Born in East Germany Claudia Mannigel is an artist-researcher, curator and educator currently based in Berlin. She earned her M.A in Contemporary Art and New Media from Université Paris 8 (2009). For her master’s thesis she investigated the aesthetic experience of 20th and 21st century process-oriented, contextual and relational art practices by pointing towards a consequence that modern (abstract) theoretical discourse poses on aesthetic experience: a gap between artist, artwork, and observer.
Mannigel’s artistic practice spans more than 10 years, primarily exploring non-visual modalities via an examination of the influence of the physical and socio-cultural dynamics of space on body perception and affect through site-specific interventions, such as Occupation Sonore (Montreal, 2007) Hotel California (The Hague, 2010) and tactile sound installations, such as Internal Earthquake (Berlin, 2014).
In addition Mannigel has been developing curatorial projects that foster discussions on art processes, presentation formats, and interdisciplinary collaborations, such as the Think Tank (Montreal, 2007) and Think&Action Tank (Berlin, 2014-2015) as well as creating non-visual sensory experiences in experimental exhibition settings. In the latter sense, she has co-curated the site-specific non-visual exhibition The Ability to Fail in Public (Berlin, 2014)—an attempt to explore the role of failure in creative processes through sound installations. Furthermore, Mannigel developed and led public workshops while working within the educational department of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal, 2011-2013).
Her current research investigates the aesthetics and perception-cognition of smell and taste within the framework of art and curatorial projects. Her passion for smell led her to co-found the Smell Lab (Berlin, July-Dec 2015) and to organize the Smell Lab reading group (Berlin, Oct-Dec 2015) which explored smell through various angles such as art history, aesthetics, curating, and sociology. She has recently co-created the olfactory performance Love Sweat Love, which explored the differences between the sexes in regards to associations, emotions and odor identification of body sweat and currently organizes the Sensory Culture Club reading group.
In Mannigel’s curatorial work she questions the hierarchy of the five senses and in particular the Western world’s disproportionate emphasis on sight, which inhibits multi-sensory perception. By shifting from a mono-sensory, visual approach to curating and experiencing art to one that encompasses touch, hearing, smell, and taste, Mannigel researches and contributes to the new field of sensory curating of exhibitions and public programs.
In her art practice Mannigel engages critically with social territories and their transformation. Exploring local socio-economic systems and their boundaries, projects create space for questioning from within. Through sensually-oriented investigations of everyday life and urban public spaces, her projects activate close bonds with her local surroundings. Her artistic research practice is deeply inspired by embodied practices and explores a variety of intuitive approaches to activate perceptual and social shifts at the level of shared experience(s).