Antarctica

A Symposium on Alienation
Theory/Performance
 
A Symposium on Alienation
Thu04.
Sat06. 
Oct
Kunsthalle Wien, TQW Halle G, TQW Studios

In a sketch for a film, Michelangelo Antonioni wrote: “The Antarctic glaciers are moving in our direction at a rate of three millimeters per year. Calculate when they’ll reach us. Anticipate, in a film, what will happen.” Anyone who knows Antonioni can guess what such a film would have been about; in the image of the polar desert, metaphorically condensed—a diagnosis as old as the modern age: alienation. Today, climate research shows that an ice age is not to be expected. The polar ice caps do not expand, but shrink. And beyond the climatic, the signs point to a significant “warming”: Affectivity and creativity have superseded the primacy of “bourgeois coldness” (Adorno). Authenticity is the new cool. Has the diagnosis of alienation consequently become outdated?

As a prelude to the exhibition Antarctica. An Exhibition on Alienation at Kunsthalle Wien, Tanzquartier Wien and Kunsthalle Wien organize a symposium on this term. The symposium aims to discuss and examine the (im/)plausibility of the concept of “alienation” today, and to engender a critical re-reading, with a view to its genealogy as well as its applicability to present-day political and aesthetic phenomena.

With Angela Dimitrakaki, Michael Hirsch, Nina Power, Andreas Rumpfhuber, Kerstin Stakemeier, Marina Vishmidt

On Thursday and Friday, Antonia Baehr, Latifa Laâbissi and Nadia Lauro will present the performance Consul and Meshie within the framework of the symposium. The artist Claudia Bosse will conduct a lab on On aesthetic strategies of defamiliarisation, and present the outcome together with the participants on Saturday at TQW Studios.

 

Admission:
Thu/Fri € 5
Sat € 2
3-Day-Pass € 10

Tickets are available at Kunsthalle Wien. Free admission with TQW Card Gold and Kunsthalle Wien Annual Ticket.

 
Thu04. 
Oct
18.00–21.30/
Kunsthalle Wien

Antonia Baehr, Latifa Laâbissi & Nadia Lauro

Consul and Meshie

Dance & Performance

“Monkeys and apes have a privileged relation to nature and culture for western people: simians occupy the border zones between those potent mythic poles. In the border zones, love and knowledge are richly ambiguous and productive of meanings.” — Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, 1989

Apes, at least great apes are among the “almost human” animals. This “almost” has turned them into a surface onto which humans project their ideas of what it means to be human. At the beginning of the 20th century the chimpanzees Consul and Meshie lived among humans as humans and came to consider themselves human. Antonia Baehr and Latifa Laâbissi adopt their own apish identities – with no guarantee for historical accuracy. Hairy and morally free, insolent and shameless, these two human monkeys occupy Nadio Lauro’s visual installation, which is roughly and casually nested away from the stage in quiet little corners of theatres and museums. From two leather limousine seats, whose furry innards gradually spread into the room, Consul Baehr and Meshie Laâbissi exhibit themselves for 3 1/2 hours at a time while the audience is free to come and go. A human being is an ape for human beings. Or: two human figures act as apes that act as humans for humans. They lose control and regain it by training each other. They zealously learn know-hows and don’t-know-hows. They sleep and lapse into apathy. They cannibalize poses, iconic dances, and stitch feminist slogans. Consul and Meshie represent hybrid figures that question the violence of assignations and make a mess in the categories of nature/culture, man/woman, and self/other.

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19.00/
TQW Halle G

Nina Power

Who is the Subject of Alienation?

Theory

Can we still talk about alienation today? Outlining theories of post-, trans- and anti-humanism, this talk attempts to defend the usefulness of a concept of alienation, while simultaneously acknowledging the distance between us and Feuerbach and Marx’s nineteenth century use of the term.

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Fri05. 
Oct
17.00–21.00/
TQW Halle G

Michael Hirsch / Andreas Rumpfhuber

Work and Alienation

Theory

Michael Hirsch: Emancipatory Alienation Critique. Reflections From the Perspective of a Humanist-Feminist Neo-Marxism

The lecture questions the relevance of the concept of alienation today. The intention is both socio-philosophical and political. First classical notions of alienation will be sketched out departing from the early writings of Marx. In a second step, positions of twentieth century Neo-Marxism (Marcuse and Adorno) will be discussed. In conclusion the supposed abolition of alienation in contemporary labour regimes will be addressed.


