Observatourium

In his installations frequently resembling experimental configurations, German artist Christoph Keller uses the discursive possibilities of art to investigate the themes of science and its utopias. The Cloudbuster-Projects (since 2003) involve reenactments of Wilhelm Reich’s experiments for influencing the atmosphere with orgon energy. In Encyclopaedia Cinematographica (2001) and Archives as Objects as Monuments (2000), Keller focuses upon the archeology of scientific film, the impossibility of objective documentation, and the problem of the archival urge to bring order to comprehensive knowledge. In spite of all methodological objectivity, a selective and deliberate design is always at work here. In Expedition-Bus and Shaman-Travel (2002), a mirrored camping bus for research trips, the ethnographic viewpoint of science is exposed as a projection of its own culture. The viewer is drawn into the installation and becomes a field investigator, for Keller is ultimately concerned with linking the methods and procedures of scientific work with a spatial but also psychological-physical experiencing of art. Keller is often working on themes at the frontiers of science, such as the connection between hypnosis and cinematography in Hypnosis-Film-Project (2007) or Visiting a Contemporary Art Museum under Hypnosis (2006) for which he studied and experimentally applied hypnotic methods: The Mesmer Room (2006). In The Chemtrails Phenomenon (2006) and The Whole Earth (2007), the theme is conspiracy theories in the Internet, which as “scientific constructs” are likewise expressions of a certain state of consciousness in society. In his work-cycle on Inverse Observatories (since 2007) Keller reverses the view: It is not the universe that is observed, but rather the observation itself. In 2008 he also founded an interdisciplinary research group for the representation of altered states in the arts at the Art-University of Bern. Leading to the very boundaries of language is the video-installation Interpreters (2008) in which simultaneous translators translate in two directions while reflecting on their work. The video Verbal/ Nonverbal (2010) shows a number of test subjects in front of a neutral white background inhaling a hallucinogenic gas and hence speaking about their experiences. Christoph Keller first studied mathematics, physics and hydrology, before continuing his studies at the art academy in Berlin and in Cologne. His works are present in many international exhibitions like the Lyon Biennial (2011), Klimakapseln, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (2010), the Bienal del Fin del Mundo, Argentina (2009), Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2009), Dreamtime, Musé des Abattoirs in Toulouse (2009), Artfocus Jerusalem (2008), Made in Germany in Hannover (2007) or the solo-exhibition Observatorium in the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2008) or LIAF Lofoten (2011). Æther – between cosmology and consciousness (2011) at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris was his first artistic and curatorial-project in an institutional context. He received several awards and grants for his work like the Ars Viva-Preis for art and science, the P.S.1 studio-grant in New York, Residences Internationales aux Recollets, Paris, BM Suma in Istanbul and Capacete in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Christoph Kelller is based in Berlin. Currently he is teaching as a guest professor at the visual art department of the Haute école d'art et de design in Geneva. In 2015 he will be one of the main tutors at the CAPACETE experimental Art school program in Rio de Janeiro.
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