Great protests write history. But politics happens in personal conversations or discussions, too. How can we preserve the immediacy of such events?
Elske Rosenfeld: "She turns her head, she lifts the pen"
With Michael Baers (US), Ricarda Denzer (AT), Sharon Hayes (US) & Elske Rosenfeld (DE)
Curated by Georgia Holz (AT)
The focus of “Speech Acts” is not on the mass democratic phenomena of recent years, for instance political protests or revolutionary speeches. Instead, it is on personal conversations and interviews in which a political stance is manifested. The artistic contributions reflect speaking and listening, encounter and perception – the aim is to make legible the immediacy of political thought and action, that is not always readily apparent.
The exhibition takes off from Hannah Arendt’s paradigm of “action” as one of three basic human activities. Unlike “work” and “labor”, Arendt sees “action” as interaction that directs individual coexistence so as to reveal the uniqueness, difference and plurality of human beings. Action is thus constitutive of the political, essentially consisting of speaking, communicating and exchanging information. For Arendt, “finding the right word at the right moment” is in itself action. What strategies of artistic translation can make such actions and the immediacy of language tangible without following conventional documentarisms or hegemonic historiography?