp.lensbased.net/. Selected, recent essays: “The Body of The Web,” with Boaz Levin, for Skulptur Projekte Münster; “The Uncanny Polar Bear. Activists Visually Attack an Overly Emotionalized Image Clone”; and “Exploding Images.”
Mieke Bal, “Migratory Aesthetics”—I will depart from a project I did some years ago with Miguel Ángel Hernández-Navarro. It constituted an attempt to make the concept of “migratory aesthetics” concrete in an exploration of the interaction between two forms of movement, video, as a much-practiced form of the moving image, and migration and the social movement of people. The longer-term project began when I could not find in the library what I sought to understand about the contemporary Western European cities, the sites where migration and its aesthetic, in other words, “migratory aesthetics” is most conspicuously present, albeit in de facto invisible form. I use “aesthetics” here to refer to an experience of sensate binding, a connectivity based on the senses, and the “-s” at the end of the word is meant to indicate the plural form, not the “science of” or meta-meaning.
T.J. Demos, “Climate Refugees and Visual Politics”—With the worldwide growth of refugees owing to environmental transformation—defining the new term of “climate refugees”—we confront a complex vector of causality, where climate change intersects with economic, socio-technological, biopolitical, and military-security factors. Yet the visual imaging of migrants and refugees in media culture and artistic documentary, producing a spectacle of misery, often contributes to a violent abstraction from that web of categories, in the process excluding structural agents (states, militaries, and corporations as well as legal and economic infrastructures) from our understanding of the causal conditions behind dislocation. How might visual culture contribute to an alteration of this cycle of “refugeeization,” instead placing the complex determinants of geopolitical displacement within the frame of the visible? If representation conditions policy, contexualized by xenophobic and racist perceptions, and if climate refugees are predicted to grow exponentially in coming years, addressing this question now appears urgent.
Miguel Ángel Hernández-Navarro, “Fictionalizing Migration: Travelings from Visual Art to Literature”—I started working on Migratory Aesthetics through art criticism. Then I explored the concept through some exhibitions acting as a curator. And after that, these concepts permeated my work as fiction writer, especially my novel Escape Attempt. In this intervention I would like to trace the travel of my interest in migratory aesthetics from art criticism to fiction, showing how each medium and context enriches and modifies the approach and how sometimes it is necessary to tighten established genres to give account of a mobile, unstable reality. The novel—as other narrative forms—sometimes reaches places that art criticism or other analytical form of writing cannot reach, especially experience and emotion, fundamental aspects of migration and aesthetics. In my presentation, therefore, I will defend a mobile writing and also a multidisciplinary approach that explore the epistemological possibilities of fiction and narrative in our migratory world.
Olga Jitlina, along with Ali Ahmed and Partick Owusu from “Lampedusa in Hamburg,” “Performing Translation”—The “Translation” performance represents a utopian situation of a collective interview for the official refugee status in Germany of the “Lampedusa in Hamburg” group, a politically organized refugee movement. An opera singer, Yulia Averina, is translating the story of their journey and political struggle to the German official using the language of European Baroque and Romantic arias and songs. Normally, the decisions whether to grant or deny refuge status are made on the basis of such individual interviews. The criteria for the decision include a true description of the circumstances and reasons why protection in Europe is sought. However, it is frequently the case that translators change over the course of the application, and variations enter into the translation, so that the plausibility of the application is in doubt, and, as a consequence, it may be denied. So the question of translation sometimes becomes literally a question of life or death. Besides that practical aspect, the question of translatability of extreme experiences also remains open. The script is based on Andrey Platonov’s novel Dzhan or Soul. It narrates about a nation consisting of outcasts of different ethnic groups dying from poverty in a desert in Turkmenistan and departing on a journey in search of survival and collective happiness. The question of how bare life can be politicized, articulated by Giorgio Agamben about 50 years after, is one of the crucial points for Dzhan and the performance. The performance was commissioned by Nordwind festival and shown at Kampnagel theatre in December 2015.
