Everything in life is luck, or so we’ve heard. If you work hard, you will succeed—you just need to wait for your big break and play your cards right. Success once realized is often passed off as lucky coincidence. But what if you can’t even get a seat at the casino table?
These narratives of fortune actively render historical and structural oppression invisible in physical, digital, and spiritual spaces. LUCKY questions the role of luck as a cultural myth that explains and normalizes privilege. We propose to examine the ways this dulls movements of resistance and maintains the status quo, while still honoring in luck the practices of self preservation and play.
With a focus on queer and feminist practices, the project is composed of an exhibition, performances, panels, and workshops playing with and challenging this lottery that permeates what is already inscribed onto our bodies, our neighborhoods, and our browser histories.
Featuring installed artwork by Nicola Awang, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Laura G. Jones, Angela Kaisers, Ileana Pascalau, Plural Authorship Collective, Tabita Rezaire, Anaïs Senli, Eve Tagny, Anna Uddenberg, Giegold & Weiß, Kandis Williams, Ming Wong, Miriam Yammad, Inga Zimprich (Feministische Gesundheitsrecherchegruppe)
The exhibition was on view at nGbK, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin, from the 7th of July to the 2nd of September 2018.
Photos by Anastasia Muna & Judy Landkammer
Events and Performance Program:
Friday, 6th July 2018, 19:00
Laura G. Jones & Alexander Linton
Babypunk ft. Babuyoka
Together Laura G. Jones and Alexander Linton collaborate to explore crip—a reclaimatory term for the chronically ill—as it meets queerness, afro/crip futurism, and a shared love of hip hop.
Composed of music, dance, noise, and spiritual ritual, Babypunk ft. Babuyoka is an explosive and experimental synthesis of sterile medical textures with softer textures of care. While addressing the shame inscribed onto medicalized sick bodies and their various fluids, the performers/creatures express their need for visibility as complex crip others.
Zinzi Buchanan & Trev Flash
A concert-style, semi-conscious delivery of shared fears of—and hopes for—the future: a frantic, euphoric expression of utopian vision. Crash and doom.
This performance explores the notion of ‘being born lucky‘ in tandem with the dream of conception and progeny. Giving birth to hot emotions as both lovers and collaborators, Zinzi and Trev have a strong interest in exploring feelings around parenthood and the future together.
PLAY ME: A performance about sex and consent
Anarel·la Martínez-Madrid invites one participant at a time to practice consent in spontaneous and secured guided scenarios in a space of unfamiliarity. Using her background in sex education, Martínez-Madrid seeks to create a temporary environment where power can be exchanged, sex toys can be touched and played with, and questions around privilege and sex positivity can abound.
Saturday, 21st July 2018, 17.30
Exhibition Guided Tour (DE)
Saturday, 21st July 2018, 19:00
Podiumsdiskussion: Hart daran arbeiten, Glück zu haben? (DE)
Eine Podiumsdiskussion zu Glück und Klasse aus feministischen Perspektiven mit Tanja Abou, Ruby Sircar, und Anne Potjans
This discussion explores the relationship of luck to labor, class, and the capitalist system through the lens of feminism. Hard work might lead to success, but the expectations and valuation of one’s labor are often dependent on the assumptions that are ascribed to one’s physical and social body. Work is moralized so as to categorize people as ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ of resources through their conformity to social norms, and the labor of domestic, ‘unskilled’, activist, artist, migrant, and care work is rarely acknowledged as such, especially when it is unpaid or underpaid. As much as we can dream of getting lucky, it is nearly impossible to do so without disposable income and a seat at the table. We bring together multidisciplinary speakers to explore how we play the game.
Friday-Sunday, 27 – 29th July 2018
Performance Festival Weekend »LUCKY YOU«
Friday, 27th July 2018, 20:00
Melanie Jame Wolf
An Act of Improbable Genius
The artist interrogates ‘The Myth of Genius‘, which insists that one is either touched by genius, or not. This good fortune, however, has consistently favored those rich, male, and white.
An Act of Improbable Genius is a performance and video event which seeks to destabilise, and re-inscribe die-hard myths about genius and possibility by underscoring the complex, privileged conditions requisite for genius to emerge. It is a performance that aims to understand how these myths infect people’s estimations of probability, and their own likelihood to pursue things—art, the world—differently.
Five Times Ms. Kim, Looking for Home / Fünfmal Frau Kim, auf der Suche nach Heimat
Centered around South Korean migration to Germany, Jeong’s performance investigates the meaning of foreigner when examining different generations of immigration, including the so-called “1.5 generation”, who split their adolescence between the two countries. A performance critical of the ‘luck’ of passing as native to one’s country, Heimat dissects the violent ‘blood and soil’ rhetoric of the homeland.
Saturday, 28. July 2018, 20:00
Mesh & Wire
Dramaturgical Assistance: Maya Weinberg
Mesh & Wire is occupied with the slippery edges of physical embodiment. It is the process of a body dismembered, a body with many members, spread across the room, evading its own contours. If the body is something larger than its parts, where does it begin and where does it end? Where does a body draw power from? What are its assets?
In this performance, Xenia Taniko orchestrates the singular body as an intricate network of textures and relations, affect and effect, power play and interdependence. Mesh & Wire is the first installment of an ongoing body of work that investigates the prosthetic nature of the body, questioning monolithic concepts of subjectivity and order.
