Faculty News

“Being-Together-With the World-Without-Us” - Christoph Solstreif-Pirker Defends First Artistic-Research Dissertation at TU Graz

© Matthieu Duperrex


On November 22, 2019, the successful defense of the first artistic-research dissertation took place at Graz University of Technology. Christoph Solstreif-Pirker's doctoral thesis, titled "Being-Together-With the World-Without-Us: Performative Investigations Into the Traumatized Planetary Space" (supervised by Univ.-Prof. Milica Tomić, Institute of Contemporary Art), was devoted to the ambivalent relationship between man and nature in the Anthropocene epoch and designed an alternative research paradigm for the investigation of traumatized spaces, landscapes and territories. Situated between architecture, performance art, psychoanalysis, philosophy and ecology, Solstreif-Pirker's transdisciplinary approach ("feminine-based performative practice") established a novel methodology that was formulated in the artistic-intuitive encounter with non-human, trans-human and unknown milieus and actors. Alongside carrying out research in Italy, Scotland and Iceland as well as participating at international conferences, this research-based approach was applied in concrete terms and presented as a political practice form. The dissertation thus saw itself as an actively applicable tool that makes it possible to eliminate the dualisms of culture and nature or oneself and the other and to find a hopeful and future-oriented answer to the challenges of the present. In a captivatingly forward-looking form, the dissertation preempted the current pandemic state and postulated an artistically exploratory togetherness with the trauma of the present ("Being-Together-With"), which seems even more necessary right now.

The dissertation was highly commended by the examination board, consisting of Univ.-Prof. Anselm Wagner (chair), Univ.-Prof. Milica Tomić (Institute of Contemporary Art, TU Graz) as well as Prof. Henk Slager (Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design); the defense itself was awarded with distinction.