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World Ornamental Forum 2014

Monday 17 February 2014

Sharon Kivland and Christoph Zellweger at the Kirchner Museum Davos & Hochschule Luzern - Workshop about 'Gesture'. Paris, Vienna, Dresden were great one hundred years ago. Now Davos rules the world!

From the implicit relation to the World Economic Forum, to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and to Davos the World Ornamental Forum gains its poetical density and its commitment at will.

It is neither conference nor meeting. Rather it is a gesture; something that gives ornament the chance to become the far side of economy; something enjoyable, just like a seam, of immeasurable value. It thus brings seeming necessities down to the ethos of taking place. Exploring "how" this happens is its practical scope.

You hate ornament? What could we wish more! Welcome in Davos!

To explore the world beyond economy and ornament we will build a particular model: the model of the present contingent situation. Building such a model in the WOF (World Ornament Forum) necessarily makes it a model of the WOF. What takes place is a folding of reality onto its own model. In this way the end of the WOF is technically undone and has to be invented by the researchers through model building.

The inversion of the WOF into its own model creates an experimental set-up in which the gesture of model building becomes the main activity. Is a model always a folded reality? Is the difference between model and reality rather dimensional than ontological? Should gestures be seen as models revealing reality rather than as metaphorical representations? These questions entail the preparation of the WOF as a constituting gesture. We will provide a web-organized forum for the exhibition and exchange of whatever material giving us the disposable foundation to attune to one another.

Explorations of the specific model building techniques of different practices, including cutting and gluing of cardboard, writing, performing, filming, thinking, conversing, etc., will produce different traces that can be kept, discarded, and re-membered. The resulting artefacts allow drawing figures of conclusion. That which is retroactively perceptible and graspable is the product of unproductivity: unproductivity's remembrance.

The argument for the WOF is not more or faster production. The ultimate production of the WOF is rather a de-production as a model, as a potentially endless space of just life.

The need for creation and research of such modalities beyond 'the economic' shows in many ways: Why are successes of exhibitions measured by numbers of visitors? Why do scientific conferences hold multiple parallel sessions? Why are study programs evaluated due to their students' marketability? Why do privately driven economic fora launch relevant public questions? Nowadays, engagement with life and the world beyond interest-driven economy seems unimaginable.

And yet, "studying" for example is an unproductive activity. It means reading texts, even though one does not understand them; making drawings or models without knowing the practice or outcome; proceeding with an experiment or an operation for the first time without any experience. Exhibiting on the other hand means envisioning something and is thus an encounter with possibilities where the exhibition as a medium for encounters is decisive and not the 'I have seen it'. Researching, finally, is listening; talks at conferences are notes, key-notes at times, which at first only create vibrations, sounds, and resonances.

The question of how this unproductive exhibiting and listening, this persistence in a medial condition with no consequence, can be created and how its relevance and value can be exposed, can only be answered with radical means: by gesture.

Gesture is the third form of activity next to production and practice (M. Varro). Whereas production is a means to get a product and practice is the repetition of an end, gesture is a means without end (G. Agamben). As such gesture is related to ornament: both are perceptible only in their mediality as such, hence as dynamic potentials independent of ends. With gesture as the driver for the research, the WOF explores the immeasurable value of endlessness – without destroying endlessness on the way!

Venue: Kirchner Museum Davos
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Platz, Promenade 82, CH-7270 Davos
Tel. +41 81 410 63 00, Fax +41 81 410 63 01,

The Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Museum in Davos is a sound venue for the WOF. The analogy or opposition to the WEF is obvious, and more importantly the medial character of E. L. Kirchner’s life and work, emblematically expressed in the name "Die Brücke", provides a symbolic background, as well as the museum building by Annette Gigon & Mike Guyer.

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