Barbara Juch, Laura Nitsch, Performance, 30'min, 2019
Music: Katrin Euller, Photography: Sophie Thun
“I don't think I have ever written anything just for myself. There was no kind of private writing before there was public writing.“ Every Ocean Hughes (in conversation with Sharon Hayes)
long conversations, longing friendships, intimacy, becoming artists in the territory of a bourgeois institution, being literal, being the influence & context for each other's scene, writing and staging and stage everything that we talked about. take our love as a starting point, make us appearing together. because: the only reason i wrote the text is because you liked it. becoming homosocial, surfing intersections, writing (for) love letters, with and for others.
In this lecture performance (and indeed in our graduate thesis which is the basis for the lecture), we chose the form of an intimate written conversation in order to raise questions about social class in relation to art education. Class lines seem to be blurry and it's almost fashionable, especially in the art field, to position oneself as a precarious subject. While being precarious has a potential to build alliances with the globally disadvantaged, it often seems to be an unconsciously claimed subject position of artists. Despite the fact that the idea of the poor artist is an illusion that reveals a lack of awareness of one's own privilege and power, it is still a fashionable concept. Talking about actual class differences, however, is often loaded with strong emotions, guilt, shame and tears when it affects someone personally.
Our analysis aims to look at sublime aspects of desire and recognition in the field of art and cultural production from an intersectional, queerfeminist perspective. In Austria, access to (art) education is still determined by an above-average degree by social origin. However, there are exceptions, i.e. first generation students who, contrary to prognostic probability, successfully complete their studies. These exceptions, however, confront us with the dilemma that they are withdrawn from analysis as a statistically negligible variable in the university system – a system whose inherent function is the reproduction of class relationships. On the other hand, these exceptions are used as tokens in order to prove that access to education is fair and equal, and that everyone who is willing to work hard enough and who has the right amount of “talent”, will succeed.
Established social topologies such as the metaphor of “social advancement” reinforce bourgeois value logics and the hierarchical stratification of social spaces. We are thus concerned with the following questions: How can social topologies be analyzed, shifted and relocated in a critical way? How can we grasp subjectivities that are shaped by a desire for intellectuality and education, but that do not automatically want to merge into a bourgeois-capitalist way of life? How, by whom, for whom and with what interest is class being talked about today? Furthermore, we discussed which terms and narratives are part of an institutionalized power discourse and to what extent they (re-)produce existing class relationships. Lastly, we asked what we should make of the virulent discourse on Didier Eribon's sociological autobiography Returning to Reims?
What emerges is expressed as entanglement, as relation, as affirmation or as dissonance. It renounces the logic of individual authorship. We write from the multiple intersections, we write about what we had talked about and it is us appearing together. Rejecting the expectations and common approaches to make an argument, we rather pose some uncanny questions.