Karolina Sobel



South Africa has gone from the symbol of white opulence into democracy and era of post-colonialism. During Apartheid times, when there were exclusion and separateness, the power and status of human being was decided by race. That time the country was ruled by white minority. According to the rulers divided country created better opportunities for all citizens. The future of inhabitants and prosperity of the communities were excellent unless you were black. Every African was allocated to one of nine different tribes, each with a designated tribal authority situated in its homeland. Those black people who worked in cities were living outside in townships. The iconic site of Johannesburg is called the Ponte Towers which reflects rich country’s history. The fifty four floor concrete building was originally built as any other building in Johannesburg for the white privileged race. It was an icon of exuberance, wealth and decadence, however with time it became the symbol of decay and crime. Along with uprisings in Soweto, economy crash and process of suburbanisation which resulted in moving out to suburbs by the white and opposite, in settling down of the black in the centre. The districts in centre were devastated and became a scene of criminal offences.

Nowadays Ponte Towers symbolises the idea of destruction, although there are investors who try to restore the building to living standards. The performing musician was born blind at the area of Venda homeland. As many other Africans he moved with his family to Soweto to find better job after Apartheid system had collapsed in 1994. The word „Venda“ means „land“ or „country“ and it is one of 11 official languages in South Africa. My work shows a performance of a song in Venda language at the hall of Ponte Towers and on the street of the suburbs, reminding about the original ancestors of the land and constituting a debate about the colonial legacy.

The title "Gravity" is a metaphor, which stands for the tensions of racial division after the apartheid legacy in South Africa in present order of the postcolonial times. Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass are brought toward one another, in other words, it is the strength of mutual tension.

First installation is to see at Orgel Fabrik on 22.04.2018 in Karlsruhe

Johannesburg Braamfontein

Braamfontein is an neighbourhood in the city of Johannesburg that has attracted the attention and interest of investors, city officials and urban practitioners for being the only urban node in the city that appears to be integrated (in terms of race and class) and dense in a city where suburban living is the norm. Braamfontein is also the only neighbourhood in Johannesburg inner city that has overcome urban decay in a more or less organic manner. Home Braamfontein is a research project aimed at showing the very diverse group of people that coexist in Braamfontein in terms of race, age, household composition, cultural identity and economic class. The project interrogates who are the people that actually live in Braamfontein and how each of us has made a home in the neighbourhood. The project consists of a series of portraits of the residents and still pictures of the living spaces they inhabit.

With cooperation Urbanists for Equity u4e.org.za it was possibile to screen the images in Braamfontein

Hydra residency

During a one week long residency on the Greek island of Hydra , jointly offered by Heike Schuppelius and Omer Fast with cooperation with the Athens School of Fine Arts, workshop focused on this small island, its sites and institutions, as a microcosm for examining larger issues: myth-making, disappearance, tourism and migration. An informal exhibition on the site marked the end of the residency. Being invited to propose a new work in collaboration with greek artists my project concentrated on spaces at the port which are public accessible (shops, taverns, hairdresser, cafes, bank, bookmaker). Every of those space uses screens for different reasons, some shows the tv programme the other survillience of own space. Our intervention consisted in bringing on the screen the view from the opposite part of the island. The view seems generic and creates contrast to the original use of the different screens. It raises the question of the function of the context for images and use of the imaginary in general terms of representation.


Casting for Olivia 

Museo di Zoologia Adiratica di Chioggia Giuseppe Olivi Palazzo Grassi 31.05.2017


Kamuna Museum's Night 6.08

Annual Event KAMUNA this year on 6.08 and the University of Art and Design is as guest featuring among others my work Primus Inter Pares

