Dominique Koch

Interview
By

How efficient is art as a tool for the production of alternative forms of knowledge?

Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017
Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017, Neon sign. Courtesy the artist

How would you describe the influence of social and economic issues in your work?

Dominique Koch (DK): I am interested in an art that deals with social questions. Social and economic questions therefore influence each of my productions to a high degree, because they permeate my environment in which I work as an artist. The confrontation with socio-political and economic questions does not only take place on a reflexive level, in which they become starting points for individual works, but also on a very practical level, in which I have to continually find new ways to constructively continue my artistic work, which cannot and does not want to rely on the art market.

Over the past decade, the link between art and science has been a topic frequently discussed. In this context, art has often been considered as an effective tool for the production of alternative forms of knowledge. How do you see this idea?

(DK) I think art can create an exciting context to make scientific, social or political issues accessible in a poetic way, without being overly influenced by specific dogmas or narrow formats. It has the possibility of appearing in public spaces and provides a free space that allows it to link different fields of research together. These interfaces and "entanglements" form the ground for critical thinking.

Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Video and sound installation. Installation view at EKKM Tallinn.
Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Video and sound installation. Installation view at EKKM Tallinn. Photo : Julien Félix. Courtesy the artist

Can science save humanity? What types of discoveries would you find convincing for this?

(DK) There is nothing that can save humanity alone. We live in an age of cross-species interfaces, or at least we should strive for such a way of thinking if we want to continue to sustainably populate the planet on which we live. I.e. the union of various approaches and fields of knowledge, the forming of alliances and the mutual expansion seem to be essential in my mind. Nothing happens alone, everything is always part of something else. This means that everything is part of a possible solution, but success can only be achieved by working together.

At what level do you think art can contribute to social and ecological change?

(DK) Here, as well, art alone cannot bring about the necessary changes, but it has the possibility of presenting new perspectives and offering models of thought. It can therefore draw attention to certain problems, grievances and questions in such an open, free way that it can evoke a willingness to respond or to think further, an extension of the viewer's gaze. This awareness is the beginning of possible changes. The instant action, however, lies uncoupled from the art in each individual, together with many others. Art is a window to the world, can create networks and reveal structures. In this sense it contributes to an expanded comprehensibility and to a certain changeability of the world.

Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Film still.
Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Film still. Courtesy the artist
Dominique_Koch_Holobiont_Society_Installation_View
Dominique Koch, Holobiont Society, 2017. Video and sound installation. Installation view at EKKM Tallinn. Photo : Julien Félix. Courtesy the artist

This interview is part of a curatorial research project supported by Pro Helvetia