Annotations

by Nico Andreas Heller

Annotations offers cultural producers a space to reflect on the defining currents and crises of our time and to talk about how these currents and crises impact and, in some cases, motivate their practice.

Conceived as a multiplatform multimedia online publication, Annotations combines a newsletter with a podcast and youtube channel and is presented by  ... 

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • Tracing Coloniality | The Documentary Practice of Valérie Osouf

    Tracing Coloniality | The Documentary Practice of Valérie Osouf

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Valérie Osouf. Valérie Osouf is a French documentary film maker and artist, and a leading voice in the migrant rights and social justice movement internationally. She is currently working on a feature-length international documentary on human mobility, traversing five countries (UAE, Russia, Rwanda, China, and Canada) and in November will be shooting a nocturnal urban motorbike film in Kigali. Whilst she has frequently crossed over into fine art practice, in 2021 she formally joined the artists’ collective School of Mutants and, since then, has exhibited widely also with them, including at The New Museum in Rotterdam, the Berlin Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Kaunas Biennial of Contemporary Art, and soon at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds. Neo-/Colonialism, France’s colonial history and decoloniality feature big in Valérie’s work. In this podcast we explore these themes further within the context of and in relation to her own practice as a French or European filmmaker and artist. For more information about Valérie Osouf, visit her website at eng.valerieosouf.com.

  • Of Natural Flows and Architectural Currents

    Of Natural Flows and Architectural Currents

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Lenka Petrakova. Lenka’s futuristic designs are inspired by her study and love of nature. Improvements in technology, digital design, AI integration and material developments enable her to design organic structures, often on an epic scale, that promote community, are sustainable and operationally highly efficient. Beauty in architecture, as in nature, she maintains, is not a goal in itself, but the manifestation of a well-functioning organism. Is this where the architecture of the early 21st century is headed? In this dialogue, we reflect on some of the dominant currents in architecture today (beyond sustainability) and how these currents impact Lenka’s practice, before taking a closer look at The 8th Continent, a private project she has been working on (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Nr_R3sNSvQ ). Lenka Petrakova is an international architect who has worked in New York, Los Angeles, London, Vienna and Bratislava. Since May 2017, she has worked at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in London, where she is the Lead Architect. She has worked on over 40 projects in 10 countries and spent most of her time working in high-rise building design. Her personal and academic work has been exhibited internationally in Venice (Venice Biennale), Vienna, Zlín, Bratislava and Beijing. She has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from Foundation Jacques Rougerie Génération Espace Mer - Institut de France and the Zlín Design Week Award for Innovation in 2017. For more information about Lenka Petrakova, please visit lenkapetrakova.com.

  • On Humiliation

    On Humiliation

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Keith McVeigh. Hugo Ball, co-founder of the Dada movement, once remarked that “every word that was spoken and sung [at Cabaret Voltaire, their club in Zurich] represented at least this one thing: that this humiliating age had not succeeded in winning [their] respect”. That was back in 1916, at the height of the first world war. For Ball art was not an end in itself, but an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in. The Dada movement, to him, was a direct revolt against the prevailing bourgeois aesthetic and social values of the West and against society's glorification of war and violence. Belfast-based philosopher Keith McVeigh, who joins Nico Andreas Heller for this edition of Annotations, has developed his practice as a composer and pianist against the backdrop of the ‘troubles’, the violence and bigotry that, since the late 1960s, have served as a constant reminder of the frailty of our human condition. Starting from Hugo Ball’s conception of a humiliating age, we will be exploring the role art in general and music in particular can play in today’s polarised world in reminding us of who we are – or rather ought to be. Keith McVeigh left school at 16 and, after spending ten years in engineering, enrolled as a mature undergraduate student at Queens University Belfast, where, in 1996, he was awarded a PhD in philosophy. In 2003, Keith returned part-time to Queens for an MA in composition. He started performing in the late 1970s, heyday of the Belfast punk scene, and went on to play and record everything from folk, blues and metal, to serial, concrete and experimental music. For more information about Keith McVeigh, his music and writing, please visit keithmcveigh.substack.com and subscribe to his newsletter. You can subscribe to the Annotations newsletter and podcast at annotations.art.

  • The Eye of the Other

    The Eye of the Other

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Sean McAllister. Sean McAllister is one of the most distinctive British film makers working today. His multi-award-winning films for the BBC and Channel 4 TV have played all over the world. His successes include the Sundance Film Festival winning films, The Liberace Of Baghdad (2004), Japan: A Story Of Love And Hate (2008) and The Reluctant Revolutionary, and the Sheffield Jury Prize winning A Syrian Love Story (2015), which was screened in both the UK and European parliaments, was named The Guardian's #3 film of 2015 and McAllister a BAFTA nomination for outstanding debut. He is currently working on a sequel to his 2008 film Japan: A Tale of Love and Hate. "One of the most brave and powerful film makers around" – Michael Moore "The great thing about Sean's films is that he champions the characters in his documentaries, he always takes a loser and makes them a winner." - D A Pennebaker What sets Sean’s practice as a documentary filmmaker apart is the intimacy and connectedness of the relationship he manages to establish with his protagonists during the course of a film, which in turn allows him to enter and see their world through their eyes. What emerges are intricate portraits of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary struggles of various kinds. In this dialogue, we will be discussing his choice of subjects and explore his approach within the context of his own development as a documentary filmmaker. More information about Sean McAllister is available at https://seanmcallister.com, and you can subscribe to our newsletter and podcast at https://www.annotations.art.

  • The Flawed Humanity of Our Selves

    The Flawed Humanity of Our Selves

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Dougald Hine. Without a conscious commitment to a different, a more sustainable, ideally regenerative way of living – I would call it a ‘cultural revolution’, if the term didn’t carry such negative connotations – the transformation of our economies and the renewal of our democracies and societies won’t happen. Annotations, my new dialogue series addresses this issue and hence focuses, not on what people do, but on how they do it, and why. Since I deeply believe that the arts have a critically important role to play in helping us understand what a just and sustainable life and future might look like, I am focusing for this series on cultural practitioners, their strategies and practices. My first guest is Dougald Hine, the author of At Work in the Ruins: Finding Our Place in the Time of Science, Climate Change, Pandemics & All the Other Emergencies (February 2023), who together with his partner created a school called HOME in 2018. We will be discussing his practice as a writer and how all the work he does is part of a weave of activity that feeds into and grows out of writing that he wants to be doing – and look at how this ‘integrated practice’ of his informs and shapes his life. More information about Dougald Hine is available at dougald.nu, and you can subscribe to our newsletter and podcast at annotations.art.