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Prof. Dr. Ana Vujanović: The question of possession: from the bodies of the proletariat to the bodies of the precariat – Vortrag

A critical and feminist examination of the idea of possessing one’s own body in relation to precarity.

In an attempt to attend to the issue of class in contemporary performing arts (education), I will focus on a critical, feminist examination of the idea of possessing one’s own body in relation to precarity. After a theoretical introduction to the modern Western notion of possessive individualism, I will sketch out a roaming history of the bodies who don’t fit that idea well and are therefore destined to a precarious social position—from the bodies of unskilled industrial workers to female bodies in capitalism to genderqueer bodies to freelance workers in the tertiary sector of the post-industrial economy, including artists. In the second part of the lecture, I will problematize the precarity of contemporary artists in Europe and investigate how their careers are influenced by the enduring financial and class inequalities between them.  I find the historical process from the proletariat to the contemporary versatile precariat (and back again!) important, since the old problems of capitalist society—exploitation, insecurity, inequality—are far from resolved. Therefore, I will end the lecture with imagining the history of working-class art as a subject integrated into the curricula of today’s art schools.

Ana Vujanović, Ph.D., is a cultural worker based in Berlin. As a researcher, lecturer and writer, she works in the fields of performance, culture and gender studies. Her recent books are A Live Gathering: Performance and Politics in Contemporary Europe, ed. with L. Piazza (2019), and Towards a Transindividual Self, A study in social dramaturgy, with Bojana Cvejić (2022). She was a guest professor in the Performance Studies Department of the University Hamburg. Since 2016 she has been a team member and mentor at SNDO, Amsterdam, and from 2022, a guest professor at the HZT Berlin. An important part of her work is cultural activism and she has taken part in numerous organizations and initiatives, such as the editorial collective of TkH [Walking Theory] from Belgrade and TkH Journal for Performing Arts Theory.  She is also engaged as dramaturge in contemporary performance and film, most recently in the documentary Landscapes of Resistance directed by Marta Popivoda (2021).

The lecture series is jointly curated and organised by Prof. Dr. Sandra Noeth (MA SODA/HZT Berlin) and Prof. Dan Belasco Rogers (UdK Studium Generale).