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Prof. Dr. Birte Kleine-Benne:
Crying Institute

donnerstags, 18-19:30 Uhr
Beginn: 20.10.2022
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Fak. Kunst und Gestaltung
BigBlueButton >>
Externes Passwort: 2022_Crying

Homepage of Crying Institute >>

Mit dem "Crying" hat sich die kunsthistorische und kunsttheoretische Forschung bislang eher marginal beschäftigt. Wir wollen theoretische und historische Schlüsseltexte, signifikante Begriffe und Terminologien, taugliche Methoden auch anderer Disziplinen und bereits existierende künstlerische Arbeiten/Praktiken zu diesem Thema in der Kunstgeschichte und in der zeitgenössischen Kunst recherchieren und zusammentragen.
Und wir wollen uns mit der Entwicklung von Workshops, Mediationstools, Manuals, Dienstleistungen, Coachings, vielleicht auch von Produkten so aufstellen, dass wir als Institut und Crying-Expert*innen einsatzfähig werden könnten.
Denn: "Sharpen your tears, it is going to be a long one."*

Research in art history and art theory has so far dealt with crying rather marginally. We want to research and compile theoretical and historical key texts, significant terms and terminologies, suitable methods also from other disciplines and already existing artistic works/practices on this topic in art history and contemporary art.
And we want to set ourselves up with the development of workshops, mediation tools, manuals, services, coaching, maybe products in a way that we could become operational as an institute and crying experts.
Because: "Sharpen your tears, it is going to be a long one."*

* Nadja Kracunovic 2021: Voicing displeasure #2 The Professional Cry >>

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, MoMA 2010.

Marina Abramovic & Ulay On Their Meeting at MoMA 2010.

Bas Jan Ader: I’m too sad to tell you, 1970/71.


Welcome to the "Crying Institute". You are challenged in the seminar to deal with the topic of "Crying" and to find your access and perspective for this. We all have no knowledge on Crying, as there is no compiled and no systematized knowledge on Crying yet.

There were 131 interested students, 99 with priority 1. One option could have been to cancel 2 of 3 to work with a more manageable group size. Another option was to accept the challenge and make the best of the situation. Very much in the spirit of Joseph Beuys, who doubted the university’s admissions procedures and in 1972 showed solidarity with all rejected students by accepting them into his class: "I’ll take them all!" So we decided to accept this challenge and let the seminar take place in a self-organized way. This is possible because there is little knowledge and the seminar should take place as a research seminar anyway. Thank you to Be, Nadja and Theo for your approval, your optimism and your support so far.

But it takes all of our collective cooperation, emotional intelligence and effort.

So that is our semester schedule:

We split into three groups of 33 students each.
- Group 1 is a primarily German-speaking group and works with me (Birte).
- There remain 66 who again divide into 2 English-speaking groups and work with Be and Theo (group 2) and Nadja and Rand (group 3).
- Using this online tool >> we will create our three groups. Please note your name and choose your 1st and 2nd choice group (with two different tick colours).
- All 3 groups have their own BBB room, their own Nuudel link to manage each session, their own upload folder on moodle, and their own back office for structural and organizational matters. All links can you find in moodle of our seminar.
- We all have a blog together where we collect our material: cryinginstitute.artnextsociety.net

For each individual participant: Please choose a date @nuudel from our total of 10 separate group meetings (dates below): 2, maximum 3 presentations are possible per session, so you will have a total of 30 minutes for your presentation:
- Group 1 >>
- Group 2 >>
- Group 3 >>

Choose one topic from the following two categories for your presentation in the seminar:
A: Existing Crying Material
B: New Crying Material

For correct understanding: All participants must deliver material for both categories, you have to deliver Existing Crying Material and New Crying Material. But due to the number of participants you will be able to present material of only one category in our seminar.

Please select a date for your presentation @nuudel. Please also briefly note in the name field whether it will be Existing or New Crying Material.

A. Existing Crying Material:
We want to research already existing material on crying, on the internet, in databases, in libraries ...
This may be
- a theoretical or historical key text on the topic,
- a specialist perspective from a scientific discipline,
- a suitable method for dealing with the topic, or
- an existing artistic work/practice on the topic in art history or in contemporary art.

