• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Studying Grief in the Phenomenology of Darkness: An International Artistic Research Project

Sound artist Robert Elias Stokowy of Berlin and Yulia Chernenko, lecturer at the HSE Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design, have initiated a joint German-Russian artistic research project entitled ‘Phenomenology of Darkness’.

Robert Elias Stokowy is a sound artist, composer and artistic researcher from Cologne, Germany. He creates experimental compositions, text-based interventions, audiovisual performances and (radically site-specific) installations. His diverse projects all fit into an overarching artistic research process, which focuses on the inner structural characteristics of sonic environments. In his work, the artist seeks to explore the epistemic and creative potential of sonic surroundings and access new perspectives in our environment by exploring the potential of sonic and visual structures in urban surroundings. He particularly focuses on the aspect of the audible visuals as well as visual potential of sound.

The project ‘Phenomenology of Darkness’ is part of Stokowy’s Berlin-based art group Studio Heomugeoto's work cycle STAGES OF GRIEF, which will span the next 3-5 years. During that time Studio Heomugeoto will put together exhibitions, concerts, performances, book and record publications, and more on the topic of grief. Each project will have its own focus (in this case, darkness), while still engaging the overarching topic of grief. For each project, new artists from different art disciplines and countries will be invited. ‘Together we will explore the varieties of grief — how grief manifests itself, which forms it can take and, lastly, how it can be presented in an artistic context. This work cycle is an ARTISTIC RESEARCH project, meaning that art is used as a tool to explore a certain topic,’ Robert Elias Stokowy says.

The idea for the project originated with the creation of increasingly visual artworks. Up to that point, Robert Elias Stokowy had been working exclusively with sound. The theme of darkness then emerged as a common denominator for all pieces. ‘At that time, I was researching the topic and thinking about the human condition. What we have in common, what our shared underlying experience is. I found that this can be fear (based on Fritz Riemann's book Basic forms of fear). Fear informs our daily actions, thoughts and decisions. I wanted to use art to explore this topic. The most deeply rooted fear, of course, is the fear of ceasing to live (death). We are mortal and can't change that fact. This leads to grief,’ says Robert Elias Stokowy.

Sound artist Robert Elias Stokowy
From Robert Stokowy's personal archive

The project’s main aim is to give people a chance to have an experience through art. Studio Heomugeoto's work allows people to reflect upon their own personal experiences, grief, death, fear, and most importantly, empathy. ‘We want to create a space in which people can come together and engage in an honest, open, and creative exchange of thoughts and ideas,’ says Stokowy.

‘When Robert suggested exploring darkness together in a Russia Tour, I thought, “This is just a perfect idea” — especially given that Russian cultural philosophers and poets took a lot from German poets and writers when it came to the theme of darkness and the human condition”’, says Julia Chernenko. ‘Moreover, the main theme of Robert's artistic research means a lot for me both intellectually and personally; as a Russian I feel a certain psychological block in sharing grief in public. That was my reason for joining the project and making my contribution, as well as for reflecting upon Robert's work further and seeing how viewers reflected upon my own pieces.

‘I have been studying storytelling for 6 years, and I defended my Candidate of Sciences thesis on the topic of so-called shared narratives in 2017. The topics of darkness and grief are therefore especially interesting to me from a research perspective; I aim to explore shared narratives dedicated to these notions in human life. 

Yulia Chernenko, Lecturer at the HSE Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design
From Yulia Chernenko's personal archive

‘During my part of the performance, I share the grief that I felt during my life within the "Poetic-Anatomy Theatre", becoming an example of one who faces the darkness and thinks about darkness for those who listen to my poems. This, I believe, creates a trustful space where people can share their own stories to me.’

The first performance took place on February 12 at the Peresvetov Gallery in Moscow. The School of Media, and the Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design will host a discussion of the project on February 14. The discussion will follow a short presentation of the concept and the initial findings of the authors.

Chernenko and Stokowy will continue their Russian tour showing and engaging people in this unique experience in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

They will explore the different manifestations and expressions of inner and outer darkness in human life and depict their findings in sound art, prints, and drawings, as well as poetic texts. Every participant will have the opportunity to share his/her own experience and understanding.

The ambitious project will span 3-5 years and travel across the globe. The project will be shown in South Korea and Scandinavia and other countries through collaboration with researchers and artists.

See also:

Project Highlights from HSE’s Master’s Programme in Fashion

Over the past year our students and graduates of the Master’s Programme ‘Fashion’ participated in a diverse array of projects. The emerging designers put on two of their own fashion shows at Rizhsky Station as part of Arts Night 2018 as well as the large festival Telling Stories, participated in exhibitions, collaborated with prominent brand names, and opened a joint showroom in the Klebozavod (Bread Factory) space.

Winners of the II International Economics Olympiad Announced in St. Petersburg

On July 31, the II International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students came to a close in Saint Petersburg. In the team competition, the Brazilian team won the gold medal, while teams from China won silver and bronze. One of Russian teams placed fifth.

HSE Students Go to Asia to Study Local Specifics of Economics, Politics, and Cultures

The HSE University and Kyung Hee University double degree programme ‘Economics and Politics in Asia’ is currently enrolling students. Its academic supervisor, Denis Shcherbakov, spoke about the advantages of the programme, internships at Asian universities and companies, as well as the new focus on Southeast Asia.

Second International Economics Olympiad Opens at HSE University in St. Petersburg

On July 24, the second annual International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students kicked off at HSE University in St. Petersburg. The competition is organized by HSE University with the support of Sberbank. Students from 24 countries will compete over the course of a week. The winners will be able to enroll in any HSE Economics programme in 2020 with a full tuition scholarship.

What Does the Lens of Gender Reveal?

In June, faculty members from HSE’s School of Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophy, and the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities met with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and a Russian art historian to participate in a round table on the importance of gender studies in the humanities. The researchers discussed questions such as what historians, philosophers, and historians can achieve when approaching their fields of study from the standpoint of gender studies, and what the state of gender studies is in contemporary Russia and abroad.

Participants of Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs Tackle Trade, International Institutions, and More

On Thursday, July 11, students and faculty of the International Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs bid farewell with a festive awards ceremony and closing lecture by Professor Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor and Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.

‘It Is a Great Opportunity to Enhance Your CV and Meet Other Researchers’

One of the perks of studying at HSE University is its wide range of academic mobility programmes. Ksenia Semykina, a master’s student of Comparative Social Research, recently spent a semester at the Free University of Berlin with the support of an Erasmus+ scholarship. She shared some practical advice on how to live and study abroad with HSE News Service.

A New Art Gallery, New Programmes and an Exhibition at the Museum of Moscow

The HSE ART AND DESIGN Festival, which was held at the Museum of Moscow, served as the final exam for students of HSE’s School of Art and Design. On the final day of the festival, undergraduate and graduate students of the ‘Fashion’ programme presented more than a hundred of pieces of their own design in a fashion show. HSE News Service covered the event.

HSE University and UN-Habitat Sign Collaboration Agreement

HSE University and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme signed an agreement to conduct joint research on urban development. HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov and UN Under-Secretary-General Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who heads the UN-Habitat programme, signed the letter of intent at the recent Moscow Urban Forum, which was held on July 4-7 at Moscow’s Zaryadye Park.

University of London and HSE University Offer a Second Degree Programme in Law

Students who have been accepted to the HSE bachelor’s programmes in ‘Law’ and ‘Private Law’ may simultaneously enroll in the second degree programme at the University of London to supplement their basic training. The second degree programme is also open to external students and working professionals.