Are guidelines the direct expression of normative orders? Do they form a net that catches us when we don’t know more? Is “Learning for Life” the process of internalizing guidelines to get along better in life, to function? And: what is functioning at all? The workshop revolves around the recognition, creation and reconstruction of guidance systems, regulations, guidelines, handouts, prohibitions, instructions, diversions, assistance, escape routes and mass movements with graphic, dramaturgical and object-like means.
An example: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people with guns”. In this slogan of the weapons lobby NRA several guidelines meet. The first implicit Old Testament guideline inscribed in the slogan is “Thou shalt not kill”: a moral law. The second is one that is inscribed on the object itself: its use. The weapon has a form adapted to the human hand that proposes the activity of shooting: object and human form a specific ergonomic bond, a law of the tool. And if it is the case that photography and film share a line of history with shooting devices, why does a shooting device not have a corresponding range of interpretation? A picture thus follows a much broader law and nevertheless has an implicit suggestion for use. What role do mechanics, materiality or technology play here? Do we have to assign a different ontological status to the image than to other tools? And if so, are we not simultaneously saying goodbye to reality with efficacy?
This is just one example of the conflict situation that we will address in the workshop “Guidelines”. On the basis of specific examples from the world of things, no matter what level of creation, and their organization, we will address the issues of handling, implicit and explicit guidelines, guidance. The aim will be to gain an understanding of the processual and concrete effects that make up our common reality.
The publishing house Verlag für Handbücher was founded in 2014 by the artists Anna Romanenko, Björn Kühn and Oliver Kraft in Stuttgart with the aim of investigating mechanisms of changeability. The publishing house is a laboratory of functioning, of analysing its promise and the strategies of its presentation. We work with books and performances, or rather with manuals and executions. Both are created simultaneously. The manual is protocol and memory, design and analysis of performance. It takes the performance out of the theatre and into the body of each user. The user is an actor, sometimes also an author of the book.
The publisher’s events are polymorphic. Elements such as practice, synchronicity and impossibility are central. We work in very long development processes, build tools, practice physical and mental mechanisms. During the development phase, we repeatedly open up our processes in workshop performances.
In principle, we work in parallel on several projects, which we then interweave. Presentations took place at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, the Württembergischer Kunstverein, at the Waggons, the NRW Forum Düsseldorf, the Hangar Barcelona, the Sober and Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art in Johannesburg and the ALTOFest in Naples.