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Peter Benz




Student Project including a Field Trip to the USA in March 2004

In a second intercultural project – similar to the Nihon-series – I again wanted to explore the potential of visual arts based communication, this time with the USA. Throughout October 2003 to March 2004, I spent a term with a group of 15 students to prepare a study trip , then travelled to the US from 15 to 31 March 2004.

In a lecture series, through intensive research work, through a weekly movie-show as well as through several other events over the course of one term a group of 15 students and I found out as much as possible about the concurrent state of the German-American relationship. We tried to understand the political, economical and cultural facts, and the ambiguous public feelings about the other.

After that we travelled to the States verifying our findings in an extensive tour programme in New York City and Pittsburgh. We got to know the art and media scene of these cities, we visited different universities, we met professionals and artists, made friends and got insight into American everyday life. At the same time, we did presentations of ourselves and participated in a one-week workshop with art students from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, which resulted in an exhibition with our work at Future Tenant Gallery in Pittsburgh.

After our return home, the material we collected during the trip became – in a second project phase – the basis for an exhibition about America and our relationship with it as we had experienced it.

The DAF-project resulted in two exhibitions: +49+1 and DAF.

Some travel impressions from the US: