Century of the Artist


Sunday, October 8th, 2017
2 - 7 pm

Registration required, limited number of participants
Children welcome
Workshop language: English

Project studio at Flutgraben e.V. (signs will be put up)
Am Flutgraben 3, Berlin

Dear colleagues, friends and acquaintances,

we, Sönke Hallmann and Inga Zimprich, are glad to invite you to participate in the Workshop Century of the Artist on Sunday October 8th, 2 – 7 pm at the project studio at Flutgraben, Berlin.

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 privilege, and class privilege in particular. Most people stem from white well educated middle class backgrounds and can rely on safe economic backdrops when they choose to pursue artistic careers.

We develop Century of the Artist, consisting of an enquiry and this workshop, 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 mastering specific forms for representing political struggle and desire exemplarily for society. In Century of the Artist we will jointly look at the role class plays in our life and work as artists, being aware that class is just one category of privilege and discrimination which intersects with others.

In the workshop Century of the Artist we would like to make space to unravel our own biographies, 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 further 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 forms of leading our lives politically are available to us.

Previous to the workshop we have issued a questionnaire and asked fellow cultural workers to share memories, autobiographical notes and reflections with us (you find the enquiry here). We will further work with excerpts from Didier Eribons book Return to Reims in which the theorist reflects amongst others on the active process of exiling from his working class background in order to become an academic. During the workshop we will use writing exercises, rounds and group work methods to engage with these materials. We aim to find subjective narrative moments in which we can trace class and class privilege in our artistic practices. By questioning ourselves along autobiographic notes we aim to open up space for collective reflection.
No previous knowledge or reading is required.

Century of the Artist is 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.

Enquiry, responses, workshop instructions and workshop outcome of Century of the Artist will be edited towards a manual, which will be printed as a poster in October 2017. The printing of the poster will be financed by the German Cultural Center in Iasi. The poster will be available for download at www.think-tank.nl/centuryoftheartist