Nach dem Stillstand

<Discussion, dt.>

Gaby Hartel and Gloria Meynen
Sunday, June 6, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Location: Open University, Urfahrmarkt area


Utopias are places you can only travel to in your mind. They often exist separate from the mainland by a sea. The pandemic, however, is the Pacific Ocean – the calm sea that Magellan crossed in six months and twenty days “seeing nothing but the sky and saltwater.” Not a place, but a state of being. The pandemic is a sea without islands. It leaves behind a desolate, salty world as far as the eye can see.

“Nothing … nothing … and, again, nothing,” Clov observes, in Beckett’s Endgame, as he watches the ocean through the telescope. In their conversation, Gaby Hartel and Gloria Meynen travel the wastelands of standstills through conversation. Samuel Beckett meets Alexander von Humboldt; both have measured the differences and details of wastelands and the infinitesimal in different ways: in literature and science, on stage, and dusty plateaus. Gaby and Gloria will discuss the issues of waiting and boredom as well as the places, the symptoms, and self-techniques of slowness. To what extent can narratives and geographies make standstills glitter, and sound, and speak? Their conversation revolves around the open question of whether fatigue, the black bile of salty wastelands, can lead to self-technique and an active form of protest. Where does the Pacific Ocean end? And can we catch the wind and escape out of stasis?


Gaby Hartel is a curator, translator, and award-winning broadcaster based in Berlin and London. Her portfolio comprises the overlapping areas of media, literature, and contemporary art, focusing on sound art. Gaby has taught and published widely in those fields and she curated exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (nbk), Akademie der Künste Berlin, and ZKM Karlsruhe to name a few. Her work as curator and concept advisor for sound art shows includes Art / Nature, sound art interventions at Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (2014-2018), Radiophonics (HKW, Berlin 2018), Choreography of Sound (ZKM, 2013), and SOUNDS. radio – art – new music (nbk, 2010).

Gloria Meynen is a cultural and media scientist and professor of media theory at the Institute for Media at Kunstuniversität Linz. She studied modern German literature, medieval German literature, philosophy, and cultural studies in Cologne, Bonn, Bochum, Konstanz, and Berlin. In 2004 she received her doctorate from the Humboldt University in Berlin with her dissertation Büro. The Invention of the Writing Surface, a history of two-dimensionality. In 2016, she habilitated in the Department of Cultural Studies at Leuphana University Lüneburg with her monograph Inseln und Meere. Zur Geschichte und Geografie fluider Grenzen, published by Matthes & Seitz Berlin in 2020.