Amalia Ulman: Privilege

Do it yourself. Deskilling and Reskilling in the Digital Techno Age.
Ringvorlesung Institut für Kunstkritik

Amalia Ulman: Privilege
Dienstag, 17. Januar 2017, 19 Uhr, Aula

AGENDA is Amalia Ulman’s latest staged lecture.

Comprised of powerpoint presentation, live performance and sound effects it exposes the final narrative of the online performance Privilege and it’s two subsequent shows Labour Dance (Arcadia_Missa, London) and Reputation (New Galerie, Paris).

In AGENDA Ulman uses poetic language to narrate self experimentation with female hormones and the effects of excess estrogen in a body trapped between the carpeted floors and ceiling tiles of her DTLA office - a tight structure of vertical structures, linearity and clocks. This dreamlike storyline later develops into a series of cons and scams, economies of appearances and the rise and fall of Bob The Pigeon, an ode to a working class hero which finishes with pessimistic spiritual notes that the author recognizes as selfish, recognizing the entitlement of her nihilism, escapism and ability to complain to carry its own privilege—a position of criticality not accessible to all.

Amalia Ulman is an airport-based artist with an office in Downtown LA. Born in Argentina and raised in Spain, she studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London. Her works are primarily voiced in the first person, often blurring the distinction between the artist and object of study. Ulman explores the relationship between consumerism and identity, class imitation and social deception, altruism and empathy.

Selected artworks include video essays like Annals of Private History (2015, Frieze Projects); and performances such as Excellences & Perfections archived by Rhizome the New Museum (New York) and exhibited at the Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery (London). Recent artworks include the performance Privilege and its three subsequent solo shows: Labour Dance (Arcadia_Missa, London), Reputation (New Galerie, Paris) and Dignity (James Fuentes, New York).

Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt.


Ringvorlesung Program:

Winter semester 2016/2017:
Julia Gelshorn (13. Dezember)
Rachel Haidu (14. Dezember)
Amalia Ulman (17. Januar)
John Roberts (18. Januar)

Summer semester 2016:
Lucy McKenzie (12. April)
Benjamin Buchloh (22. Juni)
Beatrice von Bismarck (23. Juni)

This lecture-series (conceptualized by Isabelle Graw) revolves around the question of artistic skills in a digital world. What do they actually consist of? While it always mattered how an artist performs herself since the Modern Age, it seems that the „Auftritt des Künstlers“ (Beatrice von Bismarck), namely, her public staging of herself, has become increasingly important in a Media Society. Has the modeling of her „personality“ turned into a skill that is required from her? Or should one rather argue that artistic practices still represent other competences, attitudes and ways of life that question the ideal of an entrepreneurial self? What have traditional skills been replaced by?

It seems that the deskilling of the arts that is usually associated with the „Duchamp-effect“ and post war practices allowed for a reskilling that is currently quite popular in the artworld. Is it a historical necessity that deskilling entails reskilling? Historically speaking, „deskilling“ was a male privilege in the 1950´s and 1960´s. Many male artists opted for anti-subjective aleatory procedures that rejected skills, whereas women artists practiced another form of deskilling in the 1970´s by reintroducing formerly devaluated, „female skills“ into their work. Could one argue, at least in retrospect, that it is precisely these lower or soft skills associated with the sphere of reproduction that are have risen to the status of a valuable resource in our New Economy?