Project start: Terms and Conditions. Die Rechtsform der Bilder / The Legal Form of Images

An artistic research project in cooperation with the Harun Farocki Institute, Berlin with students of the HGB, including the Expanded Cinema Class and the Photography and Media Class.

Initiated by the Harun Farocki Institute, Berlin, the project will inquire the legal and paralegal frameworks which increasingly inform the contemporary art culture. From state legislations to corporate regulations, from intellectual property and copyright to privacy issues, the operations of the law permeate the fields of art and visual culture.

Long disavowed by cultural producers and their audiences alike, attention to these very frameworks is currently on the rise among practitioners. „Terms and Conditions. The Legal Form of Images“ sets out to engage with this new work by artists, filmmakers, and scholars at the intersections of the audiovisual and the law.

A principal aim of the collaborative project is to foster general legal literacy in the realm of contemporary image culture—an ability to comprehend the juridical matrix in which images (here understood in a broad sense, i.e. exceeding visual representations) are embedded.

The range of topics comprised by „Terms and Conditions“ pertains to the infrastructures and mechanisms governing the visibility (and invisibility) of images in the face of the law, the utilization of audiovisual media in law enforcement, court proceedings, and other legal contexts, the impact of technological developments (digitization, AI) on the language of visual forms, and the legacy of colonial laws as well as the challenge of decolonial legal concepts.

The diverse intersections of law and image ask for a multidisciplinary understanding, and demand the emergence of new actors capable of both enforcing and critically assessing these legal structures. At the core of this constellation of issues sits the tension between social struggles and the law, which has intensified alongside the crisis of the regime of truth that structured Western ideas of enlightenment, liberalism and democracy.

The project will be developed together with artists, filmmakers, art historians, legal scholars, and media theorists in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB), departments of film and media studies (EMW, Potsdam; UZH, Zurich), the Berlin Artistic Research Programme (BFKF, Berlin), Arsenal. Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin, the Locarno Film Festival, and various exhibition venues in Leipzig and Dresden.

Public seminar as starting point

10.04.2024, 3.30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
With an introduction by Tom Holert (Harun Farocki Institut, Berlin) and Doreen Mende (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and HaFI) and comments by the legal scholars Gwinyai Machona and Daria Bayer as well as Mareike Bernien, Ilse Lafer, Ines Schaber, Clemens von Wedemeyer (all HGB)

11.04.2024, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m
With artist duo titre provisoire (Cathleen Schuster/Marcel Dickhage) in conversation with Renan Laru-an (researcher, curator and artistic director of Savvy Contemporary Art)

For four weeks, the hgb gallery will become a place of artistic research with students from the HGB, the Expanded Cinema class and the Photography and Media class. The project, which combines a seminar with a (semi-)public forum, will run for two semesters and will be supervised by Mareike Bernien, Ines Schaber and Clemens von Wedemeyer.