The power of images, queer art, and politics

1 January–30 June 2012

Event Series

NGBK, Oranienstraße 25
Südblock, Admiralstr. 1-2, 10999 Berlin, U-Kottbusser Tor (nicht mehr online)


Nana Adusei-Poku, Laylah Ali, Helen Chadwick, Danica Dakić, Antke Engel, Coco Fusco, Sharon Hayes, Jakob Lena Knebl, Philipp Khabo Koepsell, Renate Lorenz, Philip Metz, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, Sandra Ortmann, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Elodie Pong, Tim Stüttgen, Clarissa Thieme, Simon Vincent


diva banni, lisalotta.p

The relationship between images and their audiences is often a little bit bossy. Subjects boss images around to serve their ideological goals. Images boss subjects around, for instance by suggesting they conform to heteronormative ideals. Through mutual desire, images and subjects engage in illicit transgressions of their hierarchized relationships.

Focusing specifically on images that engage with ambiguous genders, queer desires, freaky bodies, and the puncturing of other intersecting normative imaginaries, this series of four public events will examine the social field of images, artists, audiences, critics, and curators. At each event, people and images will be invited to take on these roles (of “the artist” or “the audience”)—as well as to challenge them—in an attempt to explore how this field is structured by bossiness. This bossiness is hierarchical, saturated by power and desire, and always includes moments of failure. As with any “work relationship,” bosses can never fully control their employees—there are always paths for subversion and wasting company time.

Through experimenting with how these various agents work together, we are interested in challenging the role that curation plays in bossing images. We wish to develop curatorial formats that could trigger more nuanced considerations of bossiness in visual discourses and the structures that surround them.

Organized by Antke Engel and Jess Dorrance (Institute for Queer Theory) in cooperation with Renate Lorenz.


in the NGBK Event Room (1st floor), 7pm

7 pm Salon: The artwork meets the audience.
8 pm Event: The invited guests begin their performance.


What kind of masks do we wear to claim power in public spaces? What kind of images “belong” in public? What kind of speech gets heard?

Invited performers: Sharon Hayes’ Installation I March In The Parade of Liberty But As Long As I Love You I’m Not Free (2007/08), Danica Dakić (Düsseldorf), and Clarissa Thieme (Berlin).


Are power struggles inevitable in every collaboration? Do these struggles infect the images that are being worked with? Do images provoke collaboration? Can collaboration itself be considered contagious?

Invited performers: Super 8 video of Helen Chadwick’s live performance Domestic Sanitation (1976), Renate Lorenz (Berlin), and Sandra Ortmann (Berlin).


Are bodies playgrounds for images? Or rather their means of transport? How do bodies become ek-static? How do they cross through fields of power?

Invited performers: Elodie Pong’s video Je Suis Une Bombe (2006), Jakob Lena Knebl (Wien), and Tim Stüttgen (Berlin).


What kind of lines would not create borders? How can lines shift—or even shatter—the center?

Invited performers: Artwork by Laylah Ali, Nana Adusei-Poku (Berlin), and Coco Fusco (New York).

18.01.2013, 21.00 Uhr - Book release

„Bossing Images“ meets „The Little Book of Big Visions“

Südblock, Admiralstr. 1-2, 10999 Berlin, U-Kottbusser Tor

Double book release – live Acts, Spoken Word & Visual Art with Philipp Khabo Koepsell, Philip Metz, Sandra Ortmann, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Renate Lorenz, Simon Vincent, Antke Engel u.a.
After Party with lisalotta.p (HipHop, Pop, Queerbeet) & diva banni (jumpin’jumpin’)

“Bossing Images” meets “The Little Book of Big Visions” is an interactive event, which not only examines power structures within the field of art but also aims to set them in motion. Power and hierarchies are inevitably present in artistic spaces: they are engraved in the relationships between artists, consumers/ the public, curators, critics and decision makers. They reveal themselves in the diverse positionalities of individuals through societal markers like race, class, gender, sexuality and ability status. We want to collectively negotiate their inherent conflictual interplay and contrasts through artistic works.
BOSSING IMAGES. Macht der Bilder, queere Kunst und Politik / The power of images, queer art and politics, Berlin (NGBK, Red. Jess Dorrance, Antke Engel) 2012
THE LITTLE BOOK OF BIG VISIONS. How to be an Artist and Revolutionize the World, hrsg.: Sandrine Micossé-Aikins / Sharon Dodua Otoo, Berlin (edition assemblage) 2012

In cooperation with