Andreas Rumpfhuber: 
The Incorporation of Dissent. Office Landscaping and its Contemporary Legacy

Currently we witness a revival of contemporary interpretations and variations of office-landscaping: Be it SANAA’s literal landscape for the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, be it Frank Gehry’s Facebook open plan office in Paolo Alto/California, USA, or OMA’s Springer Campus design in Berlin, to name just a few, most prominent examples. This new wave of office landscape-like projects makes it worth revisiting the initial concept of “Bürolandschaft”. Which other vision of work does it expose to the diagnosis of alienated labour?

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18.00–21.30/
Kunsthalle Wien

Antonia Baehr, Latifa Laâbissi & Nadia Lauro

Consul and Meshie

Dance & Performance

“Monkeys and apes have a privileged relation to nature and culture for western people: simians occupy the border zones between those potent mythic poles. In the border zones, love and knowledge are richly ambiguous and productive of meanings.” — Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, 1989

Apes, at least great apes are among the “almost human” animals. This “almost” has turned them into a surface onto which humans project their ideas of what it means to be human. At the beginning of the 20th century the chimpanzees Consul and Meshie lived among humans as humans and came to consider themselves human. Antonia Baehr and Latifa Laâbissi adopt their own apish identities – with no guarantee for historical accuracy. Hairy and morally free, insolent and shameless, these two human monkeys occupy Nadio Lauro’s visual installation, which is roughly and casually nested away from the stage in quiet little corners of theatres and museums. From two leather limousine seats, whose furry innards gradually spread into the room, Consul Baehr and Meshie Laâbissi exhibit themselves for 3 1/2 hours at a time while the audience is free to come and go. A human being is an ape for human beings. Or: two human figures act as apes that act as humans for humans. They lose control and regain it by training each other. They zealously learn know-hows and don’t-know-hows. They sleep and lapse into apathy. They cannibalize poses, iconic dances, and stitch feminist slogans. Consul and Meshie represent hybrid figures that question the violence of assignations and make a mess in the categories of nature/culture, man/woman, and self/other.

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Sat06. 
Oct
15.00/
TQW Studios

Claudia Bosse

each ought to move away from himself. otherwise the element of terror necessary to all recognition is lacking*

Theory

On 6 October, Claudia Bosse and the participants present the results of the lab each ought to move away from himself. otherwise the element of terror necessary to all recognition is lacking*. on aesthetic strategies of defamiliarisation, which is held from 2 to 6 October.

The lab opens up a space between artists and thinkers on artistic methods of defamiliarisation. Defamiliarisation as a strategy of shifting perspectives and constellations by means of specific aesthetic practices. Defamiliarisation as a (trans)acting recollection of phenomena, social realities or norms concerning art, politics, the body, the economy, knowledge, society. Defamiliarisation versus alienation: at the same time, we negotiated in the lab our roles as artists vis-à-vis institutions and politics, their modes of operation, their utilisation logics, their value creation.

*Bertolt Brecht

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17.00–21.00/
TQW Halle G

Marina Vishmidt / Kerstin Stakemeier / Angela Dimitrakaki

Beyond Alienation

Theory

Marina Vishmidt: Relatable Alienation – The Logic and History of an Idea

This presentation will intervene on the hypothesis that the role of the artist is distinguished by unalienated labour. This will proceed in three stages and a coda: 1. Outlining the difference between alienation and objectification; 2. What is alienated and what is not alienated about artistic labour?; 3. What is the role of exceptionality in the rule of the capitalist form of value more generally?


Kerstin Stakemeier: 
The Aesthetic Properties of Alienation

In (aesthetic) theories of the twentieth century alienation is thought of as the modern subject’s original sin: it signifies it’s separation from the world it capitalized. But alienation is much more than that: our alienation is our self-property. Kerstin Stakemeier investigates historical and contemporary lineages of aesthetic praxis which expose this self-property to dynamisms of self-expropriation, treating alienation not so much as an original sin but rather as a constitutive privilege.


Angela Dimitrakaki: 
Left with TINA – Alienation and Anti-communism

A number of movements and struggles take as the crux of their politics an “anti” stance, the most visible perhaps among them figured and configured as “anti-capitalism”; contemporary struggles on the left often self-identify as anti-capitalist. This paper will seek to problematise the ideological space (and time) of this “anti” stance by linking it to capitalism’s most successful ideological campaign, itself headed by another“anti”: anti-communism.

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