Angela Stiegler: DIVA, pidgeons and motion sickness

Portrait of the artist Angela Stiegler. Image credit: Constanza Meléndez

Interview with RE:MAGAZINE: Studiovisit with the artist Angela Stiegler.

Munich – In this Studiovistit the artist Angela Stiegler talks – among other things – about Motion Sickness, virtual reality and being inspired by pigeons.

The questions were answered on the 25th January 2021.

Where are you right now? 
Angela Stiegler In my studio in Munich, alone and getting snowed in. But I am also in Venice and Marseille, in touch with Samuel (Fischer-Glaser), Nikolai (Gümbel) and Sophie (Schmidt). In 2021 we discovered the body of the „Diva“ and we are diving deeper into understanding and getting to know this body while being apart from each other and in different places. The body of the „Diva“ is one of suffering, but also one of joyous anticipation.

What are you working on right now?
One of the things I am working on at the moment is a new exercise: I call it „Motion Sickness Exercise“. In this new exercise I am trying to explore the potential of feelings and states like dizziness and vertigo. Motion Sickness describes a very common feeling of being moved passivly. I will be working with Virtual Reality to set up this exercise. I am interested in the connotation of movement and sickness, the fact that travelling makes us potentially sick. Exercises are in general a possibility for me to move between performance and experiment and explore body politics. In order to do that I like to use different protagonists: people and technologies. Writing is one of those technologies. To quote Donna Haraway: „Writing is preeminently the technology of cyborgs (…)“ and she adds: „Cyborg politics are the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism.“ For Motion Sickness Exercise I collaborate with Shila Rastizadeh who is a young researcher in the team of Prof. Timo Götzelmann (chair for Human-Computer-Interaction, TH Nürnberg). We are supported by the LEONARDO Zentrum für Kreativität & Innovation Nürnberg and Museum Brandhorst to develop this exercise. 

What guides your artistic research?
I am guided by a speculative force to understand the world with the support of artistic methods. To me it is very important to understand art as a form of research and this is the reason why I am interested in imaging methods. In medicine for example images are used to show processes invisible to the eye. The way I think of images is very close to a magnetic resonance imaging. 

What are your favorite items in your studio? Why?
The fridge and my boom box. And my body, really. I like to think of the body as a tool, it needs to be fed (fridge) and moved (boom box). Sure there is other things than music and food that move me. Reading and writing is very important and tools I use to make work.

What are you curious about? What would you like to explore further?
I am curious to work with others. Collaboration is a challenge as it is an encounter of different people being in touch about their ideas. It is even more challenging as people from different backgrounds and fields come together. It is what makes interdisciplinary work so relevant, to approach work from different angles. Within the artist initiative K, that I co-founded in 2013, we even intend to work in an a-disciplinary way, leaving one’s discipline. With the opera collective DIVA we try to do something we are not trained in, using our voices to sing, trying to become an opera house. 

The isolation each of us finds themselves in now is very drastically demonstrating that there is a certain confusion about terms such as freedom and autonomy. These terms play an important part, not only for artists: To lose control and to remember that knowledge production can only work if we are in touch and exchange with others. My curiousity leads me into the world and now just outside my door, where I try to create a temporary monument on the street I live in with a handfull of my neighbours. We are getting to know each other by being in conversation about the meaning of the street name and in which way (personal) history can find visibility in the public memory and monuments. In a team with Samuel Fischer-Glaser, Yulia Lokshina and Constanza Meléndez we will be presenting our results this summer on the streets with the support of the Stipendium für Bildende Kunst of the City of Munich, the BA Bezirksausschuss Neuhausen-Nymphenburg and Erwin und Gisela von Steiner-Stiftung.

I think at the moment I am most inspired by the pidgeons that live on my bathroom windowsill.


What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Sledging down the Munich Olympia Park Hills in the snow.

What has inspired you recently?
I think at the moment I am most inspired by the pigeons that live on my bathroom windowsill. Since the winter lockdown I generally feel like I have to adapt to my surroundings more than before, in the rhythm of days, almost like a person with a different job or of older age. I am not sure how many hours birds sleep, but I am getting closer to them and I sing them to sleep while I brush my teeth. Since the museums, cinemas and theatres are closed there is an overload of online content and in general these things lack encounters, but I think in some sense certain spaces have become more accessible. I did enjoy watching fashion films recently, catwalks are something I did not find access to before, it feels almost like a new genre, a mix of video game and music video. 

What do you like about the local art scene?
A local art scene is an irritating term. I guess it could be vibrant if it were small and international at the same time. I very much believe in the power of personal relationships and therefore would say that this can be the power of a small art scene, but as we all know every art scene is an economic system and in this way always determined and led by economic forces that are based on exclusion and selection.

I observe Munich as a vibrant art scene, which grows step by step following the requirements of contemporary art, becoming more and more ephemeral, diverse and queer. This is reflected for example by a new generation of professors that teach in the art school and of curators in the museums. Artists always need support, most importantly from each other, but also from people being interested in them and financially supporting them. We best support each other by being in critical conversation with each other and investing in long term initiatives that support artists’ rights and needs. Germany has a very fine elaborated system that we can built upon such as Berufsverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler BBK, Künstler*innensozialkasse KSK, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn for image rights, but also more broadly becoming active in initiatives that we think might support our society to grow makes sense. Locally I am thinking of Frauengesundheitszentrum FGZ München or Forum Queeres Archiv München, #EXIST and the K&K Bündnis Kunst und Kind.

Which artists, curators or other art world people do you recommend for the readers to check out or to follow on social media? 
Tabea Blumenschein, New Noveta and I recommend staying offline as much as possible. Most of the artists that I admire and inspire me do not even use social media, I met
them analogue.

Angela Stiegler (*1987) based in Munich.

Stiegler shows the human body as a digital- sculptural image of actions and affects – a speculative body. She makes use of different media such as video and performance and works in collaborative contexts with shared authorship. Stiegler is demonstrating that within the horizon of contemporary science, the human figure has become remapped as abstraction’s very core and stages a syn-aesthetic reformation of a digitized humanity.
2007-2014 Studies in Munich, Karlsruhe and Athens.
She is co-founder of the self-organized initiative >K< that has taken place since 2013 as a hybrid format, every year in a different place. In 2020 she formed the opera collective >Diva< with Samuel Fischer-Glaser, Nikolai Gümbel and Sophie Schmidt. Currently she is teaching at Akademie der Bildenden Künste Nürnberg.

Angela Stiegler online
Instagram: @amygdalalalalala
Represented by: Galerie Françoise Heitsch

People, organizations and institutions
Samuel Fischer-Glaser: @samoribicglazar and
Nikoali Gümbel: @nikolaiguembel
Sophie Schmidt:
Constanza Meléndez: @contanchi
Yulia Lokshina
FrauenGesundeitsZentrum München:
Forum Queeres Archiv München: @forummuenchenev
k&k Bündnis Kunst und Kind: @kundk.muenchen
Tabea Blumenschein: @tabeablumenschein
New Noveta: @newnoveta
Shila Rastizadeh: @shila.rastizadeh
Leonardo: and @leonardozentrum
Museum Brandhorst: and @museumbrandhorst
BBK Berufsverband Bildender Künstler: @bbk_muc_obb and @bbk_berlin

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