Stephanie Guse 
Interdisciplinary Artist


How to connect in between disciplines?

My art is grounded in the belief of a universal energy which runs through everything: from insects to human, from human to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy. (Ana Mendieta, 1983)

As a child I loved drawing, singing and acting. Art shaped my world because I felt that it connected me to others and gave me a sense of belonging.

But when I entered the art academy I was disappointed to discover the separation of disciplines and its students. There even seemed to be a hierarchy: one art better than the other. This felt like a loss of opportunities to me.

"We need bridges to connect!", I thought and asked myself how to initiate this.

I discovered that interdisciplinarity needs two things:
1. A good reason! This means a question, vision or task that speaks deeply to people and activates their engagement.
2. A common space and language that allows a barrier free communication, to share talents and participate freely.
I started to explore this venture with my artist friend ︎︎︎Katrin Funcke at the art academy, our playing field of creativity at that time. 

We invented "Pony & Kleid", a fashion collection and public show inspired by habitats like woods, cities or mountains.
Pony & Kleid, fashion project by Katrin Funcke and Stephanie Guse, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, 1994
This was followed by "MS München 24", a filmed role play in cruise ship scenery.

MS München 24, interdisciplinary project by Katrin Funcke and Stephanie Guse, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig - Film by Wolf Bosse, 1995

Both projects required various skills like design, scenery, storytelling, illustration, filming, photography, post-production, printing, and of course students and teachers that join as actors and models. We asked student fellows of all disciplines for that and it turned out that everybody loved to share their skills for this joint purpose. The communication was mainly based on visuals. This was natural to everyone on the art campus, it became our common language.

We accomplished these projects very successfully and the public presentations were crowded by excited students and teachers of all disciplines. It raised the campus feeling, inspired acceptance, acknowledgement, friendships, and cooperation. 

Some years later I visited the ︎︎︎laboratory of my scientist sister Annika Guse who is a passionate and successful researcher of biological symbiosis. She asked me to imply arts on her team to encourage the group spirit and out-of-the box thinking because her research affords a fruitful group effort.

This was a special moment to me because unitl then I was not particularily interest

Her team was puzzled and suspicious when we asked them to take brushes and big papers to draw their research topics. But then, after two hours, the atmosphere was vibrant. Everybody had fun and was eager to contribute.

Accompanied by vital discussions we combined the pictures on the wall to share an overview. Now I was the one who was surprised. This was the moment I started to understand what biological symbiosis means and the tremendous impact it has. Not only in biology! I realised that this principle might be beneficial to other fields like living together in society, architecture or general problem solving.

Thus, I defined and implied this visualising method on a regular basis at University to help students and researchers communicating and developing their issues. I call this method ︎︎︎"Thinking Hands".

In 2022 me and my sister started an initiative called ︎︎︎"¡vamos, simbiosis!". It responds to the UN goal on healthy oceans and brings together scientists, artists and society to reconnect to the marine world and initiate a sustainable (symbiotic) life style. The pilot project took place in Águilas, a Spanish coastal town on the Mediterranean. It generated awareness, ideas and art pieces to communicate the deep bond between men and sea.

Encouraged by these experiences I envision to involve people by further projects. I believe solving world’s challenges is a matter of cooperation and provides a meaningful and happy life.

¡vamos, simbiosis!

Building a Partnership with the Sea Through the Arts and Sciences

¡vamos, simbiosis! is a project initiated by my scientist sister Annika Guse and me. It unites arts, science and society to reveal the deep connection between humanity and the sea. Following the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Develoepement we aim to create new concepts for a sustainable lifestyle in symbiotic partnership with the marine world.

The pilot project took place in Águilas, a Spanish city and climate change hotspot at the Mediterranean in 2022.
International scientists and artists worked together with local citizens and students to experience and understand ocean science and created ideas and artworks inspired by the ocean and climate change.

Learn about the approach:

Documentary by Tobias Brehmer and Axel Warnstedt, 2022

The results evolved from a stepwise process in which artists and scientists built up on each others work like in the example „Los Viejos and the Sea” (by Tanja Granzow and Michael Masula):

We call this stepwise process The Yellow Thread, a principle that visualises how interdisciplinary inspiration and contribution happens and how ideas and research are connected.

Watch the exhibition at the Biocenter of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich in May 2023:

© Photography: Fabian Gasperl, Vienna

Documentary by Tobias Brehmer and Axel Warnstedt, 2023

Think visually! Science communication applied.

Thinking Hands

Thinking Hands (TH) is a creative technique for visualising and discussing topics, research, and concepts. It’s a powerful tool for building a collective brain and tackling problems.

TH was inspired by working with artist colleagues and co-creation with ︎︎︎Katrin Funcke, ︎︎︎Krisitina Heldmann, and ︎︎︎Stefan Michaelsen.

