is a working field which explores new tools for artistic research.



artistic research project / Muscat / 2017

Stal Gallery
Goethe Institute Gulf Region
Stal Gallery

What defines beauty? What lies in the eyes of the beholder? And what is considered beauty in the context of different cultures?

With the eyes of a trained architect and space strategist, I explored the cities that I was visiting, and I explored life in these cities. During my residency in Oman, I studied what citizens find attractive in the architecture of their places. Thru systematically designed city tours I developed a unique and very personal map of the respective city.

As the artist in residence of Goethe-Institute and StalGallery,  I once again went in search for a typology of architecture of the various periods in the history and development of Muscat. What structures do the Omanis of Muscat see as particularly valuable in their city? I invited artists, architects, and designers for workshops to debate beauty, desires and values.

For several days we delved into their city, moving with different means of transport or just walking along. Thus we discovered our different views on buildings and places and tried to find out why someone finds a house or place beautiful and what emotions this evokes.

Gathering the individual experiences generated a new and personal structure of the city. Everyone in our group had an individual definition for the beauty of the city. One could say that everyone had his or her very own beautiful city, with an own soul and a place of desires. The personal views on beauty of each participants was translated into an interpretation of each understanding. This is one example of the general understanding of Riham Noor who explained during the workshop that for her beauty is: Minimalism and simplicity.


The individual works of the group were also combined into a mindmap, also including my personal view on the city. The result is both a view on the city and a protocol of a process which was shown in an exhibition at StalGallery from 17 October to 2 November 2017.


True girls show

Installation + Performance, Guangzhou / China 2011

Melanie Humann
Liberia Borges Institute or Contemporary Art

janin walter melanie humann

Our concepts of reality and our longings are shaped by our cultural background and by the media around us. Media like TV and advertisements in daily life present us with a certain picture of reality and ideal life. In this kind of picture we can only find a few elements of a different culture which can fit in our culture. We find this phenomenon as much in the Western as in the Eastern culture. According to our cultural background, we develop a mental picture of our longings. This desired picture of reality is a projection of something far away, a kind of fiction. In the end, the question remains: is this picture of reality what we are really longing for? Or is it more a shadow we run for? In the very beginning of our process, we conducted interviews with 30 woman, aged 15 to 56, from Guangzhouh, Zengcheng and Shenzhen. We tried to find out what kind of picture, in terms of living space, they longed for. We developed 30 questions, which they answered, and we also asked them to draw their ideal living space. After evaluating the answers, we tried to develop a space that would come close to an average picture of their desired living situation. Through the filter of a Western view, we developed a space that only can be a vague representation of an interpretation of their mental picture.

Performance and exhibition in Observation Society in Guangzhou 12.2011

janin walter und melnie humann

observation society 2011

observation society


true girls show