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Marla Heid

Doctoral Researcher A05

Pronouns: she/her

CRC 1512 Intervening Arts
Grunewaldstraße 34
12165 Berlin

Since 2023 doctoral researcher at the CRC Intervening Arts at Freie Universität Berlin

Since 2022 Phd candidate at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna

2020-2022 Of Public Interest, Post-Master, Royal Institute of Arts, Stockholm 

2019-2020 Art and Politics, Master of Arts, Goldsmiths, University of London 

2017-2018 CSC-Scholarship, Department of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing 

2015-2019 Art Theory and Cultural Studies, Bachelor of Arts, Technische Universität, Berlin 

Monuments distinctly separate themselves from other artworks in public space through a designated function. Essentially, their role is to shape and perpetuate the collective memory of a society. They are tasked with not only serving as reminders but also contributing to the perception of power. This authoritative impression is particularly evident in their enduring continuity. The solid and unwavering presence of these objects is further emphasized by their materiality and an enlarged scale—materials like granite, marble, bronze, and lead ensure the seemingly eternal existence of these larger-than-life statues.

In the wake of postcolonial actions, the future of controversial monuments of historical figures and their permanent representation in public spaces triggers political debates about preservation, removal, and the method of artistic contextualization of these visual representations.

Through artistic contextualization, the monument, as an already existing object, becomes the material of artistic creation and simultaneously an intervention in public space. This form of artistic appropriation as a means of production and interpretation explores how public space can become a site for discourse and reflection on history. In what confrontational forms can art encounter history? How can we acknowledge the emotional and nationalist role that monuments often play while advocating for an inclusive reckoning with history? What correlations exist between considering artistic intervention as a dynamic, temporary contribution in public space, as opposed to the monument as a permanent, static institution? What does this form of artistic appropriation of existing objects in public space mean for the artistic discourse?

My research critically engages with the method of artistic contextualization of public artworks, predominantly monuments, and places them as interventions in public space within an art-historical and political context. To achieve this, artistic proposals for the contextualization of monuments are analyzed, and functional as well as innovative ways to rethink and historicize the past are discussed.

Collaborative World Building. Socially Engaged Art and Art Education.
Lecture & Discussion: Contextualizing Controversy

Organized by the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Teachers College at Columbia University, New York and the Visual Studies Program at Montclair State University, New Jersey.