Navigating the Unknown


Opening: 9th of February 2017, 7 pm, Performance with Christina Lederhaas, Veza María Fernández Ramos: "Are you ok?"


In cooperation with Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw, Diagonale´17, MEGAPHON and the Institute for Differential Psychology, University of Graz. Supported by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Dizziness - A Resource (FWF-Peek) and the David Herzog Fund of the Styrian Universities.  


Curated by: Ruth Anderwald, Katrin Bucher Trantow and Leonhard Grond
Venue: Space02

About the exhibition

The destabilised world seems to have become part of our normal existence. Every day reports of crisis send us into a state of frenzy, whether real or fictional. The feeling of menacing unease and fear of unpredictable change conjures up the image of a floundering society on a floundering planet. And yet, as the ‘Dizziness – A Resource project proposes, dizziness is also a trigger and catalyst for creative thinking and activity. By observing its dynamics, we gain an insight into our capacity to ‘navigate the unknown’.


Dizziness as the moment of losing stability and control is seen at the exhibition in both psychological and physical terms, occurring at personal and social but also political and cultural levels. It occurs locally, depends on the situation and is triggered by the challenges of an excess or deficit of information, or the loss of stabilising factors. It is pervasive, infectious, a trigger for acceleration or complete standstill. Artist duo Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond are researching the concept of dizziness at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in various disciplines: art, philosophy, creativity research, cultural sciences, medicine and psychology.


Artistic curatorial research

The group exhibition developed out of and with the research project ‘Dizziness– A Resource’, conducted by the artist duo Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond since 2014. It forms part of the artistic curatorial research and shows in particular—starting from the medium of film—works in which dizziness becomes an artistic method used to investigate orientations, views and intentions, to drive developments or challenge rules. For many artists, the experience of dizziness is an immanent part of their artistic practice.


The ‘Living in a Dizzying World’ (2015-2016) competition was set up for the exhibition, attached to a study in collaboration with ‘Dizziness – A Resource’ and the Institute of Differential Psychology at the University of Graz. Some 38 international artists were monitored in a daily survey, allowing an analysis of dizziness within the creative process. Among other things, the study confirmed that a feeling of insecurity and loss of control does occur in many cases of artistic creativity. The winning film is Fractal Crisis by Swedish artists Viktor Landström and Sebastian Wahlforss, which can be seen in the exhibition.


Tour through three zones

The exhibition Dizziness. Navigating the Unknown sets out three zones: one devoted to conscious or unconscious expansion of experience through dizziness (into); another dedicated to fragile, ecstatic meandering (through); and the third exploring the strength of imagination that allows the creative generation of a new idea (out).



With works by Bas Jan Ader, Marc Adrian, Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond, Ólafur Elíasson, Robert Filliou, Oliver Hangl, Cameron Jamie, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anna Jermolaewa, Joachim Koester, Michael Landy, Henri Michaux, Bruce Nauman, Laurel Nakadate, Trevor Paglen, Philippe Parreno, Helga Philipp, Oliver Ressler and Dario Azzellini, Ariel Schlesinger and Jonathan Monk, Ben Russell, Viktor Landström and Sebastian Wahlforss, Esther Stocker, Superflex, Catherine Yass.



Thesource and accompanying book to the exhibition invites visitors to take part in different approaches and perspectives around the theme of dizziness. A reader comprising scientific texts is planned for 2018, in cooperation with Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.



The exhibition can also be seen from 15.09.2017 to 07.01.2018 at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw.


Further information about the research project ‘Dizziness – A Resource’ by Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond can be found on the website www.on-dizziness.com.

Quick Tour

What is the point of dizziness?

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Have you ever been dizzy? Were you lightheaded, did you lose the ground under your feet? Did you stumble, crash into someone, perhaps even fall over? Or have you felt dizzy, intoxicated rapture? Perhaps this thought is familiar to you: ‘I don’t understand the world any more!’ This kind of insecurity is also a form of dizziness. Dizziness makes everything different from usual. We are anxious, bewildered. At the same time, dizziness gives us the chance to set off in new directions. For this reason, many artists use dizziness for their work: They engage with the extraordinary, view the world from an unfamiliar perspective, and make connections between things that at first glance have nothing to do with one another.  

