23 February 2021

Congratulations, Katja Aglert, on being appointed professor on the basis of artistic expertise – something that is very uncommon at LiU. Katja is affiliated to the Department of Thematic Studies – Gender Studies and is artistic leader and co-director of the Seed Box environmental humanities collaboratory. Below she speaks about her artistic practice and research.

Green Screen, art by Katja Aglert.
Green Screen, art by Katja Aglert. Katja Aglert

What are you trying to achieve with your art? Katja Aglert

– A core question in my artistic practice is, how we can use language, and at the same time create new forms of expression that do not confirm the order we aspire to transcend. As part of my research this question is always present , and the artistic processes allow me to stretch beyond what I already know, and explore something that to me is previously unexplored. I see this as a precondition for creating new stories and knowledge beyond the conventional.

What do you want to achieve at LiU?

Professor Katja Algert Photo credit Oskar Aglert– Within the framework of the diverse projects that I am involved in as part of my affiliation with LiU, I hope that I through the artistic perspectives can contribute to various transdisciplinary processes i.e., cross-boundary processes between art, academia and society. In my affiliation with the Department of Thematic Studies – Gender Studies and in my role at The Seed Box I see myself as a possible co-creator: together with colleagues we can explore potentials beyond disciplinary boundaries. I hope I can contribute new perspectives from an artistic point of view It can, for example, be about discussing material relations, and their diverse stories, histories and agency.  This connects to the question that I mentioned at the beginning. We may be able to create new perspectives by exploring ways to materialize things differently than how we usually do.  

Why is art important?

– Art is important in different ways in different times and societies. In general, I believe that art has the potential to contribute new stories. If we only hear the same things over and over again, then we might end up believing that it’s the only valid point. But art doesn’t allow us to be satisfied with that: it explores possibilities to tie things that are usually not tied together, and it places the unexpected side-by-side. As I see it, art is the very definition of boundary crossing.  Art creates new hybrids through different experiments and cross-fertilization beyond categorical boundaries, such as boundaries between genres, etc. Art proposes new forms, constellations, and stories.

What issues are closest to your heart?

– I am passionate about exploring stories and materialisations from an artistic perspective, which challenge the conception that humans are at the center of everything. Another thing I believe to be important is to take emotions seriously as knowledge, experiences, and carriers of meaning within art and other fields. I also aspire in nearly everything I do to achieve some form of shared experience for everyone involved – shared experience that transform us. The experience of being part of something that has the power to accomplish change, both small and large, and make a difference.


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