Dorothée Elisa Baumann is an artist based in Switzerland. Her work has been shown in collective exhibitions such as the Hayward Gallery London, Centre d'art contemporain Walter Benjamin France, Centre Pasquart photoforum, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Noorderlicht Festival Holland. She had major solo shows in CPG (2012) and Centre Pasquart (2018) and a monograph published by Editions CPG/Les presses du reel (2017). Dorothée was a finalist for the Critique Prize Voies Off France (2012) and Young Swiss Talent. Most recently she received two grants from the Swiss National Research Foundation (2019-2021) to work on the project Unlearning for the Commons.

Artist Statement (March 2023): I am currently reflecting on western culture nature separation. I am creating artwork around collaboration and communication with the living and non-human actors.

More about Dorothée Elisa Baumann:


Ph.D. Project:

Unlearning for The Commons

This dissertation aims to make an innovative contribution to the field of collaborative, integrative research following Indigenous Studies to think critically about a decolonial approach within Western knowledge production, collectively. The title Unlearning for the Commons suggests that some ideas of the Indigenous Studies resonate within critical debates about the commons within economic and environmental anthropological studies.

The dissertation describes a process of decolonization described as unlearning in three phases: The first phase (2019-2020) interrogated (post-)colonial systemic and structural protocols in popular photography. Subsequently, in a second phase (2021-2022) a collaborative, inclusive research approach for research with Native Americans and subaltern communities (African American) in the United States was developed. The research findings of the second phase indicated that the medium of photography tends to be viewed as one with individualistic characteristics, while aesthetic forms of the collective are central to Native American culture. The upcoming third phase (2023-2025) follows the advice of Indigenous Studies to engage in a collaborative and collective project with Indigenous peoples to deepen the core of Indigenous critique.

A future collaboration, the Sorry Book Project, will begin in May 2023. The project is an official partnership with AICH, the American Indian Community House in New York City. The Sorry Book 1 was first initiated in 1997 by the ANTAR Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation and will be adapted for the U.S. with their permission. It addresses the issues of political reconciliation and historical intergenerational trauma due to stolen generations of First Nation/Native American Peoples. These interrelated urgent issues can be collectively referred to as "Resilience Grabbing" and are the consequences of a neoliberal agenda. (Haller, 2019).

The Sorry Book Project allows social co-experimentation with aesthetics practices where social sciences reaches its limits. One of the focuses is to co-experiment and reflect on experience and methods collectively. In addition, the insights are self-critically and collectively situated in Western practice and knowledge production - in the social sciences, ecological anthropology, and the arts.

[1] The Sorry Book Campaign (1997) was initiated by ANTAR Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation and is represented by AIATSIS Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Perceptions of the environment, collaborative shared research, decolonialism