For more detailed information, please change to the German version of this website.

Diego Agulló: Betraying Ambition – Vortragsabend

© Diego Agulló

BA 'Dance, Context, Choreography' Evening Lecture

The premise of this lecture is that we are made to believe in ambition because ambition is something good. There is a benevolent mantra that tells us “be ambitious”, but, what if ambition would have been politicized and ideologized? My attempt is to unfold some ethical implications of being an artist in the times of creative capitalism. I will make use of the concept of “anartism” to introduce an ongoing process of spectral oscillation as a life practice. 

Nowadays, the term ambition is used indistinctly to name many different things at the same time. As a consequence, ambition has lost its specific meaning; it means everything and nothing: on one hand, it vaguely refers to any driving force that attempts to accomplish any kind of goal. “Ambition” is synonymous to challenging oneself in undertaking a difficult enterprise. On the other hand, there is a benevolent understanding of ambition coming from the context of innovation, creative industries and business. These optimistic rhetorics, supported by the dominant ideology of professional success, present a heroic version of a subjectivity that is in a constant process of self-improvement. On the contrary, the etymology of ambition reminds us of the pejorative connotations that ambition was characterized by from the beginning: vainglory, competitiveness, social comparison, eagerness for fame, excessive determination to achieve a position of power, just to name a few. A suspicious mind will immediately try to find the reasons behind such a benevolent understanding of how the word’s meaning was once negative. Why is the belief in the social construction that ambition implies convenient for dominant ideologies? What are the illusions, hopes and dreams behind ambition and why are they necessary to make people move on with their lives?