The Anabasis project inspired by the poetry of Paul Celan introduces nine artists and one art group coming from Ukraine and Germany who deal with questions of posthumanism and look for answers to some of its core topics in the field of digital art. The ambition of the project was to question how models of posthumanism and present identity issues juxtapose with Paul Celan’s poetical approach.
The key idea that pervades and connects all these was the technique and metaphor of “wandering the uncharted territories”, originating from the "Anabasis" essay by Alain Badiou, which refers to the poem of the same title by Paul Celan. Starting point was the question:
What does wandering mean to us when constructing our subjectivity in a situation of uncertainty and urgent suspension? The uncertainty of our political and social situation, but also the question of who we are and become when traversing such uncertain terrain, create a strange interrelation of identity and environment, one can say: a method to performatively overcome previous thought structures and reifications.
The residency focused on Celan's multi-layered optics especially as a technique, which is particularly suitable to powerfully transform the centrifugal forces to which the individual's identity construction is exposed, turning it into a willful instrument of escaping it´s ascriptions and ideological protocols. Put in this light, the disposition of historical disintegration and personal trauma is not seen as the counterpart of an otherwise intact world or identity or even nature, but rather as the impetus of a productive renunciation of forms firmly believed to exist and which, by their very nature, are always congealing anew, that is, as a poetic and political force.
Resuming, one can ask: If identity always also means oppression, what is the alternative? On the other hand, what limits and problems arise when we abandon the concept of the human being and with it the ideas of humanism? Do we not owe it precisely to the victims to preserve these concepts?
and Sebastian Unger