Working the Root
Did you step on a crack? Did someone sweep across your foot with a broom? Did you leave your purse on the ground, or your hat on the bed? Are ladders, mirrors, or black cats involved?
In Working the Root, Nasheeka Nedsreal explores the traditions that followed Black people in their abduction across the Atlantic, and remain embedded in superstitions, beliefs, values, and culture. Is luck the fundamental expression of unpredictability or uncertainty? Is it out of our control? Nedsreal follows the role of the divine, and whether it has left the universe to its own cause and effect—or the chance to manifest one’s own fortune.
Sunday, 29th July 2018, 12:00
How to Greet Like a Jamaican: Step 2
‘Who do I get to serve today?’
In a performance between host and guest, Zwoisy Mears-Clarke prepares and extends an invitation to a dinner of traditional Jamaican cuisine from his motherland. From how the table is set to the choice of conversation for the evening, the host attempts to gather the respective history of ‘hospitality’ carried within him and his guests, and what it means to them today.
To this end, the work concerns itself with tracing colonial European skills forcefully passed down from the hands of British white masters to the backs, hands, and legs of enslaved people—a genealogy leading to Mears-Clarke’s parents, and finally to the artist himself. Lucky is the guest invited by the host to taste a culinary practice passed down through a colonial history of violence—laying bare on the table the ambivalent nature of hospitality and service.
Roni Katz, in collaboration with Anna Zett
Roni Katz, Anna Zett, and a group of performers practice a very specific form of dialogue in order to negotiate intimacy and exposure in relation to community building and self care. A sofa turns into a stage for conversation to transpire, paying attention to the strategies one uses to listen and to share. “Between Us” addresses the entanglement of privilege and luck, and investigates playfully how spaces public and private unfold between interlocutors. Breaking down dialog to its core gestures of interpersonal communication this format of verbal improvisation makes available to experience what otherwise often remains hidden in the information exchange. The audience is invited to step in, listen, speak up, and leave when the time is right.
Performers: Johanna Ackva, Laura Burns, Casey Detrow, Giorgio Gago Gagoshidze, Julia Gladstone, Ria Hylton, Roni Katz, Nomaduma Masilela, Jos McKain, Sophia New, Omar Nicolas, Steve Paul, Maayan Strauss, Xenia Taniko, Louise Trueheart, Nikhil Vettukattil, Siegmar Zacharias
Saturday, 4th August 2018, 17:30
Exhibition Guided Tour (EN)
Saturday, 4th August 2018, 19:00
Panel Discussion: Thank You for Seeing Me (EN)
A Panel Discussion on the Ambivalence of Representation and Feminist Curation
This discussion will be an opportunity to reflect on the ‘luck’ of being represented and how representation is too often conflated with justice. Departing from the belief that feminism is a collective non-alignment composed of multiple perspectives, but with a shared awareness of oppressive and exclusive feminist canons, Thank You for Seeing Me is an invitation to explore how these feminisms are applied to curation and how they guide questions of representation and visibility.
Saturday, 18th August 2018, 20:00
Fortune Unfolded: Short Film Screenings
Curator and independent feminist film archivist Coral Short presents a series of short independent films that explore constitutive luck, privilege, and magical territories of possibility.
Saturday, 25th August 2018, 12:00
My Worst Performance Ever: Queer Performance Workshop with Natalie Igor Dobkin (EN)
My Worst Performance Ever is a queer performance workshop that investigates the boundaries between professionalism and amateurism, entertainment and art, and the queer body in heteronormative spaces. In resistance to the call for professionalism, Natalie Igor Dobkin proposes amateurism as a strategy and practice with which to fight capitalism. The workshop incorporates drag, high-school dance parties, songs on demand, talent shows, reality television, and more.
Previous experience in performance art not required. Capacity limited to 20 participants: register via email to nataliedobkin[at]gmail.com
Saturday, 1st September 2018, 19:00
In this immersive performative installation that mimics US television game shows popularized in the 1950s, Cathy Walsh leads a fair game won by strategy—or luck?
There will be prizes, distractions, concessions, buy-outs, go-for-brokes, and phone-a-friends. Game Show creates an arena to play one’s chances and gamble with the body one has created or been given, asking the participant: “Do you feel lucky?”
Karma vs Kapital
Against the didactic and the mansplainers, Vagittarius Rising operates from a fake band methodology: a practice that eschews the precious and official in favor of the quick and dirty, the unplanned, and all the freedom and vulnerability that lies in this format for performance and practice.
Meditating on glacially large notions like karma and capital, this fake band does not claim to thoroughly comprehend nor speak on behalf of these frameworks. Rather, Karma vs Kapital explores how different understandings of deed, intention, and unfolding futures are informed by socioeconomic and spiritual world-views.
The Obituary for the Not-So-Lucky
In their Obituary, Travis Alabanza eulogizes those that didn’t make the cut. In this notice of death, we are invited to remember those that could not quite get up the ladder because ‘luck’ was simply not on their side. As the dead rest among us uneasily, the audience is invited to continue in the festivities and forget that anyone ever had a hand in their demise.
For more information, please visit the exhibition information page on the nGbK’s website.