Semester Topic

Bonds & Ties

The semester topic is meant as a general guideline for the programme’s main lecture, excursion and panel series, as a lense for exploring the different locations and as a point of entry for the experimentations and practices of the group work.

As social beings, we find ourselves in a complex network of relations with the world around us. We establish different bonds or ties within biological, personal, social, legal or power structures. In search of security and identity, we strive for close, trustworthy relationships. These bonds seem to be essential for our well-being and enable us to share and learn from each other. And yet,  the nodes of this socio-cultural network may sometimes become tight and restricting. They may limit the possibilities and potentials of the individuals forming a network, and thus also the entire collective. The transitions from voluntary bonds to normative and involuntary ties can be fluent, and sometimes occurs almost unnoticed. It is up to every human to differentiate and decide which bonds we wish to establish and commit to, and which ties we rather wish to break free from.

This year’s semester topic looks at different forms of bonds and ties, including those with our body, family, friends, society, cultures, animals, plants or objects. We will explore the bonds and ties we encounter in our lives, will examine how they are constructed, why they might exist and how we can become aware of them. Which social and cultural norms influence (y)our behaviour, shape our habits and constitute our rules and laws? Where do such bonds and ties become visible or invisible? What is the role of creative practitioners in this context? And which ties affect (y)our artistic work?

We will explore three main dimensions of the topic:

  1. Philosophical dimension/ways of thinking/theory (fundamentals)
  2. Socio-cultural dimension (current affairs)
  3. Dimension of artistic-creative practice (professional)

Learning objectives:

  • To become aware of and explore the bonds and ties that shape us (individually, as a society, culturally,…)
  • To differentiate the value of bonds from the restrictiveness of ties
  • To develop strategies/methods for overcoming restrictive ties and for creating (and thus entering new constellations, settings, situations)