Practicing Opacity

Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho
Practicing Opacity

Seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Fridays, 10-14 h, 7 dates: 27.5., 3.6., 10.6., 17.6., 24.6., 1.7., 8.7.2022,
Hardenbergstr. 33, room 101/102 (until 17.6.), room 004 (until 8.7.)

The Liberal Arts generally work under the assumption that an adherence to transparency will ensure positive societal change. But what if, in our present times, we can no longer assume such a consensual image of a workable future, at least one that can be articulated within the zone of the visible? Taking the philosopher Édouard Glissant’s concept of opacity as a starting point, this class seeks to enlist invisibility within the practice of transcultural world-building and art making. In this class we will both deconstruct the regimes of visibility that we are given (such as the academy, the museum, and the state), and utilize invisibility as an artistic strategy which crosses institutional borders.

Our learning goals are how to think critically about the limitations of given cultural structures, how to broaden cultural practices outside of formal spaces of cultural production, and how to innovate aesthetic strategies of opacity. This will be achieved through presenting and discussing models of cultural practice which simultaneously articulate the inadequacy of the current system while forging new realms of the cultural imaginary, for example the Philippines- based collective SAKA (Artists Alliance for Genuine Land Leform and Rural Development) and the Bronx-based Mutal Aid Kitchen at La Morada. We will also assign and discuss texts and lectures by theorists such as Édouard Glissant, Jackie Wang, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Sylvia Wynters, Joy James, Jack Halberstam, and Gayatri Spivak.

The workshop will combine discussion with practical assignments and feedback. Students are enlisted to bring their individual and collective knowledge and ideas to the workshop, through 3-4 exercises (for example, students will be asked to analyze and respond to a “regime of visibility” of their choice).

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Mandatory readings, active attendance, and the completion of creative assignments is required for accreditation.

Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho have a collaborative visual art practice that moves from the Philippines outwards to other places, addressing localised iterations of labour and capital from the perspective of post-colonial damage. They both received their Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, USA and Masters in Fine Arts from HfBK Hamburg, Germany. They have had solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Freiburg (Freiburg, Germany), 47 Canal (New York, USA), and Green Papaya Art Projects (Quezon City, Philippines), and have been included in group exhibitions at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taipei, Taiwan), the Brunei Gallery at SOAS University of London (London, UK), and the Lab at NTU Center for Contemporary Art (Singapore). They recently exhibited in the 13th edition of Manifesta in Marseille, France (2020), the EVA Biennial in Limerick, Ireland (2021), the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial (2021) and the 5th New Museum Triennial (2021). They are current fellows at the Graduate School of the Berlin University of the Arts.