Some more inspirations:
The artistic work/practice dealing with the theme may be a play, literature, music, visual art, film, video, poster, etc. There are no genre restrictions. (Some examples >>
Key texts, subject perspectives, or methods may be approaches to the following questions:
- What is Crying physiologically?
- What is Crying anthropologically?
- What is the psychological history of Crying?
- What cultural differences exist regarding Crying?
- Are there geographical differences?
- Are there political, iconic events in which Crying played an important role?
- Are there pop cultural examples: e.g., Queen’s funeral, concerts by pop stars? ...
- Is there a history of Crying?
- Is there a gender history of Crying?
- Is there a religious history of Crying?
- Is there a semiotics of Crying?
- How can Crying be viewed in terms of communication theory?
- ...
Summarized: It may involve perspectives from medicine, biology, anthropology, psychology, psychoanalysis, social studies, cultural studies, politics, history, gender history, religion, semiotics, sociology, communication theory ...

B: New Crying Material:
We want to develop new material on the topic of Crying.
This can be a broad spectrum:
- performances,
- drawings,
- costumes,
- posters,
- workshops,
- software,
- mediation tools,
- manuals,
- services,
- coachings,
- products,
- rooms,
- architectures,
- meals,
- ...,
so that we could become operational as an institute and crying experts.

You have requested that we do meet in our 2nd meeting on 27.10.2022 to discuss further matters in a smaller group size. In this respect, log into the BBB of your respective group on 27.10.2022, if you wish. If instead you would like to research the topic for yourself and choose your topic, please feel free to ... Then we will not see each other again until the 3rd session on 3.11.2022.

Please prepare a presentation of about 15-20 minutes for your presentation date. You are welcome to work as a team and present as a team.

Please prepare both a visualization and a handout for your presentation, as it is usual in scientific contexts, so that your audience can follow you. Please include the following information in your handout: 1. topic, 2. brief overview of hard facts, 3. main thesis, 4. open questions, 5. literature used and URLs.
Please upload your handout as a .pdf document on moodle 2 days before your presentation.
Please post your visualization online on our blog ( cryinginstitute.artnextsociety.net ) for your presentation date and present your topic along with your material on the blog in BBB.

If you have the time, please try to ask a question following your presentation to get a brief discussion going and/or ask your colleagues for their input. For the audience: please participate in the session with your questions or contributions, either verbally or via chat. You will have a total of 30 minutes for your presentation.

The moderation of the individual sessions is also in the hands of the presenters of that session.

Please also post the material developed on the other category on our blog online (cryinginstitute.artnextsociety.net), no later than 28.2.2023 please.

In your non-lecture time, please write an encyclopedia entry on one A4 page (no more than 600 words) for a significant term of crying that you have chosen. Please base your writing style on dictionary entries. By 31.3.2022, please upload your text in moodle.
Before that we want to use this pad >> to collect the terms for the encyclopedia-style crying glossary we are co-creating at the end of the semester. No need to filter just now.

If you do not wish to attend after these instructions, please let me (Birte) know via email in the next days (by 22.10.22) so other students can attend.

To receive credits for this course, you have to complete the following 4 assignments:

Each participant is expected to work on both categories (Existing Crying Material and New Crying Material) for their credits, have one handout for&before the presentation uploaded to moodle and two visualizations uploaded to the blog >> by 28.2.2023. To receive credits for this course, you have to complete these assignments plus your presentation of one of them in the seminar plus an encyclopedia entry on an A4 page for a significant term of crying, no later than 31.3.2023 please.

1. Existing Crying Material: Research, Reading, Reflection, Visualization & Blogentry
2. New Crying Material: Think and Create, Visualization & Blogentry
3. Presentation: Handout and Presentation of 1. or 2. & Moderation of your lecture
4. Writing: A4 page (no more than 600 words) for a significant term of crying.

Our dates:
20.10.22: Kick-off
27.10.22: Own research and appointment fixing on nuudel OR BBB meeting in 3 seperate groups OR you will receive individual information from your back office
BBB meetings in 3 seperate groups: 03.11.22, 10.11.22, 24.11.22, 1.12.22, 8.12.22, 15.12.22, 5.1.23, 12.1.23, 19.1.23, 26.1.23
17.11.22: Onion soup with PhD-Students on campus (Please contact Nadja and Be directly to co-organise or participate in this session.)
16.12.2022: Crying Disco @ Kiosk 6
Final joint meeting in presence: 2.2.23

Our culture of encounter. Please accept:
Equality and diversity of knowledges: Everyone has knowledge to contribute in the form of experiences, feelings, observations, and (also) formal and informal research; these different forms of knowledge are all of equally important.
Collective working method: We work out the topics together.
Benevolent approach: error-friendly, respectful, patient.
Follow basic rules of feedback: Ask permission before providing feedback.
Concentrate on specifics. Describe what you like first. Formulate criticism in a constructive and helpful way.
Follow the basic rules of good scientific and artistic practice. Integrity is a necessary component of conviviality.
Our goal should be to create a trusting basis for exchange and reflection - and for the production of a Crying knowledge.