I named and documented it as a social design method within my doctoral thesis in 2015.

Since 2014, the method was implemented with my scientist sister ︎︎︎Annika Guse in academic workshops at Heidelberg University, and lately at Ludwigs-Maximilians-University Munich.

Let’s talk about kinship! performed by the student Pauline Affatato at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, 2022 

Moreover, the results are proessionally photographed for documentation. They are transfered into a slide show or printed formate to be distributed to the group which can be used for further presentations and inspiration.

If you are interested in a guided workshop, please feel free to get in touch!

Symbiosis Studio

The Symbiosis Studio is a physical space that enables interdisciplinary exchange and work within the arts, the sciences and the public.

The concept is a co-creation with the designers ︎︎︎Andreas Bergmann and ︎︎︎Michael Lehner who designed outdoor spaces and flexible furniture to adapt to manifold needs: stages for public talks and presentations, joint painting areas with moveable displays and diverese working space levels to change perspectives. 

The studio includes diverse design and workshop formats to enable exchange:

︎︎︎Thinking Hands
collaborate drawing process to overcome disciplines

Veranda Talk
conversation between artists and scientists in a swing to connect individuals of different backgrounds

Open Studio
public talks, dance lessons, performing arts on stage, guided tours, and projects for public participation

communicate and initiate exchange with the public

Building on the so far experiences we develop further of the Symbiosis Studio formates for students, professionals and the public to connect, exchange and inspire change.

Find my photographic artwork at Singulart Gallery, Paris

Paulas Collection No1 (after Paula Modersohn Becker „Selbstbildnis zum 6. Hochzeitstag”, 1905/06), 180 x 240 cm, Photography on Alu-Dibond, 2017 
Pax (Peace) - Professional Chillout, 40 x 22 cm, Photography on Alu-Dibond, 2019 


Latinovic, V.: Danube Dialogues, Festival of Contemporary Art, Novi Sad, 2015, Seiten 37, 38, 42 (ISBN 978-86-89277-20-3)

Guse, S. et al.: IDOL+, Prähistorische und zeitgenössische Frauenbilder, GEDOK München (Hrsg.), 2014, Seite 11 f.

Kalt, D.: Schein und Sein, Die künstlerische Arbeit von Stephanie Guse ..., in: Schaufenster, Beilage zur Tageszeitung Die Presse, Styria Media Group, Wien, 2010, Seite 18–20

Neumüller, M.: Monat der Fotografie Wien 2008, Vladimir und Estragon (Hrsg.), Fotohof Edition, Wien, 2008, Seite 102 f. (ISBN 978-3-902675-11-8)

Hermel, E., Roth, D., Hinrichs, S., Gödde, A., von Wedemeyer, A., Stücke, A., Cohen, B., Guse, S., Becker, M., Guntzel, S., Scheibe, J., Tekaat, R., Wolff, N.: paulaskinder: Paula Modersohn-Becker im Blick zeitgenössischer Kunstproduktion, Kultur- und Bildungsverein Ostertor (KuBo) (Hrsg.), 2007, Seite 32 f. (ISBN 3-936 951-09-8)

Ahr, K., et al.: Erblätterte Identitäten: Mode – Kunst –Zeitschrift, Ahr, K., Holschbach, S., Krause-Wahl, A. (Hrsg.), Jonas Verlag, 2007, Seite 144 f. (ISBN 978-3-89445-376-3)

Claus, E., Guse, S., Iwan, A., Rasche, S., Reiß, B.: best before …, 2007, Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg (Hrsg.), 2007

Prahl, P.: Starring Stephanie Guse, Galerie Mchaela Stock (Hrsg.), 2008

Obernosterer, B.: best before …, 2009, Stadtgalerie Klagenfurt (Hrsg.), 2009

Funcke, K., Guse, S., Heldmann, K., Helmbold, U., Hollstein, S., Michaelsen, S.: Illustrationen, in: Mut & Anmut, Frauen in Brandenburg-Preußen, im Rahmen des Themenjahres 2010 von „Kulturland Brandenburg“, Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf (Hrsg.), 2010, Seite 34–47

Bunzel, W., Bettine von Arnim: Die Welt umwälzen, Freies Deutsches Hochstift/Frankfurter Goethe-Haus, (Hrsg.), Frankfurt am Main, 2009, Seite 4, 39, 123, (ISBN-13: 978-3-9811109-7-5)

Drühl, S.: Stephanie Guse, Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg (Hrsg.), 2004

Sundermeier, J.: MS München 24 – Hochseegefühle, Die Reiselektüre als Inspiration zum Spiel, (illustriert von Katrin Funcke), Braunschweig University of Arts (Hrsg.), 1995

Funcke, K., Guse, S.: MS München 24, in: Designbuch, Braunschweig University of Arts (Hrsg.), 1997, 85 f. (ISBN 3-930292-04-1)