Residency artists and researchers

Media and video art

Gernot Wieland


Gernot Wieland

Initially, during my residency, I wanted to do research for a video project based on documentary, photographs and drawings called “Bird in Italian is Uccello”. The main part is a re-enacted performance of a play which was supposed to take place in the mid-1970s in an Italian psychiatric ward but never took place, because all institutions were closed in Italy.

Because of the pandemic, the residency was postponed to a year, and I discovered a story about a German writer who spent over 30 years in psychiatric institutions and tattooed his fellow inmates. He later worked as a seaman on cargo ships and died in a Berlin psychiatric ward.

When I came across the story of the writer, I realized that I wanted to integrate his story and “Bird in Italian is Uccello” into a larger narrative, a story about failure, disappearance, and longing. There are many moments in my films in which the third person uses the representing characters on the verge of their disappearance – this could be referred to as the lexical denotation of “other”. During my residency period, my goal is to work out this “other”, which underlies every film and which appears so strongly in both stories, and to place it in the context of the German and Austrian past and transferred, social, political and psychological processes.

Gernot Wieland’s artistic practice in recent years has centered above all on video and lecture performance. His work often combines historical events with seemingly personal memories where fact and fiction blend. The resulting narratives are complex, beginning with private issues and almost accidentally outlining problems in society. Wieland was born in Horn, Austria, in 1968. He studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His works have been shown, for example, at Salzburger Kunstverein, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Quartz Studio Turin, Berlinische Galerie – Museum of Modern Art, Videonale – Festival for Video and Time-Based Art, Argos Brussels, Belmacz, London, International Film Festival, Rotterdam, IndieLisboa Film Festival, Steirischer Herbst Festival, Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Hong-Gah Museum, Künstlerhaus Bremen and Kunsthaus in Graz. Wieland has received a number of awards, most recently the Best Film Award at VIII Kinodot Experimental Film Festival, St. Petersburg, the EMAF Media Art Award 2019 from the German Film Critics and the Award of the 20th edition of MOSTYN Open 2017. He lives in Berlin.