Pennsylvania State University
Simone Osthoff is a Brazilian born and US-based scholar focusing her research on experimental art practices and decolonial histories. She is Professor of Art and Critical Studies in the School of Visual Arts at the Pennsylvania State University, and holds a Ph.D. from the European Graduate School. Osthoff is a Fulbright Fellow and frequent participant and organizer of symposia. Among her publications is Performing the Archive: The Transformation of the Archive in Contemporary Art from a Repository of Documents to an Art Medium. In 2013, she joined the editorial board of the international journal Flusser Studies.
Articles of Simone Osthoff
Performing the Archive and Vilém Flusser
This text reviews the three phases of my research on the theme of the archive and in relation to Vilém Flusser. The first phase or direction examined the work of artists, mostly Brazilian, who destabilized the archive by creating fluid boundaries between their artworks, their writings, and the archives they created in order to historicize the movements they participated in. These reflections are included in my book Performing the Archive from 2009. The second direction is made up of two collaborations at Penn State University in the context of the digital humanities. These creative projects—a video and a sound performance—were developed with designers, scientists, and musicians between 2012 and 2013. The third phase, still unfolding, focuses on the fluid boundaries between the subject and the object of research, especially in decolonial practices, histories, and methodologies. In every instance, insights into the archive stemmed primarily from the dialogue with artists, but also from the exploration of a few curators and theorists, including Flusser.
Raising the Temperature of the Conversation in the 21st Century
The main goal of this presentation was to connect our wireless culture populated by “smart objects” and Flusser’s predictions for a telematics society, as well as to examine the inversions he envisioned in the exchanges between art and science. Seven artists have been included in the slide presentation: Eduardo Kac, a pioneer of Bio Art eroding boundaries between subject and object; Paul Miller, who creates sound pieces from scientific data; Laura Poitras’s documentary films and exhibition about surveillance and the use of remote technologies in war as well as Andrea Fraser’s institutional critique; Giselle Beiguelman articulating the concept of techno-cannibalism; Lucas Bambozzi exploring the invisibility of electronic waves, issues of obsolescence and waste; and the work of Cuban artist Ernesto Oroza’s notion of “technological disobedience”.
Flusser Now: Social Media in Brazil, and Philosophy in Detective Mode
This paper reflects upon Flusser’s legacy in light of Brazil’s current social and economic changes. It examines DIY approaches to technology and the role of social media in challenging the racial and economic segregation that exists in that country. It further reflects upon Flusser’s methodology through the “pop philosophy” of Patti Smith and Avitall Ronell. “Objectivity,” and the point of view of the “object,” is further examined through examples in the arts, in the field of anthropology, and in cinema.
Invisible in plain sight, and as alive as you and I: An Interview with Eduardo Kac
Eduardo Kac’s visionary oeuvre shares with Vilém Flusser an exploration of language and communication without regard for the usual disciplinary boundaries, thus often combining art, science and technology with communication, philosophy and poetry. In this interview, Kac talks about his transgenic creations, which began in 1999, and include Alba, his famous and controversial GFP Bunny born in 2000. Kac also examines the different meanings of genetic manipulation in art, science and religion, and further points to the future of bio art as well as that of his own work.
Dialogues Between Flusser and Young Media Artists: A Conversation with Mario Ramiro
This article focuses upon Flusser’s interest in the work of young media artists, largely based on the recollections of Mario Ramiro, a São Paulo artist who holds a master’s degree from the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. Ramiro talks about how he met Flusser in São Paulo in the late 1970s and was immediately taken by the philosopher’s ideas and style, which for him were that of an artist. He acknowledges Flusser’s influence and support for his career throughout the 1980s.