top of page

Gestural Philosophy

Küsntlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria.

2022 - 2023

The Fellowship Program for Art and Theory 2022-23 at the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen explores a variety of relevant issues for today – without directly addressing current events. A loose thematic thread that could be attributed to all the projects is the examination of the tension between the private and the public. For example, in the work of the pedagogue Fernand Deligny, whose practice Luis Guerra proposes to read as a process of artistic knowledge production, as “gestural philosophy”; in Bettina Knaup‘s research on “common wastes,” which examines residencies, these art institutions of the “semi-private,” and waste infrastructures (such as landfills or recycling plants) in terms of relationships and processes of exchange; in Alice Sarmiento’s exploration of online memes in social media in the Philippines after the outbreak of COVID-19 – in a country where the concept of “public” has no spatial realization; or in Endi Tupja‘s artistic investigation of bathroom ecologies associated with menstruation in communist Albania.


My project Gestural Philosophy focused on the work of the French pedagogue Fernand Deligny (1913–1996). Deligny’s work has been approached from three disciplinary areas in France and abroad: philosophy, pedagogy, and social work. In each of them, art in its various manifestations has only been considered as a tool for exploration and representation, but not as the direct means of research. My research seeks to compose a methodological framework based on practice and on the material condition that sustains and characterizes Deligny’s archive, to expose and unfold his practice’s important features as a procedure of artistic knowledge.

The language Deligny produced over the years was sufficiently plastic, both in its fragmentation and elusiveness, to materialize in novels, poems, theoretical essays, letters, drawings, films, actions, and meetings. It seems to me that Deligny’s entire project embodies the state of the undomiciled, in the sense of a practice based on a constant movement of avoidance.


Deligny avoids the norms that we usually presuppose to give a form to something. In his view we must start from an attitude of abandonment, which is then prolonged by promoting non-disciplinary solidarities. This means in his case: by abandoning the university, then Armentières, and then La Borde, by running away, by turning away, by drifting. This will mark his gestural philosophy.


A gestural philosophy is brought about through minor gestures, becoming present through different materials; it happens in the act of forming a procedure that avoids any fixation.



Lectures 2022-23



Building Spaces for Solidary Encounters: Bodies, Technologies and Performativity

Luis GUERRA (Fellow) in conversation with Citlali HERNÁNDEZ (visual artist and designer).

In Building Spaces for Solidary Encounters: Bodies, Technologies and Performativity, Citlali HERNÁNDEZ will present her artistic research, in particular her latest work produced during her research residency at Hangar Barcelona. After the presentation, Luis GUERRA and Hernández will discuss topics related to both Hernández’s practice and the conceptual framework of Guerra’s Gestural Philosophy.
At the center of the event will be an exploration of questions that cultural practitioners face in a world disrupted by industrial technologies. How can we find ways and manners to interrupt the resulting disruption of the bodily experience? Together they will think about the potential of art practices to create spaces for solidarity beyond the hegemonic politics of constant emergency. Perhaps it is time to build epistemologies of collaboration beyond and “against crisis epistemology” (Whyte, 2021: 84)?

Citlali Hernández (1986, México City), is an artist who focuses on exploring how social and technological codes are inscribed in the way of inhabiting the body within the framework of electronic and digital arts. From a transdisciplinary perspective, she seeks to experience the materialities of performance and its entanglements with wires, pixels, and circuits to think of the body as a field of potentialities.
Citlali Hernández is currently working on her doctoral thesis at BAU Design and Arts University Center Barcelona, Spain, with the topic Body, Technology and Performativity: The Body in the Practices of New Media Art. She is also a University-level teacher on issues related to product design, digital manufacturing, and applied interaction. She is an active collaborator in Matics Barcelona (Digital Art Association) and artist-in-residence, together with Núria Nia, at with the project Cuerpo Satelital, supported by the Artistic Research Grant Fundación Banco Sabadell-Hangar.


Paradoxes of the Apparatus

Seminar with Mika ELO (professor of artistic research) and Luis GUERRA (Fellow)

The two-day seminar Paradoxes of the Apparatus is part of Luis Guerra’s Gestural Philosophy research and specifically engages with the complex relational status between artistic research and scientific public debate. It will also address the condition of the arts as sensible knowledge holder and the openness of their materialities in contemporary societies:

“In general terms, we can say that ‘art’ is a name for processes and articulations that take their material-discursive embeddedness seriously and commit themselves to developing a heightened sensitivity towards their own constraints and degrees of freedom within them. Artistic work, in other words, has tensional relation to presentation, since presentation itself is the medium through which the work proceeds and unfolds, and this requires appropriate ‘touch’. This ‘touch’ or sensitivity (which has physical, ideational and social aspects to it) cannot be reduced to a technical skill. It involves both epistemic impetus and aesthetic intensity, it is marked by a ‘pathic moment’, which means that it touches upon the limits of knowability.” (Elo, 2021: 23)

Paradoxes of the Apparatus consists of a two days seminar (28 March and 29 March) of 2-3 hours per day. On the first day, Luis GUERRA and his guest Mika ELO will unfold the conceptual tools and frameworks of the seminar. The second day proceeds with an in-depth discussion of the topic and participants are invited to share their related ideas, questions and writings. The seminar is open to academics, students, theoreticians, artists, activists and the general public interested in artistic research, curatorial studies, performativity, technology and philosophy.

28 March 2023, 18.00 – 21.00
29 March 2023, 9.30 – 12.00

Mika Elo is a Professor of artistic research at the University of the Arts Helsinki. His research interests include photographic media theory, philosophical media theory, and epistemology of artistic research. He participates in these discussions as curator, visual artist and researcher. In 2018–2019 he led the Research Pavilion #3 project realized in Helsinki and Venice in the context of the 58th Venice Biennale. From 2009–2011 he worked on the research project Figures of Touch. From 2012-2013 he co-curated the Finnish exhibition Falling Trees at the 55th Venice Biennale. Currently, he is Principal Investigator of one of the research projects in the consortium Post-digital Epistemologies of the Photographic Image. He has also been a member of the editorial boards of RUUKKU (2012– ), tiede&edistys (2010–2020), and JAR (2010–2019). His most recent curatorial work was the exhibition Paradoxes of Photography (2022) at The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki.


Prospecting Paths to Surmount Formative Antinomies of the Present

An exhibition of the Büchsenhausen Fellowship Program for Art and Theory 2022–23 | curated by Andrei Siclodi | with:

Luis Guerra

Bettina Knaup with contributions by Isabel Peterhans and Benjamin Zanon
Alice Sarmiento with Adam David and Josel Nicolas, with contributions by Mac Arboleda and Khalil Verzosa

Endi Tupja

The participants of the Fellowship Program 2022-23 present works and projects developed in Büchsenhausen that, with the involvement of other artists and experts, point to possible ways of understanding and surmounting formative antinomies of the present. The contributions address gestural performativity for interpreting the world, monumentality and memetic communication in dictatorial regime contexts and beyond, waste as a common good but also capitalist ‘cultural heritage’, and specific historical and geographical spaces through connecting political oppression and trauma with menstrual care.

My work for the exhibition is titled:

La trace, le geste et la mémoire. Pieces of a gestural philosophy

 It consists of a small number of traced gestural memories that will participate in a future book on gestural philosophy. They have been traced both in the place and through my trips, after conversations, or during hours of contemplative practice within the studio. I will present a series of drawings forming a mind map of the research at the exhibition. They are traces of a path in progress. Here you can find some images and texts of the process and exhibition:

bottom of page