Century of the Artist

In Century of the Artist we would like to subjectively approach the particular role contemporary artists maintain in our societies when it comes to managing political desires. Exemplary for the whole of society they are given the privilege of self-expression, self-realisation, high visual literacy, critical reflexivity and cross-disciplinary inquiry. Performing this societal role often goes hand in hand with class privilege. Most people stem from highly educated middle class backgrounds and can rely on safe economic backdrops when they choose to pursue artistic careers.

We develop the enquiry and workshop Century of the Artist loosely referring to the considerations of the TV-series Century of the Self by Adam Curtis (2002). Characterizing the influence of major psychoanalysts in post WWII democracies of the West, the documentary questions in how far the techniques of psychoanalyses got co-opted in advertisement, public relations and consumerism in order to control the subconscious desires of the masses. In a similar manner we would like to look at the particular role of the contemporary artist when it comes to acquiring specific forms for representing political struggle and desire exemplarily for society.


In Century of the Artist we would like to unravel our own biographies, family backgrounds, socio-cultural context and upbringing as well as adolescent desires and inherent promises of privilege and prestige implied in the role of the artist. We would like to inquire what it actually is that we learned implicitly in our education and in how far our refined artistic literacy impacts on the way political desire is expressed in our work. Lastly we would like to question what concrete alternative forms of leading our lives politically are available to us.

We chose for the format of enquiry and workshop in order to deal with our own lives, own conscious and unconscious needs, political and economic positions and interests, and related sensations as working material. From the responses we gather we will work towards methods and exercises that we will try out in the workshop Century of the Artist to take place either on September 30th/October 1st or October 7th/8th in Berlin.


Enquiry, responses, workshop instructions and workshop outcome will be edited towards a manual, which will be presented as part of the project "The Glitter(y) and the Misery of the European Middle Classes", curated by Nebojsa Milikic, Livia Pancu and Florin Bobu at Tranzit.ro in Iasi, Romania, in October 2017.


Century of the Artist Workshop
Sunday, October 8th, 2017 2 - 7 pm
Registration required, limited number of participants
Project studio at Flutgraben e.V. (signs will be put up)
Am Flutgraben 3, Berlin

The enquiry has been sent to approximately twenty cultural workers previous to the workshop. You find the questions here. You are welcome to email your responses to us.

We present the workshop outcome on October 28th at Tranzit, Iasi, Romania.

Century of the Artist is developed by Sönke Hallmann and Inga Zimprich.

The Glitter(y) and the Misery of the European Middle Classes is curated by Nebojsa Milikic, Livia Pancu and Florin Bobu.

We would like to thank the German Cultural Center in Iasi for financing the printing of the project's poster.