more infos here

f/stop Leipzig 25.06 - 3.07

Contribution to the f-stop Festival Leipzig


Die konventionelle Reportage aus Fotografie, Text und Gestaltung produziert ein Bild von Welt, das unsere eigene Wahrnehmung maßgeblich beeinflusst, ja konstruiert. Welche technischen Apparate stehen heute zur Verfügung, um die immer schneller werdende Welt zu registrieren? In welchem Verhältnis stehen sie zu traditionellen Formaten der Reportage? Die künstlerischen Arbeiten befragen unterschiedliche Aspekte der Reportage als Medium der Informationsvermittlung. Die KünstlerInnen gehen ins Archiv, recherchieren vor Ort, führen Interviews – der Rückgriff auf klassische Verfahren journalistischer Arbeit mündet dabei in die Frage, in welche (visuellen) Formate dieses Material überführt werden kann. Fotografie, Video und Text werden miteinander verschaltet. Hierdurch werden Strukturen und Mittel der Reportage offen gelegt, demontiert und neu zusammengesetzt. Die transformierende Eigenschaft des journalistischen Darstellungsformats wird sichtbar. Anstatt ein fixes Bild von Welt zu produzieren und/ oder zu reproduzieren, überlagern sich verschiedene Angebote von Wirklichkeit. Durch die künstlerischen Arbeiten sowie die Ausstellungsarchitektur werden Fragen formuliert, die unterschiedliche Erzählformen im Medium Reportage diskutieren.

 Beteiligte Studierende und Lehrende des Fachbereichs Medienkunst Fotografie der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe und Gäste 

 Konzept Prof. Michael Clegg, Prof. Armin Linke, Tobias Wootton 

 Künstler_innen: Jost Ammon, Ariella Azoulay, Ulf Beck, Lisa Bergmann, Estelle Blaschke, Haishu Chen, Manuel Cistof, Clegg & Guttmann, Harun Farocki, Robert Hamacher, Armin Linke, Tanja Meißner, Judith Milz, Wataru Murakami, Christoph Oeschger, Natalia Schmidt, Erik Schöfer, Elias Siebert, Karolina Sobel, Alexander Theis, Christina Vinke, Hendrik Whelan, Eyal Weizman & Forensic Architecture, Tobias Wootton, Marco Zampella 

 Kuratoren_innen: Prof. Michael Clegg, Prof. Anja Dorn, Prof. Armin Linke, Franciska Schmitt, Tobias Wootton 

 Ausstellungsdesign: Minh Duc Pham, Tobias Wootton 

 Grafik: Erik Schöfer 

 Foto: Karolina Sobel

Festival http://www.f-stop-leipzig.de/ 

 Dank an Ariella Azoulay, Estelle Blaschke, Eyal Weizmann und Siegfrid Zielinski für die Interviews Antje Ehmann @ www.harunfarocki.de, für die Leihgabe von der Videoarbeit 'Schlagworte - Schlagbilder' von Harun Farocki www.forensic-architecture.org, für die Leihgabe von Film und Video material des Kollektivs Forensic Architecture Peter Wieland @ www.adamwieland.de für die Leihgabe von Eiermann-Tischgestellen füe die Ausstellungsdesign www.zkm.de, für die Leihgabe einer Vitrine

Feature PhotoMonth Krakow

My contribution was selected by DER GREIF to be presented in during opening on photo month in Krakow.

"DER GREIF has been invited by Lars Willumeit, curator of the Krakow Photomonth 2016 Main Program – »Crisis? What Crisis?!« – to perform A Process 2.0 during the opening weekend at the festival centre. A Process 2.0 questions photography in its digital form as a distinct medium, its handling with the use of the Internet as well as photography’s haptic stimuli and common perception of authorship. A Process 2.0 is using the World Wide Web’s participatory structure to connect participants, visitors and editors across national boundaries – made possible due to an online transmission of the performative exhibition. A Process 2.0 is the continuation of A Process – Ein Prozess, first performed over the course of two months at Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus, Augsburg, in 2014."

Krakow Photomonth 2016 Festival Center, Tytonie, ul. Dolnych Młynów 10 Krakow Performance Thursday, May 12th, 2016 – Sunday, May 16th, 2016 Exhibition On view until Sunday, June 12th, 2016 Curated and edited by DER GREIF

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