Mareike Bernien

Working title: Operating Montage

“Translating the other/When translation becomes violence”, lecture at fake or feint, Berlin, 2010, in cooperation with Kerstin Schroedinger
Foto: Camilla Eggert
This research project aims at examining the ambivalence of the visual, its capacity to have both determining and reconfiguring impacts. I consider visibility and visuality to be an operative practice that has an active share in subjectivation processes – in their twofold sense of ‘becoming a subject’ and ‘being subjugated’.
In my approach images therefore appear as co-producers of social conditions. They operate with a concept of dominance, distinguishing between inside/outside, visible/invisible. Achieving visibility seems to be an ambition of those who are excluded – outside the frame. But the desire to get into the frame always addresses a hegemonial image grammar, which associates perceptibility and agency with visibility. Besides this promise of empowerment, images can also be understood as identifying marking procedures, which determine as what or as who someone gains visibility.
How is it possible, then, to introduce ruptures and discontinuities into the field of the visible in order to challenge the existing power and visual relations? And how is it possible to contest exisitings representational stuctures? How to intervene in exiting image politics?
I want to contrast the figure of a determining, identifying “policing” image that produces social order with the figure of a discontinuing, disidentifying montage technique. This montage technique makes itself visible as a relation between two images, different classification systems or contexts. In this way, it relocates the notion of the ‘visual’: Instead of referring to visualisation, it points to a game of operative combinatorics, contradicitions and conflicts.
In this context, I would like to address a notion of time that criticises a concept of history which is linear, and based on exclusions; I hereby follow the assumption that a demand for total visibility implies a falling-apart of time, or extinction of aspects of time. Instead, I propose to actualise image fragments from the past within a process of re-reading practice. This practice provides the possibility to visualise time and historicity as a simultaneousness of different levels of meaning. ‘Simultaneousness of structures of meaning’ also implies the claim that those practices that constitute subjects must always be analyzed with regards to their abjected alternatives. In this way, the construction and the structuring aspect of a hegemonial order can be understood and deconstructed.
Mareike Bernien, based in Hamburg, works in a media-oriented manner between structural film, radio play and text. She is interested in a critical research practice which is fundamentally calling into question an image production that generates evidence.
I see my theoretical and artistic work as a historiographic practice that scrutinises ideological certainties in the field of representation, their means of production, continuities and relocations. I attribute key importance and attention to postcolonial and gender-specific analysis approaches.