Nina Katchadourian, “Accent Elimination”—My work often engages subject of language, interpretation, translation and mistranslation. In my presentation, I will address the impetus and ideas behind my six-channel video installation, Accent Elimination (2005), exhibited as part of the 2015 Venice Biennale as part of the Armenian national pavilion. In this work, my parents and I practice and perform two scripts—written separately by each of my foreign-born parents—which reveal the origins of my parents’ accents. All three of us took intensive lessons with accent coach Sam Chwat over several weeks, and also practiced with each other between lessons, so that eventually I could try to speak my lines in each of my parents’ accents and my parents could try to pronounce their lines with a “standard American accent.” Other monitors display footage from the many weeks of lessons with our accent coach as we struggle to master each other’s accents.
André Leipold, “Real Fiction or Discoveries at the Interface between Arts and Politics”—I like to situate the Center for Political Beauty inside the ancient idea of theater as a space for social reconfirmation and as a currently underrated possibility space in general. Inside those spaces we can find all the crafts and means to include and enable our actions. The Center for Political Beauty has always been about breaking borders by finding and occupying no-man´s-lands and by installing them as corridors. Therefore we can work as an interface between perceptual worlds: art and politics, fiction and reality. Facts and creations can interact with each other and produce new facts and fictions —in order to fight the real dystopian fiction of politics and to rewrite the scripts of their actual deadly theater works.
Luka Lucić, “Thirsty for Internet: Technological affordances along a migratory journey”—Amidst the current refugee ‘crisis’, children and adolescents are seen as being amongst the most vulnerable of all. According to UNHCR data, as of February of 2016, approximately 27% of refugees arriving in Europe by sea or land are children under the age of 18. Roughly 8% are unaccompanied young people traveling alone. Along the migratory journey, their access to rights guaranteed by the 1951 Refugee Convention (such as education) is acutely limited. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly clear that one of the top priorities for refugees upon arrival to each refugee camp is access to the Internet. If available, the interactive qualities of the Internet afford migrants the ability to transcend traditional geographic and physical boundaries in order to engage in interpersonal interactions virtually. However, the Internet also affords interactivity, symbolic flexibility, and vast source of information–relational tools that are well suited for implementation of teaching and learning programs. What opportunities for active participation in educational activities does the intersection between the technology and mobility provide? In short, by employing the technological affordances present along a migratory journey for educational purposes we can enable young refugees to develop abilities of perspective-taking by positioning (and re-positioning or re-imagine) themselves in time/space (real or imagined) as well as to actively engage with audiences (in home and host countries) who might hear or read their narratives.
Eve Meltzer, “Migrant Mother, Damaged Child: Notes on Moving Images”—In this talk I call upon the chorus of voices and the theater of images that perpetually return us (the quarrelsome and marginalized Left) to a dilemma both sickeningly familiar and, at the same time, perpetually new and strange. This dilemma transports us back and forth between trust and resentment; between compassion and cynicism; between the faces of individuals on the move and the seeming invisibility of structures and causes. It traffics in affects—pity and fear, paranoia and optimism, obligation and entertainment. Not too long ago I met again with this dilemma in my Photography seminar while listening to my students describe what they thought they were seeing in the photograph of Alan Kurdi, who had drowned and washed ashore on a Turkish beach last fall. This is a migrant image, to be sure. But it doesn’t travel alone; it interfaces with other images and so many words, all of which bring something to the way in which its various registers—aesthetic, affective, discursive—work through us and upon us. In an effort to illuminate the dynamics of this dilemma, in this brief talk I summon some helpful voices—Rosler, Berlant, Butler, among them—and a handful of images: the Migrant Mother, both Lange and Mann’s Damaged Child, even Rodney King as well as young Alan and the artist Mary Kelly’s image-less rendering of Kastriot Rexhepi, a toddler left for dead by his Kosovo-Albanian parents during the Balkan war, but later found alive.
