The Understanding Gaze - Photographs by Pierre Bourdieu

An interactive archive of the photographic oeuvre, conceived by the Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik

A cooperation with Stiftung Bourdieu and Camera Austria

Sponsored by Fränkel Stiftung, Hypo-Kulturstiftung and Sparkasse Bodensee

10 | 10 | 2019 – 30 | 10 | 2020

Due to the Covid pandemic the archive project will be extended until the end of October and the cancelled program will be postponed until the Fall Term 2020.

We inhabit presently an age of images. Bloggers, influencers and algorithms direct the eye and social media platforms have emerged as the most influential global corporations. In these times, in particular it makes sense to use photography as an instrument of social research. Against this backdrop and within the framework of the annual theme "Economies of Visibility", the artsprogram of Zeppelin University, together with the Pierre Bourdieu Foundation and Camera Austria, has set up an interactive archive of photographs by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Until 10 May 2020, there will be an event programme on visual sociology and questions of visibility and invisibility.

The archive contains all the remaining photographs taken by Pierre Bourdieu, one of the most influential sociologists of the post-war period. The photographs were part of his early field studies. For the first time, the entirety of the sociologist’s photographs, mostly unpublished, will now be accessible. Over a period of three quarters of a year, groups of themes can be identified from this archive of 1153 photographs, compiled and shown in changing configurations.

The exhibition and project space White Box at ZU has been transformed for this project into a reading, working and archive situation by the experimental designer team “Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik”, making it available to the public as a public study room. In addition to the image archive, the installation will provide videos and a small specialist library.

For Bourdieu, photography was an important working tool - both for the development of theoretical research approaches and for empirical analysis of the social world. The sociologist's photographs reveal an exemplary effort not to reify the social conditions and the people he photographed, but to observe them and trace the ordering principles involved.

In the interactive archive, the task now is to approach experimentally his sociological working tools. Different configurations will be experimented with in order to better understand how Bourdieu used photography to make social structures, power relations and specific culturally conditioned habitus visible.

Pierre Bourdieu was born in 1930 in Denguin in the French Pyrenees and died in 2002 in Paris. His studies of philosophy and ethnology were followed by a research stay in Algeria from 1958 to 1960, where Bourdieu conducted studies on the Berber people of the Kabylen and developed his own theoretical approach. In 1964 he was appointed professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris; in 1982 his appointment to the renowned Collège de France was followed by a professorship in sociology. Pierre Bourdieu analysed the social power relations and structures of social inequality as well as their influence on the development of subjective patterns of thought and action. He described the individual "habitus" of a person (e.g. taste, language, consumer behaviour) as the unconscious internalisation of structurally given, class-specific behavioural patterns.

The Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik, consisting of Andreas Müller, Jesko Fezer and Anita Kaspar, creates discursive spaces through exhibition architecture. The three architects are former editors of the magazine "An Architektur" and teach Experimental Design, Urban Development and Exhibition Design at various universities. They have been working together in their studio for exhibition design since 2008. Their work deals with the spatial organisation of visual behaviour and can be understood as both a research method and as a means to provoke public debates. Their most recent major project was to design the German Pavilion for this year's Venice Biennale, for the artist Natascha Süder Happelmann.

Responsible for the project:
Prof. Dr. Karen van den Berg | Academic spokesperson of the ZU-artsprogram

Ulrike Shepherd | Curator of the ZU-artsprogram |
Prof. Dr. Franz Schultheis | Senior Professorship for Sociology of the Art Field and Creative Industries

Cooperation Partners
The project is a cooperation of the artsprogram of ZU with the Pierre Bourdieu Foundation, Kreuzlingen and Camera Austria, Graz.

Open for events and on request:

Visits are possible from the beginning of the Fall Term in September.
Contact: Ulrike Shepherd | M 0170 2328327

Email: artsprogram@​zeppelin-university.​net

1st Galery:
Pierre Bourdieu, Images of Algeria, 1957 – 1961.© Foundation Pierre Bourdieu, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.Courtesy: Photo Archive Pierre Bourdieu, Camera Austria, Graz, Austria.
2nd Galery:
Photos: Karen van den Berg

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