While the postmodern turn was proclaimed with the end of the 1980s and the view spread that values such as ambiguity, polyphony and difference were about to become social guiding principles, the situation now seems to have changed dramatically. For some time now, a revival of major ideological narratives has been observable, finally being evident in the election of Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing nationalist parties. Considering the old social inequalities arising in new forms and the accompanying political developments, a critical examination of social ideologies seems urgently needed.
Through the Looking Glass is a collaboratively written performance developed by Rose-Anne Gush and her students at the Institute of Contemporary Art at TU Graz. The performance is meant to be an artistic tool to explore the question of the ideological forces that decisively shape our Europe today. But what does that even mean, “our Europe?” What kind of society do we live in and how can the different positions of speakers even be thought together? Ideology exists in many forms and contains beliefs, images and values that can never be considered as final and naturally given, but tend to be presented as universal, though. The performance explores different forms of mediatization of ideology and deals with strategies of representation, inversion and projection. The strategies of artistic expression will interact with the architecture of the building, which has classicist echoes coming from late modernism and has been ironically emphasized in some places for the exhibition Europe: Ancient Future. Among other things, the exhibition will reflect on how architecture produces an apparently naturalized system of values and beliefs, which has repeatedly been undermined in the course of architectural history (postmodernism, Living in Las Vegas).
Rose-Anne Gush is Assistant-Professor at the Institute of Contemporary Art at TU Graz. Her research interest includes among others theories of Global Art, spatial politics, the spatial politics of capitalism and form, and the relationships between colonialism, fascism and capitalism. Her research and teaching are oriented towards anti-racist, feminist, and emancipatory horizons. Gush’s first book length project (in progress), Artistic Labour of the Body builds on her PhD, exploring the place, use of, and meaning of the body in postwar art and literature in relation to Theodor W. Adorno’s aesthetics. Gush’s research is published in Kunst und Politik: Jahrbuch der Guernica-Gesellschaft (2020), Third Text (2019), Performance Research (2018), Objects of Feminism (Helsinki, 2017) and AWARE (2017).