Esther Stocker: Untitled (Dizziness), 2017

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To start with, you should immerse yourself in dizziness. Everything is not always as it seems to us: We can be mistaken, disoriented. Our perception is not a hundred per cent reliable, it can be fooled by tricks, misled. Enjoy the sense of doubt!

Helga Philipp: Object, 1968 Marc Adrian: HOT RED, 1965

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Whatever it is that you see here depends entirely on you. With every step you make, you will change the picture. Whenever you move, it moves with you.

Cameron Jamie: Kranky Klaus, 2002–2003 Soundtrack: The Melvins

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The famous Perchtenlauf in the Gastein Valley, Salzburg was awarded world heritage status in 2011. Does this mean that violence and fear are an important part of Austrian culture? Is it sometimes good for us to let evil run free?


Cameron Jamie says of his work: ‘The creepiest things in the world are always the things that are considered to be the most “normal”.’  

Joachim Koester: Tarantism, 2007

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The dancers are moving ‘as if bitten by a tarantula’. Where does this expression for jerky movements come from? The tarantula is a poisonous spider from southern Italy. A special kind of dance music was developed As a cure for its bite: the tarantella. Frenetic dancing was thought to counter the effect of the poison— while standing still would be fatal. Later, the dance itself was seen as a result of the bite.

Catherine Yass: Lighthouse, 2011

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For many centuries, lighthouses were essential: Ships relied on them for navigation. Nowadays ships use other methods such as GPS in order to determine their position. Times change, things start to falter. What role does the lighthouse play today?


In the video Lighthouse our view of the structure shakes and sways. We observe it from different angles: From a helicopter, from a boat, from under water.   

Ben Russell: Trypps #7 (Badlands), 2010

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Intoxication is also a form of dizziness. We lose control. Trypps #7 shows a particular kind of high induced by the drug LSD. How do people deal with hallucinations, with altered and partly enhanced perception? We watch a young woman in the Badlands National Park as she experiences an LSD trip.


Gradually we realise that our perception is also fooling us: The camera is not filming the woman herself, but rather her reflection in a rotating mirror. The mirror spins faster and faster until we too can no longer see clearly  

Ariel Schlesinger & Jonathan Monk: Balanced Acts (Graz), 2017

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When will it all tip over? At any moment everything here could collapse. The same is true of our lives: At any moment everything could suddenly change, we could lose our balance. Light bulbs, tables, socks and wineglasses are defying gravity. But how long can it last?


The photographs are by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss. For their film The Way Things Go they used objects to produce a chain reaction.  

Bruce Nauman: Pencil Lift/Mr. Rogers, 2013

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Here you see a special balancing act: Three pencils pushed together, held up side by side. It takes a steady hand to maintain enough control. The slightest tremble will send them crashing to the floor.


On the left-hand side we see somewhere calm and quiet, with no distractions, apparently. On the right you see Bruce Nauman’s personal workspace. His workplace environment includes his cat Mr. Rogers, coolly observing the artistic experiment.   

Oliver Ressler & Dario Azzellini: Occupy, Resist, Produce, 2014–2015

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The protagonists of this film project are workers from factories in Thessaloniki, Rome and Milan, who have lost their jobs in the last ten years due to the poor economic situation. And yet these workers have found their own way out of the crisis: They have collectively occupied the factories and used them for flea markets, recycling offices, cafés. As a result, they have carried on earning money and managed to bring some kind of security into their lives again.

Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond: Dizziness is my Name, 2017

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A whisper accompanies us throughout the exhibition. It moves through space, appearing time and again. The voice speaks about walking, about knowledge, ignorance. Does it want to unsettle us, to make us stray from our path?


In 2014, Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond began a research project: ‘Dizziness – a resource’. This project brings together artists with scientists, all looking for the answers to questions such as: What is the meaning of artistic activity? And does it need dizziness?

Installation on the "Needle"

Ann Veronica Janssens: MUHKA, Anvers, 1997  


How does it feel to lose your sense of direction? The fog stops us from finding our way around the space. We cannot see whether there is something in there or not. We don’t know when we will reach the edges of the room. We are anxious and confused. We’re reeling. Can we work out strategies for moving through the space?  


The installation can be seen at the Kunsthaus Graz in February and April every Tuesday from 11am to 12pm, from Wednesday to Sunday from 4pm to 5pm and in May every Sunday during opening hours.

To listen

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