„Wer auf dem Kopf geht, meine Damen und Herren, – wer auf dem Kopf geht, der hat den Himmel als Abgrund unter sich.“


“Whoever walks on their head, ladies and gentlemen - whoever walks on their head has the sky as an abyss underneath.” 

Paul Celan, from the acceptance speech for the Georg Büchner Prize 1960 (translated by Melanie Sindelar)

Dear Readers,

With this first issue of reposition, I am pleased to present to you a new publication that throws light on the wide range of research carried out at the University of Applied Arts Vienna – research that creates an investigative environment that is diverse, fascinating and fruitful. It is also hoped that this publication will enable you to appreciate the great and diverse potential this research has for advancing both internal and external discourse. 

Comparing one’s own viewpoint with the viewpoints of others, questioning, examining and challenging it from various perspectives, constitutes an important, dynamic aspect of any kind of artistic or scholarly research. 

At the Angewandte, research projects and cooperative undertakings with extremely different orientations all merge into a very interesting research landscape characterised by diversity and a topography that can be quite surprising, a landscape that at the same time serves as a solid foundation on which to build.

The present publication, beyond mapping this topography, aims to point out connections and differences that exist between the various positions and to contribute to creating a space for shared discovery and feedback.

A central priority of our University is ensuring openness and fluidity among spaces created for experience and knowledge sharing, which arise during research projects, and guaranteeing that these spaces become accessible to interested members of the general public. We thereby seek to encourage fruitful exchange and a sense of social commitment in the discussion and debate of the various positions held.

My special thanks go to Alexander Damianisch and Wera Hippesroither for launching and developing the idea of reposition and for taking on the editorial supervision of the publication; to all colleagues contributing written material concerning their research; and, last but not least, to peers who, by offering feedback, ensure quality and provide useful input to the researchers.

I wish you all an enriching and inspiring reading experience!

Welcome to the first issue of reposition, which invites you to reposition yourselves and encourages turns in action and reflection, of settings and their contexts. A warm welcome to our colleagues and, most importantly, to our readers! This publication deals with collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, the existential, emptiness, relations, performance and much more.

Initiated by Alexander Damianisch, director of Center Research Focus, and supported by Wera Hippesroither and relating to existing potentials at our institution, this endeavour embarks on bringing together the wide variety of research at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and reflects on an ongoing culture of editorial structures for research in Arts and Sciences. Based on a call for papers, reposition collects positions from ongoing processes. It offers researchers of all disciplines and departments at the University of Applied Arts Vienna the opportunity to publish their work according to peer-review principles. Colleagues of any level and doctoral students in arts and sciences were invited to share their work. This series showcases their diverse approaches to project-oriented research work and presents current insights, captivating research processes, and ongoing projects from a deeply personal perspective that courageously unearth the work-in-progress.

With reposition, we aim to open conventional boundaries between subjects to emphasise potentials lying in the “in-between” and provide space for transdisciplinary dialogues. In a broad field of vivid, interrelated impulses, readers will find a colourful array of topics reflecting the many different personalities at our university. Topics covered by our authors range from Citizen Science tied to arts-based research, the democratisation of science, questions that arise in the context of collaborative knowledge production to searching for images and words for subjective experiences of persons affected by autoimmunity. They also range from the challenge of sustainability in art collections and conservation to the fundamental human ambiguity and bio-philosophical dimensions of disease; from the phenomenon of emptiness and corporeality in digital spaces to existential-phenomenological approaches; from poetic strolls and longings, searching for ways to relate to each other, to reflections about mimesis and hybridity; and lastly, from textual performances to traditional academic approaches and their critical reflection. reposition allows its readers to become an actively-engaged part of this diverse research environment, forge their own paths through it, and (re)position themselves in this vibrant space. 

Following the research profile of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, reposition seeks positions that, as current evidence of an ongoing process, and in contrast to other disciplines, provide neither “true” nor “false” results, and whose qualities lie above all in the critical and subjective examination of a topic. Exchange and the enabling of relations are essential for the field of art and science, for which we want to provide space. Accordingly, we envision reposition as an offer to researchers to receive feedback from colleagues via peer-review. We now share with you the first step of this relational collective walk. This journey is an ongoing process, and we invite you, esteemed readers, to share your reading experience with the authors and us: send us your feedback! It enables us to continue following the basic idea of this axis of shared attention, reflection and sharing. The idea of reposition is to emphasise dynamic approaches that demonstrate the courage to adopt alternative perspectives and a focus that lies always on a dialogue in-between. In this sense, you are invited to relate and reposition yourself together with us.

Pamela Bartar’s (Center for Didactics of Art and Interdisciplinary Education) contribution Citizen Science – a new field for the arts? links Citizen Science with art-based research. Providing an overview of current approaches, Bartar illustrates how contemporary art can significantly contribute to the democratisation of science and the societal proximity of research, particularly focusing on socially engaged practices and collaborative knowledge production.

