In 2013, Ilit Azoulay was awarded a photography residency at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Azoulay spent 6 months living on-site at the Kunst-Werke (KW), conducting visual and archival research and collecting objects and artifacts from buildings across Germany. Shifting Degrees of Certainty is the outcome of this residency, and is a great illustration of Azoulay's time in Berlin and of her artistic investigation of artifacts, architecture, and archaeology.
Shifting Degrees of Certainty consists of 85 color photographs that are custom cut and framed, which are installed in a map-like composition. This map serves as a visual inventory of the sites and objects Azoulay encountered throughout her research and is the basis for the large-scale works such as Seventh Option which is presented in this booth.
Each photograph in Shifting Degrees of Certainty is numbered to correspond with an audio guide that offers insight to each of its individual images—to each object, building, and fragment that Azoulay photographed; as well as to the extensive research she conducted in the attempt to find the origin of each object. In the audio guide you will hear the results of this research in which the artist corresponded with monks, squatters, taxidermy experts, botanists, construction workers and lawyers, among others.
Shifting Degrees of Certainty is further divided into 7 zones. Each zone represents a fraction of the entire 85-piece map. On view here are 3 of the Zones (each is labeled by a letter; these 3 zones are entitled D, E, & F).
Zone D is comprised of 7 individual framed photographs—including a skull, a metal dish, and a lamppost.
Zone E and Zone F are installed here together; combined, these two zones are 21 separate images (16 images and 5 images each, respectively). Zone E features a fire extinguisher, a pile of gravel, stadium seats, and an engraved plaque. Zone F features a fossil, windows, and a lion-esque stone water fountain.
Seventh Option is the large panoramic photograph you see here that covers two walls; though it’s a single print, it can be installed with a fold.
Please note that this large photograph is in fact connected very intimately to the singular images in Zone D, Zone E, Zone F—you can search for the individual components (the skull, the fossil, the fire-extinguisher etc.) in this larger, more convoluted, composition. In searching out and finding these elements, consider Azoulay’s role as a photographer and researcher: as she sought to find context for these pieces of history, the contemporary viewer is left questioning their legitimacy, their integrity, and ultimately, their real legacy.