Our structure

Schiesser, Giaco 1999: Kategorisierung von Netzkunst - exemplarische Beispiele >>

1g. Reaktive Werke: Der User, die Userin kann sich einzig durch Scrollen und Klicken durch das Kunstwerk bewegen.
1e. Reactive works of art: The user can only move through the artwork by scrolling and clicking.
Hans Bernhard, Psych|OS-Generator >>
Mouchette, Kill that cat >>

2g. Interaktive Werke: Der User, die Userin kann durch Eingabeflächen, Java-Applets, oder CGI-Scripts den Server veranlassen, eine konjunkturelle Veränderung des jeweilgen Kunstwerkes zu evozieren. Verlässt der user die Site, geht das Projekt wieder in seinen Ausgangszustand über. Das heisst, die Veräderungen des Kunstwerkes sind nur temporär.
2e. interactive works of art: The user can cause the server to evoke a conjunctural change in the respective work of art by means of input buttons, Java applets or CGI scripts. When the user leaves the site, the project returns to its original state. This means that the changes to the work of art are only temporary.
Heath Bunting, Skint >>

3g. Partizipative Werke: Der User, die Userin kann durch Downloaden, Bearbeiten, Rücksenden von Text-, Ton- und/oder Bilderfiles und/oder durch das on-line-Steuern von Programmen bzw. von Robotern zu einer andauernden Veränderung des jeweiligen Kunstprojektes beitragen.
3e. participative works of art: The user can contribute to a permanent change of the respective art project by downloading, editing, sending back text, sound and/or image files and/or by controlling programmes or robots online.
Jenny Holzer, Please Change Beliefs, 1995 >>

4g. Kollaborative Werke: Dem User, der Userin wird eine (vorgestaltete) Plattform oder ein Rahmensystem zur Vefügung gestellt, die er, sie für seine/ihre eigene Zwecke benutzen kann. Die KünstlerInnen geben also einzig den Anfangsimpuls; Struktur, Entwicklung und Veränderung des "Kunstwerkes in Bewegung" (Umberto Eco) ist danach einzig abhängig von den Entscheidungen einzelner bzw. vieler UserInnen.
4e. collaborative works of art: The users are provided with a (pre-designed) platform or framework system that they can use for their own purposes. The artists thus only give the initial impulse; the structure, development and change of the "work of art in motion" (Umberto Eco) is then solely dependent on the decisions of individual or many users.
Wafaa Bilal, The Paintball Project, 2007 >>
--> That is our Crying Institute!


How to Cry on Stage:
1. Throw yourself to the floor. While resting forearms and forehead on floor, shudder.
2. With your mouth open in an inverted U shape, grind both fists into both eyes.
3. Cover face with both hands. Slowly shrug one shoulder repeatedly.
4. Cover ears, shake head "No!" Run offstage, accelerating as you near the wings.
5. Sniff, while wiping nose on full length of forearm. Sleeves preferred.
6. Bury head against wall and pound fist weakly.
7. Gaze coldly into middle distance, with right index finger against left cheek. Pointing up, flick imaginary tear away in small, sharp outward motion (like a little windshield wiper). Think, "Never Again."

How to Start Crying:
1. Pretend that you are already cry ing: fake crying leads directly to real crying.
2. If you’re a toddler: Run fast and then fall down. Get back up and look around for witnesses. If anyone is watching, cry. If not, start over.
3. Get drunk by yourself in a hotel room and watch The Golden Girls.
4. Linger in the International Arrivals Hall of any airport and notice all the signs, flowers, and balloons that aren’t for you.
5. Relax, and stop thinking so hard: Turn on the waterworks, blubber, sob, whimper, weep, wail.
6. Feel sorry for yourself.

How to Stop Crying:
1. Look in the mirror

Source: Mark Morris 2016: A Symposium on Crying, in: The Threepenny Review , FALL 2016, Vol. 147 (FALL 2016), pp. 18-21, Published by: Threepenny Review >>


Georges Bataille
Hans Bellmer
Dirk Bouts
Daniele Buetti
Colyn de Coter
Nan Goldin
Tony Oursler: Crying Doll, 1993 >>
Gina Pane
Secondo Pia
Pablo Picasso
Man Ray
Dieter Roth
Sam Taylor-Wood
Wolfgang Tillmanns
Bill Viola
Madame Yevonde

Night Sea Crossing, 1981-1987

Marina Abramovic: Freeing the Voice, 1975

Marina Abramovic: Balkan Baroque, 1997

Marina Abramovic: about Rhythm 0 (1974), 2018

Marina Abramovic: about Rhythm 0 (1974), 2018

email: b k b [at] e y e s 2 k . n e t

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