Barbara Graf (Center Research Focus, PhD candidate PhD in Art) takes Jacques Lacan’s notions of the ‘upholstery button’ and the ‘suture’ as starting points to explore textile metaphors as methodological tools for her artistic practice, informed by her own bodily sensory experiences and experience of paresthesia as a person affected by MS. Graf’s contribution Stitches and Sutures searches for images of the invisible and explores how deeply subjective experiences can be made accessible and adequately expressed.

Tanja Kimmel (Institute of Conservation and PhD candidate Doctoral Programme in Philosophy) addresses the question of how art collections and conservation can become sustainable in her contribution Making museum repositories greener. Sustainability poses a challenge for the art sector. While museums serve as role models for society and can thus contribute significantly to the discourse, they also have very high energy consumption and CO2 emissions due to their complex climatic technology. Kimmel mentions current initiatives and sustainability concepts of museums in Austria and abroad and discusses a case study featured in her dissertation that conducts a CO2 assessment of the central storage of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in order to create the first profound data basis on climate-damaging emissions, which will then facilitate further action.

Barb Macek (PhD candidate and fellow (DOC) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the Institute of Fine Arts & Media Arts) takes as her starting point self-reflections and her own experiences with the autoimmune disease SLE and approaches the phenomenon of autoimmunity in relation to fundamental human ambiguity, following Helmuth Plessner. Macek’s contribution, Exercises in Existential Eccentricity, explores the bio-philosophical dimension of the disease rather than its bio-medical dimension, showing how autoimmunity raises existential-phenomenological questions regarding bodily ownership, the self, and the notion of the body as “one’s own”. From an assumed embodied diversity, she designs an artistic technique, EEE - Exercises in Existential Eccentricity, drawing on the technique of auto-interviewing, autoethnography and poetics to facilitate a dialogue between different inner voices. 

Valerie Messini (Peter Weibel Research Institute for Digital Cultures) chooses the phenomenon of emptiness in art as a point of departure for her contribution Nothingness in the digital Space and presents her artistic projects operating with different technologies to approach the phenomenon of emptiness in connection with corporeality in digital space. 1-NO1-100.000 uses dance movement to explore emptiness in virtual space, and Deep Empty - Wide Open uses deep learning to question the extent to which horizon lines function as mental voids.

Verena Miedl-Faißt (Center Research Focus, PhD candidate PhD in Art) invites us with Await what the stars will bring to walk through her artistic research trajectory. Her contribution poetically narrates on longings, and on beautiful and painful experiences in connection with her artistic practice and collaborative work with her nephew L. Based on Donna Haraway’s concept of kinship, Miedl-Faißt searches for possibilities of relating to each other and seeks ways to make inner processes accessible. The contribution provides insights into her work with children and colleagues and how she creates “materialized relations, co-creations objecting time, space, and loneliness.”

Lucie Strecker (Angewandte Performance Laboratory and Department of Art and Communication Practices) reveals the artistic working process preceding a production with the contribution Rewritable Creatures, reflecting on mimesis and hybridity in choreography through an exchange of letters with the late performer Daniel Aschwanden (Angewandte Performance Laboratory and Department of Art and Communication Practices) and the author Vera Sebert. As the three letter-writers search, speculate and ask each other questions, the text becomes a written performance, revealing an immediate, polyphonic approach to the subject that allows readers to become part of the performance. In this way, processes of hybridisation become manifest in writing. The performance, however, cannot be completed; Aschwanden’s sudden death interrupts the text, turning the contribution, in a sense, into a memorial to an artist, friend, and colleague and the readers into witnesses.


We extend our gratitude to all researchers who provided insights into their work processes, to everyone involved in producing this volume – from graphic design to proofreading – and especially to the extensive and interdisciplinary scientific advisory board. In response to our call for reviewers, numerous experts from a wide variety of fields responded with insightful, critical, and concise comments that greatly enriched the entire process. This commitment and extraordinary dedication are no small feat for an entirely new publication that certainly challenges the conventional peer-review system through its interdisciplinary approaches. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude. Thank you for engaging in this experiment.

We hope you enjoy reading this first issue of reposition and that you will gain new impulses, dive deeply into your colleague’s projects and encounter unexpected topics. We extend our invitation to reposition yourself with us: after all, research at the University of Applied Arts Vienna is unfailingly personal, unpredictable, and as innovative as it is courageous.

Enjoy the walk and please get back to us. It is never too late to reconsider!


© University of Applied Arts Vienna 2022. All rights reserved, including the reproduction of extracts or figures.

© of texts and illustrations held by the authors, unless stated otherwise.

ISSN: 2960-4354 (Print) 2960-4362 (Online)