OTHER
MINDS

BERLIN
23 SEP—20 OCT

Anna Ehrenstein

AL/DE

Coffee Ground Imaginaries (2022)

AnnaEhrenstein_coffegroundimaginaries_01

AR experience accessed through QR codes printed on banners and stickers ● Duration: 30’’ each video, 1-hour walk ● Commissioned by Screen City Biennial ● Realized in collaboration with 4DHD (Cibelle Cavalli Bastos und Coco Magnusson) ● Locations: Archenhold Observatory (rooftop), memorial plaque at Colonial Village Karpfenteich (Treptower Park), facade of Akademie der Künste (Pariser Platz), Arms Industry Offices (Pariser Platz) ● Image credits: Anna Enrenstein, Coffee Ground Imaginaries (2022). Production still. Courtesy the artist.

READING TIP: Click everywhere to invert colours

Tasseography is a divination and fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in coffee cups. It is a traditional method found in a cultural complex that ranges from the Balkans to Bengal which attempts to scry the present and future of an individual human being. Patterns and images that form inside the cup within the thick mocha grounds after drinking the beverage are used to predict a subject's state of mind. In a time where algorithmic engineering is creating patterns to predict and materialize global futures, Ehrenstein use the technique of coffee cup fortune telling to create an alternative viscous AR experience. Based on a 2018 performance, Ehrenstein has repurposed her former digital avatar into a receptor of cosmic intelligence from virtual coffee grounds. A psychogeographic stroll takes the participants on a drift through Berlin’s urban soul, and then to Oslo (2023), along with banners and stickers activating the AR experience.

The triggers activating the AR create a landscape with animations of a sage emerging from the coffee grounds, and offering short readings. Instead of focussing on a singular fortune-telling narrative, the psychic reads communal, planetary object-subject entanglements in the coffee grains. The sage sees alternative, collective human potentiality and bridges gaps between Sufi mysticism and techno-animism. The episodes have a possible linear reading, but also function in a non-linear, singular, or circular way. The short readings given by Ehrenstein's avatar delve around entanglements between transcending consciousness through mystic Sufism and artificial general intelligence. They visually reveal oily hyperobjects and weave together semantics for contemporary psychic, cultural, and economic relationships with ineffable, emerging properties. The readings are a conversational and visual collaboration between Ehrenstein's research on Sufism and posthumanism and Inglês's research on ethno-digitalities based on ethnomathematics.

Anna Ehrenstein

Anna Ehrenstein lives between Berlin and Tirana and works in various mediums in artistic or curatorial production, examining how technology and digital-material culture reshape power relations and investigating forms of knowledge and their construction. How are phenomena like generalization, exotification, or patronizing perspectives embodied and how do they become corporeal qualities in analog or virtual geographies? Photography, text, video, installation, performance, and sculpture are created through work in the community and throughout process-based, long and short-term artistic research and mediation. How are we as a society produced by the media and through lens-based realities? How do photographic legacies meander through virtual and physical realities? Documentary conversations are the basis for speculation and theoretical inquiry is met by pop culture in late capitalist drag.

Anna Ehrenstein has studied photography and media art in Germany and attended curatorial courses in Valletta (Malta) and Lagos (Nigeria). In 2022 she received the INITIAL scholarship, in 2021 the Research Scholarship of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, in 2020 the C/O Berlin Talent Award, and in 2019 a DAAD scholarship to complete a research semester in Bogota (Colombia.) Recently, she has exhibited at the Ural Biennale in Yekaterinburg, KOW Berlin, the C/O Berlin Foundation, the Lagos Biennale, the Landesmuseum Linz and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, among others.

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