david weber-krebs

inside the black cube

David Weber-Krebs and Jan-Philipp Posmann

In 1967 the art critic Michael Fried made the “strongly disquieting experience of coming upon a literal object”. Fried unexpectedly entered into a theater, the theater of objecthood. The object was one of several black cubes of perfectly symmetrical proportions that appeared on the art scene like alien timeless travelers of our cultural history: From the Egyptian temple of Leto across the Muslim Kaaba to Tony Smith’s sculpture Die from 1962. This lecture performance is an effort in tracing the dialectics of these peculiar apparitions and making the encounter with one of them immediate. „These works are black and they might also be evil minded.“ (Tony Smith 1966)

Inside the Black Cube was developed in residency at zeitraumexit, Mannheim with support from the ARTI research group at Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten.

From 2008 to 2011 Jan-Philipp Possmann and David Weber-Krebs have been engaged as artists and theoreticians in a research project on aesthetics of reception supported by the ARTI group at Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, entitled CATALOG OF SITUATIONS.

With CATALOG OF SITUATIONS we want to investigate art history as a history of situations. We look at aesthetics from a perspective of social encounter. In this view an aesthetic experience becomes a characteristic way of experiencing a situation as structured space and time. In an aesthetic situation the subject separates a specific space and timespan from the continuum of experiences and distances himself from his surrounding. We want to investigate these situations in their social dimensions and develop strategies to denote and discuss the net of relations between beholder and surrounding.

Drawing from our practical experience as dramaturge and director having worked together on several theater creations as well as from an interest in aesthetic theory, we have developed several modules: a series of lecture performances and performances to be presented in theaters and art institutions; an online discussion board and archive for theoretical research; a seminar on aesthetics of reception for academic institutions and art schools; collaborative public programs of artistic and scientific presentations and talks to which we invite artists and scientists. While the online platform is mainly our work tool, the other modules aim at developing a language for communicating aesthetic situations in greater depth, drawing from the languages of academic discourse as well as performance, theater and visual arts. Currently a body of four lecture performances/performances is available for presentation.