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Thursday, 14. May 2009


Antke Engel: Bilder von Sexualität und Ökonomie


Is there an intimate relation between sexual freedom and market freedom? Images of dissident sexualities and gender ambiguity
can be found in commercial advertising as well as in art and in sexual subcultures. Around the topoi of sexual diversity
and the multiplicity of desire a discursive overlap develops – queer perspectives in commercial and neoliberal perspectives in
queer discourses. This discursive overlap is the terrain of cultural politics.
Antke Engel introduces the concept of “projective integration” in order to show that in late modern societies, difference is now
coded as cultural capital and is made usable for economic interests. While other forms of integration like assimilation and
multicultural pluralism still exist, “projective integration,” Engel suggests, is the characteristic version of neoliberal governmentality.
It turns out that the investment in difference relies heavily on images of sexuality. However, these are also the images
that become the starting point for the queering of capitalist economy.
Reading images through the lens of projective integration is interesting because the term “projection” covers psychic, sociopolitical,
and visual technological aspects and invites viewers to look for the productivity of their intermingling. Exemplarily,
Antke Engel will introduce close readings of two art works: a collage by Ines Doujak from the series “Victory Gardens” (2007)
and a drawing without title, but recently exhibited as “Kotzblatt” (vomiting sheet) by Galli (1984).
These readings show that being implicated in processes of projective integration does not necessarily mean that one has
submitted to the neoliberal order. “Bilder von Sexualität und Ökonomie” points towards, and indeed strives to strengthen,
those tendencies in queer theory and politics that make use of their own entangling with the discourses they want to oppose.
Thus, queer cultural politics opens up the field for the critique of capitalist economy by showing how the neoliberal deployment
of dissident sexualities and genders can be turned against itself.
Antke Engel is director of the Institute for Queer Theory situated in Hamburg and Berlin. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy
at Potsdam University (Germany) in 2001 and held a visiting professorship for Queer Theory at Hamburg University between
2003 and 2005. The focus of her work is on feminist and poststructuralist theory, on conceptualizations of sexuality and
desire, and on the critique of representation. Since autumn 2007 she is a research fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry
(ICI) in Berlin, working on the relation of sexuality and economy and asking for possibilities of queering neoliberalism.
Rosa Reitsamer, sociologist, University of Applied Arts Vienna.
The presentation is organized as a joint platform in-between Post Conceptual Art Practices, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna
and the Institute of Art Theory and Cultural Studies/Epistemology and methodology of art production / PhD in practice at the
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with galerie aRtmosphere, Vienna www.artmosphere-vienna.net



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