research project, 2020-now

Critters Connecting in a Crippling World visualizes a theoretical research of media artist Carmen Westermeier. After she continued to work during a pandemic summer, isolation hit double that hard this winter. As hard as the stay-at-home orders were, they also gave her the opportunity to engage in reading more theory and to reflect on artistic practices that were so familiar to her before Corona. Through this process, Carmen developed a soft and mindful approach on translating thoughts and experiences into static objects, video or photography. Her main concern was to keep the pressure low, accept backlashes and work with given conditions. Within the Bacteria Battery Workshop with Rasa Smite, Carmen connected theories by Donna Haraway, Lynn Margulis, Bruno Latour, Daisy Hildyard or Marie-Luise Angerer. The Bacteria Battery as the center-object of her artistic research, functioned as a junction for her thoughts around her body and it’s connection to the flora and fauna, hyperobjects, the determination of coexistence, creating kinships, being more than one, the body in relation to the environment and to animals or the thinking of the humane - all of these processes happened in solitude. The result is not a finished art work but more of a personal reflection, a visual manifestation of in-security within a pandemic world, an analytical material study and a constant caring motivation to keep on working. Silicone objects, the microbial fuel cell, a garden laboratory, video projection, documented field work in the woods and performative body studies represent the outcome of spending the last months in isolation - they tell of the missing of colleagues who contribute to work processes with their reflections - but they also represent tools; tools of both learning and unlearning.

An ongoing project..