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Thinking Tools

The research group Thinking Tools focuses on 'the photographic'. We understand the photographic as a collective name for all possible implications arising from the introduction of a mechanically and automatically operating device in the production process of images. As a research group, we want to focus specifically on the radical upheaval the relationship between maker and image, between artist and artwork has undergone. 

One thing about a device is that, in the words of Vilém Flusser, it operates as a 'black box'. Although the input and the output of the system are known, what happens inside is inaccessible and therefore incomprehensible. The device thwarts and acts as an idiosyncratic partner in the production of an image.
Assigning an active role to the device in the production process means that the maker puts himself out of the way. This creates a situation in which he can be surprised by what the device adds to his intentions as a maker. It is a moment when the quirkiness of chemical processes or the stubbornness of materials sends the manufacturing process in a different, unforeseen direction.

Thinking Tools invites researchers and artists to explore the artistic potential of that moment of failure. Because the dependence on a device is expressed in a wide range of art practices (from experimental photography and film to 3D printing), the research group is open to any form of experimental work in which the relationship between image, maker and device is under tension. In the following years we mainly want to support projects that play out the maker and device against each other in an unexpected or yet unknown way.

Residencies@thinkingtools: Each academic year, the research group Thinking Tools will invite two artist-researchers for an intense, short-term residency of three months.

Focus: Impact of digital technology on contemporary observation, imagination and imagery

Team: Steven Humblet (chairman), Inge Henneman (chairwoman), Bert Danckaert, Geert Goiris, Charlotte Lybeer, Stefan Vanthuyne, Anton Cotteleer

Contact: Steven Humblet -