Meleko Mokgosi, “Painting Theory: Representation, Post-colonialism, and Brown Skin”—By working with contemporary literary theorists’ speculations on the idea of post-colonial aesthetics, my presentation will attempt at projecting these ideas onto the field of the Fine Arts. In literature, arguments toward this idea revolve around notions of the diaspora, specific definitions of the post-colony, hybridity, the third space, and the anxiety of language, to mention a few. As a painter, educator, and someone with zero skills in writing, I do not contend anything about such a category as post-colonial aesthetics, but rather rehash these productive ideas with the addition of three more things to put in the mix; namely, narratives of crisis and or resistance, phantasmagoria, and strategic particularism.
Ahmet Ögüt, “Silent University: Solidarity based Pedagogy”—The Silent University skips the oppressive and obstructive process of accreditation and legitimization through the established institutional structures. Instead, it concentrates on direct measures and immediate action. After 5 years’ experience testing different methods, the Silent University has now proved itself as an organization, a structural modality that has both communal and individual qualities. The Silent University aims to go beyond all given definitions and functions as an organization that brings together education (academies, universities), community (NGOs), and culture (art institutions) organizations. It searches for the most progressive ways to use each organization’s facilities and effect changes in policy. The lecturers of the Silent University are asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented participants with an academic background that they are unable to use in their current situation. The priority is given to lecturers struggling with unresolved asylum cases who cannot meet their basic needs. The Silent University disregards both language and legal barriers. Lecturers develop courses in their native or preferred language, and get something back in return—a new way of creating income opportunities whenever possible, as well as an exchange of skills and time with the users. The University is supported by consultants who are community leaders and academics, and have experienced the process of being Asylum Seekers, Refugees or Undocumented, but now have a recognized qualification. Consultants supervise the lecturers and work on developing the Silent University’s structure. The Silent University is encouraged by need and urgency, but its sustainability is crucial.
Ihab Saloul, “Contested Sites of Memory: Aesthetics and Performativity in Times of Conflict”—The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians over the claims to the land has in many ways also been fought out through images via different mechanisms. This talk addresses the questions of what happens when the activity of storytelling is fragmented in a case of historical disaster? And how are competing memories of forced displacement and exile circulate in wider social worlds, helping to reshape cultural imaginations and political orders in the Middle East? In my discussion I will explore some of the ways in which images of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are performed, challenged and negotiated in contemporary heritage and museum discourses, and consider the interventive possibilities as well as limitations of aesthetic representations and cultural memory acts in times of conflict.
Saskia Sassen, “A Massive Loss of Habitat: New Drivers of Migration”—The language of “migrants” and “refugees” is insufficient to cover a new type of migration: Those who are being expelled from their land and homes by major corporations grabbing land to develop plantations, the sharp expansion in mining due to the demands of the electronic revolution, climate change, the explosion in the building of new, often private, “cities” and office parks. The expelled are not recognized as refugees because there is no war. But neither are they regular migrants: there is no home to go back to—home is now a plantation, a mine, a lake, a city, a desert. There is no law that recognizes these refuge-seekers. We need to make law that makes those powerful actors responsible for massive new displacements of people.
Vera Tollmann, “Navigators”—In the early days of the world-wide-web, there was a browser called Netscape Navigator. Its icon was a wooden steering wheel, as if every user were a seafarer casting off to discover new lands. The new land was digital and imagined as a virtual reality. VR dreams of the 1990s about “jacking into Cyberspace” turned into technologically feasible VR simulations in 2016: VR glasses come as cardboard flat-plan and in combination with your smartphone suck you into a 3D environment. You can navigate this environment by moving through it with your body from a seemingly mobile perspective. These technologies determine our perception of reality—they promise immersive and immediate transfers into unfamiliar terrain, create an uncanny presence, and build on voyeurism. While Westerners watch a 360-degree United Nations video recorded in a refugee camp in Syria, U.S. soldiers train potential war situations in VR simulations of combat sites in Syria or in the future get a VR therapy after returning with a traumatic disorder, like Harun Farocki simulates in his video series “Serious Games III: Immersion.” Even though things happen at a geographical distance, VR claims presence instead of representation. With VR glasses, what kind of training do we as users get? Are the latest VR videos the opposite of “cloned images” (WJT Mitchell)? And are we proxies in this serious game? How do these technologies play with our human (proxy) senses? Has the notion of navigation been seemingly replaced in a controlled VR space?